Predictions and wishes and reasons for joy

Just a bit of amateur scrying from a non-pseph young’n… and an awkward segue into a prediction thread. Wishes, predictions, night terrors and ominous creakings – let’s hear ’em.

….

Guest post by Barry, cross-posted from investigativeblog.net.

This is my first election in my adult life that has seen a change of government. I trekked to the Australian embassy in Osaka in 2004, held my nose and voted for Latham (after the Greens!) and then went to Tin’s Hall and mourned yet another Howard victory with a pub full of now-unemployed expats.

I didn’t make any public predictions for this election – I’m not a psephologist like many of my colleagues and have always been more of an issues based person than party political. However, the first prediction I made to friends was that Costello would never, ever be PM, and that in the event of Howard losing, he would also never be Leader of the Opposition. Admittedly, I thought he would be taken down by his colleagues, but still – Costello’s out.

So, wish number 1:

Turnbull takes over the Liberals. I’d like this to happen for a number of reasons – he’s a small-l Liberal, he supported the Republic, he’s new, he’s not a religious nutbag.
I’m hoping he takes over the Libs, turns it into a liberal party (finally) and tries to wedge Rudd by supporting gay marriage. Downer’s had his chance, and he’s awful. Abbott might have a chance (I don’t know anything about his support within the party) but I think this election has shown that the much-vaunted religious right vote in Australia is a complete joke and the Catholic vote isn’t a sure thing for the Libs either. On the other hand, Abbott would definitely mean the Libs in the wilderness for a very long time. Besides, Abbott’s got that Lawrence Springborg thing going on… Hard to vote for someone you couldn’t stand to talk to.

My other prediction – that this election would see the end of the Democrats – sadly also came true. I’m a huge fan of Andrew Bartlett, and felt genuinely torn over whether to vote for him or Larissa. If it was Drew Hutton running again, I would have had no problems making the decision – Drew Hutton has been the unsuccessful face of the Queensland Greens forever, and Larissa was and is a genuinely electable candidate. I’m hoping that Andrew Bartlett moves somewhere he can keep up his activism, and that he keeps blogging. If I had the power, I’d offer him a professorship here right now. (Peter, if you’re reading….)

It looks like the Greens will be blogging and using online engagement to further their aims though, so that’s a silver lining, at least.

Wish number 2:

The Greens become the third party of Australian politics, and use their power to push Australia to the left on issues like climate change, civil liberties, government transparency and the environment. And that they use this time to get their house in order – start running articulate, electable candidates, downplay the hippies, get some intellectuals on board (I suggest they start with John Quiggin). I was very impressed with the candidate for Moreton, Emma Hine – finally a science-oriented Green who can argue Green issues on the science.

Lastly, a list of reasons for joy:

Kyoto, better working conditions, greens possibly with the balance of power, Howard on his arse and possibly a small-l, pro-republican leader of the Libs. Also, revision of mandatory detention, no nuclear power, minimal uranium mining and wind-back of the Indigenous intervention. The end of the overriding social conservatism that’s dominated the Australian people for too damn long!

LPers, your thoughts?

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Posted in activism, elections, environment, federal election '07, politics
44 comments on “Predictions and wishes and reasons for joy
  1. The Rockstar Philosopher says:

    Agree with you on Turnbull. I know he is an evil capitalist swine, but that’s not such a bad thing if it’s kept tempered. Now that John Howard is actually gone, I can start thinking a bit more rationally about the Libs. I’d like to see them get back to their small l past so we can stop this ridiculous social conservatism right now, leave it to the fundies so it can finally be shown just how irrelevant they are. The Libs with their big business backing and the Labs with their unions would be a nice balance for economic debates, and they could line up in the middle socially. Then we have the small religious parties on the right and the greens on the left for the social debate. Add to that the Nationals probably splitting off from the coalition, and becoming a much more conservative party economically (btw social conservative is more of a socialist, this ‘economic conservative’ line is codswallop, there’s nothing conservative about the economics of australia at the moment). I’m really heartened by what I’m hearing on the radio about the Liberals. Even though the opposition cheer squad are squawking about people just wanting a “change”, the people in the party seem to realise the real issue was that the party had forgotten how to be liberals. The big mistake the Liberal party made was to tell the people that freedom of choice in the workplace was good, but it was bad in your own home.

    I’m hoping against hope, and praying to my gods and yours, that this will be the opportunity Australia has needed for decades to fix up its party political system.

  2. wasjotoo says:

    “And that they use this time to get their house in order – start running articulate, electable candidates, downplay the hippies, get some intellectuals on board.”

    From what i’ve seen The Greens run very fine candidates. They are bright and work very hard given what a thankless task it is especially in the lower house.

    Not sure where your going on downplaying the hippies. Sounds like a bit of a bash. Anybody regardless of hairstyle ,image, whatever should feel free to get in there and continue to have a say.

    Cheers

  3. Sam Ward says:

    First I’ve heard about Nova going under. By all reports they won’t be missed though.

  4. barry says:

    the Greens have run some very fine candidates – as I said so above. They’ve also run some absolute shockers who turned up to community forums unprepared, spoke absolute nonsense and embarrassed themselves. I do agree that anyone should be able to get involved – but I’d like to see more like Emma and Larissa.

  5. jinmaro says:

    For someone purportedly interested more in issues than party politics, you spend an awful lot of time talking about the former, and personalities, than you do the later.

  6. Tim Hollo says:

    Very glad you see Greensblog as a silver lining, Barry. I’d just say, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that some of the candidates every party runs are absolute jokes. Hey, some of the longest serving MPs are absolute jokes (Iron-bar Tuckey, anyone???).

    Agree the Greens need to professionalise more, and I think we are well on our way. The calibre of most of the candidates we ran this time was better than ever. Go Larissa, and we all hope she’ll get over the line next time (if the numbers don’t happen to fall her way this time)!

  7. David says:

    The idea that the Liberals would try to wedge Rudd on gay marriage. LOLOLOLOLOL like that’s gonna happen.

  8. tigtog says:

    Jinmaro @ #4:

    For someone purportedly interested more in issues than party politics, you spend an awful lot of time talking about the former, and personalities, than you do the later.

    Seems fairly balanced between issues, party stuff and personalities to me, jinmaro. Besides, it’s just one post.

  9. Birdie says:

    Abbott’s a chick magnet, Barry. Guess you just don’t get that. He’s a hard, taut, suave muscleman with a come-bend-to-me palaver that drives women wild.

    Just ask Julia Gillard.

  10. Gaz says:

    “Abbott’s a chick magnet,”

    Um birdie from a comment like that one can only assume you are blind.Tony Abbott has a face like a twisted sand shoe,and a pair of ears that should be included in the latest Guiness book of records.

    This man wouldn’t get a decent root in a wood yard.

  11. wasjotoo says:

    “They’ve also run some absolute shockers who turned up to community forums unprepared, spoke absolute nonsense and embarrassed themselves.”

    Maybe if you knew ‘those volunteers’, who you hold up to criticism, you would go a little bit easier on them. Just saying, that people who put up their hands to stand in the lower house as greens have very little taxpayer support and likely have other committments that make your standards difficult to comply with.

  12. Birdie says:

    Gaz, mate, a bit of free female knowledge for you.

    Women don’t give a snake’s skin what men look like. It’s the other things, y’know.

    And, anyway, fact is, Abbott is quite a looker, comparatively speaking.

  13. barry says:

    sorry jinmaro – to clarify – I’m not a psephologist, and I’m not really good at internal party politics or polling, which is why i didn’t make many predictions. Not knowing the numbers or how they worked particularly well, my judgments are based on issues and people.

    Birdie: um, that’s nice.

    Tim: you’re absolutely right, but I’m not overly fussed when the Libs run self-destructing idiots – though I’m horrified when they get elected.

    tigtog: Thanks!

    David: it’s certainly amusing, but not unreasonable. Gay rights have often been supported by liberal politics – and historically dismissed by socialist politics. Certainly, an untenable position under Howard, but in a post-Howard era, who knows?

  14. Birdie says:

    Barry, I don’t read Quiggin. I have tried, really. I. Have. Tried.

    But he ain’t ever going to inspire the masses or the wood-nymphs or tree sprites, or do anything much but talk on blogs to like-minded nerdy wonks.

  15. barry says:

    wasjotoo: I do. Friends with some of them, actually. Climbed trees with some, arrested with others.

  16. David Rubie says:

    If ever there was a reason for joy, this picture sums it up for me.

    I’d agree Abbott is a total magnet. I mean, how many kids are floating around with those satellite dishes for ears and don’t really know whether he’s the father?

  17. barry says:

    Birdie: I’m not asking you to read his blog. I’m suggesting the Greens get him in to advise them on economic issues. Cut off the “Greens don’t know their economics” criticism before it starts…

  18. Mercurius says:

    Guest Poster, my thoughts are that your two wishes look pretty good.

    But the main game’s moved elsewhere my friend, at least for the next three years, if not six, if not nine…

  19. Gaz says:

    “Women don’t give a snake’s skin what men look like. It’s the other things, y’know.”

    Yea I know,that’s why all those senile old multi millionaires just slightly less uglier than Abbott, have all those Barbie Doll trophy wives hanging off their arms. Of course, I may be wrong, it may be a deep seated love,and a need for companionship they crave,somebody to keep an eye on the oxygen regulator,change the old mans incontinence pads. A family member to make sure the old mans will is o/k.

    Give me a break, Please.

  20. Birdie says:

    Gaz, honey, you underestimate the fairer sex completely. Sure there are gold-diggers. Part of life’s rich tapestry.

    No, I was thinking more of women like Charlotte Bronte and Carson McCullers to name the two who first come to mind – in this context.

  21. Gaz says:

    “Gaz, honey, you underestimate the fairer sex completely. Sure there are gold-diggers. Part of life’s rich tapestry.”

    Yea I know,nearly sixty years old with a little bit of life’s experience, and still an excellent memory,sheeet what would I know.

    The thrust of my sarcasm is directed at Tony Abbott,if you think he is a chick magnet fine,I don’t only believe he is as ugly as a hat full of ass holes,he has a character to match.The man is a bully and has form.So please spare me the bollicks we’re the sex pistols he he he he.

  22. Gaz says:

    Oh by the way,If you are having a little joke,I missed it.Im still celebrating the demise of the poison dwarf.I have been pissed since Saturday, it probably shows.

  23. Nabakov says:

    “The idea that the Liberals would try to wedge Rudd on gay marriage. LOLOLOLOLOL like that’s gonna happen.”

    Stranger things have happened. And not just at sea.

    I agree with The Rockstar Philosopher that this is an excellent opportunity to rethink just what party political groupings of our elected representatives should…well basically represent. Especially the Libs. It’s a golden chance to reinvent themselves a la Labor did after 1975. Just as Hawkie and co came up with “consensus” to retool “the light on the hill” as a navigation beacon among the rising tides of globalisation, the Libs should return to and redevelop “party of personal freedom” as “wired for achievement” or some such fuck knuckle slogan. Just not “incentivisation”.

    If they clear out all the dead dogmatic wood and get someone like Malcolm Turnbull (well perhaps not at first – he should hire a good housecleaner so his hands stay clean) then by about 2013 they should be able to outflank Labor from the smart, fast footed technocratic new solutions for a new world angle.

    As so they should. All Governments get sclerotic after a few terms (although it took the Howard Government only a few years) and the Rudd/Gulliard mob will be no exception. At least Labor seemed to have cottoned onto this a state level what with Premiers and Chief Ministers packing it after a decent run.

    Things are gonna get really crazy over the next decade and regardless of whether its a centre left or centre right party in power, I want my government to be as smart, supple and as effective about what they’ve chosen to be effective about as possible.

    We’re a medium sized multipurpose drive on/drive off ferry with a decent engine and an excellent lounge bar sailing in a stormy global economy over which we have fuck all influence. We should be looking to make things as shipshape as possible from infrastructure to education to lifeboat drills and up to date charts.

    Not screwing around with re-gilding the figurehead and patching up old flags a la the Howardistas’ half-arsed attempts at social and cultural engineering. And nor do we want the new captain and crew neglecting the bridge and engine room to tell us what to order off the menu and to put that cigarette out on the afterdeck. However something does need to be done soon about the truly squalid conditions in steerage. You can smell it up here in the First Class cabins and it’s rather putting me off the view I paid good money for.

    I do also take onboard RockPhilo’s point about having some bumboats trail the ferry to take off the crazier crew and passengers and occasionally upload some that have had enough of a bumpy seasick ride in a small vessel choked by diesel and other fumes. Greens to the left of me, Nats/Family First to right, and here I am, stuck in the middle with you. Waiting for that brilliant sax intro to ‘Baker Street’. Which Rudd didn’t play on Saturday night. Oh well, at least he seems to understand modern navigation techniques. The previous crew were just frigging in the rigging by the time they walked the plank.

    Hmm, I can see my metaphors are all at sea now.

    Anyway, we’ve got at least six years on this next cruise before we can seriously consider whether barratry (in the Admiralty Law sense) justifies another round of mutiny. If so, I just hope the next crew is up to it.

    Incidentally, does anyone else have a image of the SMS Liberal Party putting Lieutenant Costello ashore on a desert island with a handful of hardtack and a loaded pistol?

    Tip of the Tricorne to Amibigilous for the prevailing nautical imagery. I trust some of his/her/it’s dispatches will be mentioned in dispatches.

  24. David says:

    Hey it would be great if they did it. But they won’t. I think you must be forgetting that plain old conservatives are pretty influential in the liberal party, and pretty important to their vote. The popular tide will swing on this one, and the hard religious will decline in influence. And that’s when the ALP will do it, first. And Libs will hopefully go along. But no reason to think they will do it first, when they have a much higher proportion of conservatives. Perhaps even a vaguely progressive Liberal Party might suggest it, and then the ALP will happily go along, breathing a sigh of relief that they can finally bring in gay marriage without getting wedged. But that’s not the Liberals wedging them. Some kind of bizarre inversion where the ALP becomes the social conservative party opposing gay marriage while the Libs are all for it is ridiculous. There’s just no plausible explanation. Damn this ‘battlers’ and ‘doctor’s wives’ mythology has led people into all kind of weird delusions.

  25. Nabakov says:

    “Some kind of bizarre inversion where the ALP becomes the social conservative party opposing gay marriage while the Libs are all for it is ridiculous.”

    Seen what’s happening in the UK lately?

  26. murph the surf says:

    “Guest Poster, my thoughts are that your two wishes look pretty good.

    But the main game’s moved elsewhere my friend, at least for the next three years, if not six, if not nine… ”

    Prediction – Rudd doesn’t roll the factions . The NSW machine is already in action according to News Radio this morning – such outstanding backroom dealers ! I even thought I heard the name Obeid mentioned …?
    As the reporter said – “how many Queenlanders do they think they can have in the Ministry?”

    Prediction – very po faced ex-union leaders following Rudd’s directive to visit schools and shelters once per term. Let’s all enjoy this unusal moment in ALP history – Dear Leader directing the action.

    Prediction – Garret doesn’t maintain a hing profile role . I wish him well but the campaign wasn’t his best tour and the machine men need the high profile payoffs.

    Ah ALP business as usual. Jesus , even Richo will be back next.

  27. Jason says:

    I have to say that I am with Barry on the Greens thing. I think we attended a lot of the same community forums, and with youdecide2007 I was keeping an eye on other electorates around the place.

    They are at a point where they will be hoping to make the transition quite soon to a much more serious electoral contender, and that means being under more scrutiny, no longer relying on a protest vote, and having their unity across a policy platform tested.

    If my experiences during this campaign are any guide, they just ain’t there yet. Some candidates – as Barry says – are competent, but more than a few sound like deep green fundies, some sound like cuddly Liberals who dream of the whole world being a bit more like Noosa or Paddington, and others just sound freaking insane.

    There are loonies in other parties, but they generally agree with stated policies under interrogation. I heard some very marked, occasionally alarming divergences between Greens candidates on basic issues of social, economic, and yes environmental policy. The additional media attention that the Greens keep clamouring for might actually be their undoing unless they’re able to make some changes there. Campaigns and discipline ARE important in convincing the voters that you have the right stuff for the house of Reps, let alone the treasury benches.

    I say this as someone who wishes them well on the whole: they have to stop being a cult of personality, and they REALLY have to cut away some dead-wood relics around the place who are going to inhibit their emergence as much more broadly-based party. As Barry says, Larissa is a fantastic candidate: genuine and unforced in speaking, articulate, “mainstream” and she’s done her homework across all policy areas. More like her will do them the world of good.

  28. FDB says:

    Although a lawyer, I can vouch for Adam Bandt (lower house cantidate for Melbourne). Articulate, professional, realistic and a Dockers supporter to boot. Handy on the field too.

    Did any other non-ALP/Coalition cantidate get even close to his 20-something percent of primaries?

  29. FDB says:

    Aieee! It’s Adam who’s the lawyer, I swear!

    Damn you ambiguity!

  30. wasjotoo says:

    I’m just hoping that The Greens maintain organic certification.

    In come the spray professionals and goodbye the soul of another party.

  31. Ambigulous says:

    On Board Diary, Lifeboat Number 24-11

    Lt Downer is feeling terribly, terribly ill.

    Lt Abbott has been shouting at the sharks circling our rusty little craft.

    Capt Howard and the Quartermaster are missing feared drowned, but are not “children overboard”.

    There is to be no further aimless punning about RUDDers, RUDDerless, RUDDy cheeks, cRUDD, etc. and no-one is to refer to the current year (1957) as “07”.

    Able Seaman Pyne opines. Able Seaperson Bishop checks Lt Abbott by ecclesiastical ranking. Cdr Robb wuz robbed. Admiral Nelson dislikes being called “Brenda”, even sotto voce.

    Viscount Turnbull was taken from the Menzies in good time by a rather fashionable sloop, and now sips a fine French wine while awaiting our arrival at Point Wentworth. He will have a charabanc awaiting the infirm. Row harder, men! Solid ground lies ahead. We were not to know the Menzies would founder. No-one could have predicted it. We had the finest sea captain the Great South Land has sired.

    Onward, put your backs into it. Chins up.

  32. jinmaro says:

    “Some candidates – as Barry says – are competent, but more than a few sound like deep green fundies, some sound like cuddly Liberals who dream of the whole world being a bit more like Noosa or Paddington, and others just sound freaking insane.”

    You’ve left out a few categories – people can fill in their own additional descriptors from the multiple available – but I’d suggest that you’ve made a good start in including a good, representative population demographic cross-section of potential parliamentary representatives that genuine democracy (and the Greens come closer to that than any other political party) entails.

  33. Ambigulous says:

    On Board supplement, Lifeboat 24-11

    The Kelly Gang Incident

    Reports have come in from Lindasy Bay, which must be clarified. Yes, Seamstress Chijoff was observed flailing around in heavy seas near our boat. The boat had little spare capacity. The Seamstress was distressed. She cried out for help. She was losing strength. She cried out that she might “take up the Mahometan faith, like that pretty young maid in trouble in the Spice Islands”. Crewmen advised her against this course.

    She sank.

    Lt Robb checked that all five lifebelts stowed at rear of lifeboat were still dry and in good order. We rowed on.

  34. Peter Hollo says:

    Did any other non-ALP/Coalition cantidate get even close to his 20-something percent of primaries?

    FDB, in my electorate of Sydney, Jenny Leong got 21.05% (currently), which is pretty awesome. Apparently this is *down* from last year though…!

  35. wasjotoo says:

    Chris Uhlmann , ABC’s Chief Political Correspondent, gave a bit of a lecture on Jon Faine local, today in Melbourne, as to how the greens might pick themselves up from this recent political failure.

    I am not sure whether a transcript is possible but it is scarey when a person, in his position, could distort the reality of what is another very good Greens result.

  36. adam says:

    hi all…

    watching the greens myself now, even more so. first thing to do is convince bob to retire at the end of the term. avoiding the chipp factor is vital. and the party needs elder statesman for history value. plus, most importantly, complaining about lack of thanks when you score a fatter primary than nationals, thus becoming third force in my book, is both whiny and a lost opportunity to positively reinforce the “we’ve arrived” pitch – pls someone who knows how to construct, take over)

    regards and welcome to the aftermath. :^)

  37. Helen says:

    start running articulate, electable candidates, downplay the hippies, get some intellectuals on board (I suggest they start with John Quiggin).

    And Kenneth Davidson from dahn Sahth here, Barry.

  38. jinmaro says:

    umm, Kenneth D and John Quiggan are right-wing social democrats. Completely useless for the Greens, thank you very much. Sheesh.

  39. mark (not b) says:

    My wish is for the Rudd Labor Government to be as accountable to the wishes of citizens as it claims to be.

    It could start by extending the moratorium on GM crops!!! Perhaps against the wishes of the states and big US agribusiness. I noted that NSW and Victoria waited till just after the election to spring the GM surprise on us – of course, minimising the possible electoral fallout for Kruddy.

    On the same theme, Rudds stated intention of having a more transparent Government and more open FOI opportunities – therefore releasing the full text of the US/Australia Free Trade Agreement.

  40. barry says:

    I’m curious that it’s assumed that being an inclusive, democratic party entails running every person who puts their hand up. Everyone should be able to join, to develop policy, campaign, etc – but why not run candidates who are actually good at their job? Being inclusive doesn’t mean being amateurish.

    Why exactly is John Quiggin inappropriate? the Greens’ economic policy is based on a social democratic model, isn’t it?

  41. Ambigulous says:

    nabakov @ 24

    Signal to Russian Squadron: many thanks for your tip of the Tricorne, Admiral. We send a brotherly greeting worthy of seamen. And I don’t mean that in the Cruise Ship manner.

    Nautical terms have also sprung up in dispatches from Missy Michelle Grattan, and others.

    Why was Lt Costello as white as a foresail today when he announced the new Cap’t? (But good to see that the Bishop DID outrank the Abbott.)

  42. barry says:

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22856091-2,00.html

    Liberal Party supports legal rights for gays! hells yeah!

  43. Andyc says:

    mark (not b) 40: “On the same theme, Rudds stated intention of having a more transparent Government and more open FOI opportunities – therefore releasing the full text of the US/Australia Free Trade Agreement.”

    Good idea.It would be nice to know what additional swords of Damocles were hanging over us, beyond becoming a non-voting colony of the US as far as IP law is concerned.

    Once everyone knows, discussion about what we are prepared to put up with in order to renege on the Filthy Trade Anschluss is next on the agenda.

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