Jingoistic, Xenophobic, Protectionist: Bill Shorten’s March To The Fringe In Speech To Submarine Workers

Disregarding the ALP’s role in developing a modern and open trading economy, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has taken the low road of jingoism and protection in a speech to submarine workers in Adelaide.

Shorten

Shorten spoke to workers in Adelaide, following reports that the National Security Committee of Cabinet is set to replace the Collins class submarine fleet with a new “off-the-shelf” Japanese vessel. He accused the government of lying to workers.

Rather than simply support local submarine building, Shorten told a rally of Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) members at the gates of the Australian Submarine Corporation: “Under Labor, we will build ships and submarines in Australia because we love this country.” [Read more...]


The Result Of Clive Palmer’s Al Gore Stunt: Carbon Tax Abolished, ETS Dead

The cynicism of today’s stunt by Clive Palmer became clear late tonight as the Palmer United Party leader confirmed that his senators will vote for the abolition of the carbon tax and the emissions trading scheme.

Palmer

Earlier today, Palmer called for the establishment of an emissions trade scheme (ETS) that would only come into force once China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Korea had also taken action to establish similar schemes. International action of this order is all but impossible to imagine.

In an interview with Tony Jones on the ABC’s Lateline program, and in a subsequent encounter with journalists, Palmer clarified his earlier remarks and confirmed that no conditions would be set for the abolition of the carbon tax, other than a legislative guarantee that companies would pass on to consumers the savings from abolition. [Read more...]


The Malcolm Mackerras Six And The Question Of How To Define A Landslide

In a weekend newspaper article, the well-known psephologist and election analyst, Malcolm Mackerras, argued that there have only been six federal election “landslide” victories.

In his article, Mackerras nominated the six elections as: 1917, 1929, 1931, 1943, 1966 and 1975.

Mackerras quite rightly objected to the idea that “every second federal election” is a landslide. He described the 2013 election as a “respectable loss” for the ALP but not worthy of being called a landslide.

He said: “However, I have a more rigorous definition, the details of which I have not the space to elaborate now.”

How To Define “Landslide”

I would suggest two essential election statistics as criteria for defining a landslide:

  1. The proportion of House of Representatives seats held by the winning party or parties.
  2. The national two-party-preferred vote achieved by the winning party or parties.

The primary vote achieved by the election winners is also of some interest but since our system of compulsory preferential voting always provides us with a national figure of combined primary and preferred votes the primary vote alone doesn’t necessarily mean much. [Read more...]


The New Senate Numbers And The Abbott Government

As counting of the 2013 federal election winds down, the Senate election result is now clear.

There is a small chance of change in Western Australia where the Greens have asked for a recount following Scott Ludlam’s defeat.

Because of the fixed terms of the Senate, it will be another nine months before the complexion of the Senate changes. Current senators remain in place until June 30, 2014.

The current numbers are:

The Current Senate – until June 30, 2014
Party/Group No.
Coalition
34
A.L.P.
31
Greens
9
D.L.P. (Madigan)
1
Independent (Xenophon)
1
TOTAL
76

In this configuration, the Greens hold the balance of power. The Greens-ALP combination has a blocking majority. It ensures that Abbott government legislation to repeal the carbon pricing arrangements and the mining tax will most likely be rejected by the Senate.

This will be the state of the parties in the Senate after July 1, 2014:

The New Senate – from July 1, 2014
Party/Group No.
Coalition
33
A.L.P.
26
Greens
9
Palmer United Party
3
D.L.P. (Madigan)
1
Liberal Democrats (Leyonhjelm)
1
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party (Muir)
1
Family First (Day)
1
Independent (Xenophon)
1
TOTAL
76

 

In this configuration, the ALP-Greens combination becomes less important and power shifts to a collection of minor groups and independents. [Read more...]


Of Votes And Bodies: The Labor Party’s Election Defeat

by Malcolm Farnsworth

There’s votes and there’s bodies.

In Saturday’s election, the ALP ended up with more bodies than it thought it would. Members who were written off or deemed at risk just three months ago have survived the election.

Think, for example, of Jason Clare, Chris Bowen, Laurie Ferguson, Ed Husic, Matt Thistlethwaite, Mark Dreyfus, Alan Griffin, Anna Burke, Graham Perrett, Kate Ellis, Gary Gray and Warren Snowdon. They are some of the saved furniture. Some of it is tatty, some of it has lustre, but it has survived.

That’s why the relief in the ALP is palpable. Bodies matter. MPs have staff, offices and facilities. They are an essential part of the infrastructure a political party needs to wage war with its opponents.

Whatever the Gillard apologists might say – and they were out in force over the weekend – the ALP was heading for the loss of 30-40 seats in June.

In Melbourne in May the massive swing against the ALP in a state by-election where the Liberals didn’t even run a candidate drew attention to what was happening in the electorate. In some areas, the swings were over 20%. The smarties denied that a state by-election warranted federal comparisons but people on the ground knew better. [Read more...]