Remember the Senate

One thing we talked about quite a bit before the election amongst the LP collective is drawing attention to the Senate contests. I don’t think we’ve done as good a job as we could have, considering its importance.

Just to remind us why getting the Coalition out of its Senate majority, and giving the balance of power back to progressive parties, is so important, here’s some that politician-bloggers from the minor parties contending for the Senate have raised recently:

Take Andrew Bartlett on ASIO abusing its powers:

Yet again, a case which received a blaze of publicity over two years ago, adding to unrealistic fear and alarm about Muslims in Australia, has failed when it finally comes to trail – and providing Australia’s Muslims yet another reason to feel less secure and less trusting of our government and law enforcement agencies.

Even more worryingly, the judge in the case condemned the conduct of ASIO officers as “grossly improper”.

When was the last time you heard Labor stand up on human rights?

Or Christine Milne talking about energy efficient buildings. While I remain unconvinced about the prescriptiveness of their policies, at least they’re talking about the kinds of greenhouse reductions we actually need to make.

On bringing party bosses, and executive government to heel a bit, Andrew Bartlett, again, on requiring Parliamentary approval for war., while Bob Brown wants to allow us to number all the boxes above the line for the Senate, so voters can allocate preferences themselves without spending half an hour filling out the below-the-line Senate ballot paper.

It is all but impossible (and highly undesirable, given the experiences of the previous parliamentary term) for Labor to win an outright majority in the Senate. I live in a safe seat, and I imagine many of you do too. But what we can all do is our bit to push the Senate in a more desirable direction. Let’s make sure the Liberals lose their majority, and make sure Steve Fielding is reduced to the irrelevance he thoroughly deserves to be.

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Posted in environment, federal election '07, Terrorism
14 comments on “Remember the Senate
  1. Bruce says:

    I agree it’s absolutely essential the Coalition’s control over the Senate is broken. But I’m sorry Andrew Bartlett, after the Great Dummy Spit I will never ever vote Democrat again. And unlike some, I make every effort to keep my promises.

  2. Mindy says:

    Kerrie Tucker is looking good for the Greens in the ACT last I heard. If she gets in then she’s straight into the senate and the libs lose the majority immediately. I hope she gets in.

  3. FDB says:

    I’m tipping Labor to get 20. I don’t necessarily like it, but I reckon the momentum is there and the minors might just get pushed out of the way. Still, better than 21.

  4. joe2 says:

    Mindy that is most interesting and hope she gets up.

    Still I believe there is another Senate seat up for grabs in ACT. Whoever won that, would go straight in as well. Anybody know how things work for the other territory?

  5. Tim Hollo says:

    Mindy and joe2, indeed the ACT is looking extremely interesting. There are only 2 seats, which have always split 1 ALP 1 Lib, but the Libs have come close an several occasions to losing – to Greens, Labor and the Dems (when Rick Farley ran a few years ago).

    Because there are only 2 seats in each territory, the quota is 33.3% for each Senator. That means that, if a minor party candidate gets a strong flow of preferences, AND if the Libs go under quota, the minor can get up.

    This time, the incumbent Lib, Gary Humphries, is a rather unpopular man, and the Greens candidate, Kerrie Tucker, is a very popular former MLA who appeals across the board. Kerrie has attracted preference flows above Humphries from every single party except the LDP, who are running Lisa Milat (Ivan’s sister in law) on a pro-guns ticket. She might deliver a few hundred votes to Gary if he’s lucky.

    Humphries needs to get at the very least 32% if he’s to win. Otherwise Kerrie will get over the line. Polling is suggesting he’s sitting at around 24%, while Kerrie’s on 20%. If that polling is anything like real, he’s a goner. One to watch on Saturday night.

    Thanks for the post, Robert. Great to have a bit of focus on this ‘other race’.

  6. joe2: straight in as well, I believe. One ALP and one CLP.

  7. Anna Winter says:

    There are two in ACT, joe2. One of them is current Senator Kate Lundy from Labor and one is Liberal Gary Humphries. The Greens are looking good to win Humphries seat from him.

  8. joe2 says:

    Thankyou all.

    Looks like Humphries is the only Senate seat, to watch, if you are impatient for the upper house Lib noose to be cut, next weekend. Otherwise the possible waiting game till July.

  9. Vee says:

    I would rather a balance of power in the Senate but I would rather it not be the Greens, well at least not 100% the balance of power.

    What I really want to talk about is NSW Nationals Senate Candidate John “Wacka” Williams, after last election and maybe even around NSW election time we were told he was in the Barnaby Joyce mould. Well Barnaby talks a lot and rarely acts. However, I suppose that is a start. With the election only days away we have not heard a thing about John “Wacka” Williams and if memory serves we heard a lot about Joyce prior to the last election. Of course I could be mistaken on that final point.

    Now given Williams is a candidate that is likely to get up why haven’t we heard anything about him?

  10. wilful says:

    I wish Steve Fielding would have a bit of humility and remember just how many people gave him their first preference.

  11. grace pettigrew says:

    joe2, dead right, everyone here in canberra is voting ALP lower house and greens upper house, except perhaps those dills who fall for the dodgy HTV just being distributed by humphries, that says the greens will turn us all onto drugs, although in this dope-smoking town that will probably backfire on him…

  12. joe2 says:

    Most interesting Grace. Sounds like Humphries’ publicity is Family First/ Exclusive Brethren in style. He has kind of cut out the middlemen. I would love to see a copy.

    Is there much in local media about the special importance of the two Senate seats in ACT? Lot’s of public servants etc who would be pretty clued up, I guess.

  13. aidan says:

    oe2, dead right, everyone here in canberra is voting ALP lower house and greens upper house

    Yep, I already have (I am currently OS). Felt good to out the boot in early and get it over and done with.

    Most interesting Grace. Sounds like Humphries’ publicity is Family First/ Exclusive Brethren in style. He has kind of cut out the middlemen. I would love to see a copy.

    They were discussing it over at the RiotACT (an ACT community blog) if you want to check it out.

  14. grace pettigrew says:

    “Is there much in local media about the special importance of the two Senate seats in ACT? Lot’s of public servants etc who would be pretty clued up, I guess.”

    Joe2, as a general observation, yes, the Canberra Times is giving the issue reasonable run, ACT voters are supposed to be the best educated in the country, somewhere around 40% are clued-up public servants as you say, and the territory usually votes mostly left/progressive (eg the republic referendum).

    So my reckoning is that the Greens Kerry Tucker will get up. She used to be the in ACT Legislative Assembly, she is personable and intelligent and generally well liked in the community.

    Here’s hoping anyway, because Tucker will go into the Senate straight away (not having to wait until next July like the other elected Senators) and the balance of power will change immediately.

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