Carbon Price Now!

So, now we know. Labor has wimped out on a carbon price – either from reintroducing the CPRS, or through an interim carbon price as proposed by the Greens. Instead, we’re going to get the delaying tactics of a focus group with pretensions so we can get a “community consensus”.

So where does that leave those of us who think that we’ve all been consulted to death on this issue, and it’s time for polluters to start paying? More to the point, how can we use the upcoming election to send that message?

Below the fold, a little idea I’d like to float for discussion.

Like John Quiggin, and for similar reasons, unless something completely unexpected emerges I’ll be giving my first preference to the Greens. Yes, I still disagree with their policies on many issues, but of all the options available they are closest to the mark on the ones that matter the most. I imagine many of you will do the same. But I’d like to make completely clear to the ALP hacks scrutineering my booth the key issue motivating the vote – the lack of action the one key policy measure governments need to take to address greenhouse gas emissions – putting a price on carbon.

Furthermore, I imagine that many LP readers might still choose to vote Labor, but might wish to inform the same hacks that they too want action.

So…I was thinking to borrow an idea from the fight to stop the Franklin Dam. As the Wikipedia puts it:

In the federal Lowe by-election in Sydney, March 1982, volunteers at every polling booth encouraged voters to write “No Dams” on their ballot paper, and 9% did so. At that first ‘Write-in’ campaign, few people knew that they could write a message on their federal ballot paper without invalidating their vote. In the ACT Legislative Assembly mid-1982 election, 25% of voters wrote “No Dams” on their ballot paperAugust 2009.

In the federal Flinders by-election in Victoria in December 1982, 42% of voters wrote “No Dams” on their ballot papers. This had been a marginal Liberal seat, and given the Liberal’s poor polling at the time it was widely expected that the Labor candidate would win by a large margin. However Liberal candidate Peter Reith overstated his anti-dam position,May 2009 and the Labor candidate only reflected federal Labor’s sympathetic but ineffectual No Dams platform. Reith won the Flinders by-election (only to lose the seat 3 months later). It has been suggested that Reith’s win prompted federal Labor to harden their No Dams platform from sympathetic words to a promise of federal intervention to stop the dam, despite anticipating how unpopular mainland intervention would be in Tasmania’s 5 federal seats. It has also been asserted that Malcolm Fraser called his 1983 election 7 months early on the strength of Reith’s win; if not for that early election the bulldozers would have done much more damage.

So, in a nutshell, let’s use the same tactic again – use our ballot papers to directly communicate with our political parties that we need a carbon price ASAP.

I propose the simple phrase: “Carbon price now” – but if anybody has something snappier I’d be glad to hear it.

So what do you think?

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in activism, environment, federal election 2010
128 comments on “Carbon Price Now!
  1. Spana says:

    Surely Gillard and her stand for nothing policies are clear to everyone now. Could she and the ALP have more of a nothing policy than this. Pro environment voters should be outraged and disgusted.

    Instead of voting Green and preferencing to the ALP however, which in my opinion just allows people to make a quite protest they feel good about but lets the ALP off the hook I would suggest they put the ALP and coalition last. This would send a very strong message. For me the coaltion will be ahead of Labor in my preferences because as a teacher Gillard threatened us with scab labour and fines. However, for others, you could preference ALL independents and minor parties before the ALP and put the coaltion last. So ALP may be 7 and Libs 8.

    We need to wake up to the fact that preferencing ALP after Greens does nothing. The ALP simply factors it into their machine calculations. You are still voting for the ALP. I really urge everyone to abandon the ALP and send them a real message. If you don’t they get away with being sell outs on everything.

  2. gregh says:

    great idea but maybe something shorter. I spoke with my son as well and we both thought
    renewables now
    no carbon

  3. hannah's dad says:

    An idea worth thinking about Robert, and I’ll go off and have a think.


    I reckon I know and can empathise where you are coming from but I can’t agree.

    Bad as the ALP may be on several issues and unionism is one such we cannot close our eyes to the fact that the COALition is far far worse.
    Its the conundrum all progressive voters have, do I vote for the not so good party or the really really bad party?
    Because lets face it on Sunday August 22 we will have one of them.
    And I would prefer the not so good mob to the blatantly anti-union really really terrible COALition.
    So I’ll put the ALP second after the Greens at #1, give the Greens a vote, some election money [each vote is worth $2 I think, send a tiny message to both the ALP and the COALition and maximize the minimal impact I can have at an election.

  4. moz says:

    Sounds like a really good idea. I wonder if I could get away with wearing a message like that when handing out how to votes for The Greens.

  5. Fran Barlow says:

    I thought Make Polluters Pay their Way! would be nice, or maybe Polluter-pays Now!. Rhymes are good though … A carbon price would be nice!

    I’m putting 1 The Greens and the ALP and Libs equal on the ballot, though they will both be higher than the obvious ultra crazies like AAFI, CDP, and similar.

    I just can’t stand the idea of voting for parties committed to brutalising asylum seekers, occupying Afghanistan, giving in to mining thugs, and doing nothing on climate change.

    Others may think otherwise but I want no part of legitimising that. I want to be able to say that none of these policies had anything to do with me. Sadly, that probably means that my primary won’t count, except in my own mind.

    This is the price one must pay under our rigged system.

  6. Tim Macknay says:

    That’s a very good idea, Mark. The thing I like about it is that it lets people send a message about this issue no matter who they choose to vote for. I can’t think of anything snappier than your wording.

  7. angela says:

    Fantastic idea. My preference is for “carbon tax”- but if we want the message to go viral, it may have to be diluted to “climate action NOW”. This would be a great idea to pitch to Get Up.

  8. Tim Macknay says:

    Angela, “climate action now” sounds like it’s endorsing the Coalition policy (which is also a ‘do nothing’ policy’. I think it has to have ‘carbon price’ or ‘carbon tax’ in it.

  9. hannah's dad says:

    I’ve had a think.
    Good idea.
    Acorns and oaks.

    Dunno about the exact wording I’ll let the wordsmiths tackle that.

    Some suggestions.

    You have the e-ma-ls of respondents here.
    Why not contact the Greens folk who comment here [I was particularly thinking of Tim Hollo [?] who was around for a while] and see what they think and if they can get the Greens involved.
    If you want the Greens involved, or do you want to avoid party political?

    How about an ad in a newspaper or two urging the tactic?
    Yeah I know it would be barely noticeable and expensive but we here can chip in some money, not much in my case but as much as I can afford ‘according to my ability”.

    Set up a fund from our donations for car stickers whatever as well as the newspaper ad idea.
    I’ll trust you with some of my money.

    Write a letter or two to the editor, you folk here, Mark, Kim, yourself, others are good at writing.

    Get some celebrity on board.

    Suggestions anyone?

  10. Ute Man says:

    It’s a good idea Robert – Carbon Price Now!

    …but I can’t put the liberals and ALP last because that would mean preferencing the CEC and I find it hard enough to write any number at all in their box.

  11. Terry says:

    Fran, you can’t put the ALP and the Libs equal on your ballot paper and cast a valid vote. One has to be ahead of the other, and that’s the issue that matters here, no matter what else people draw on their ballot papers

  12. Mr Denmore says:


    Talk Is Cheap – Tax on Carbon

    This is snappy, brandable, twitter-friendly and conveys in an onomateapaic way that time is running out

  13. mediatracker says:

    I’m not as sure as you that this is an acceptable addition to the voting paper. It runs the risk of being set aside for judgment by a third party (scrutineers and the like) and perhaps deemed “informal” or “ruined slip”. I’d like to see an opinion from the Electoral Commission before advising anyone to try your suggestion.

  14. PeterTB says:

    I’m on record as saying that I thought that Julia was a better politician than Kevin.

    I was wrong, and I accept responsibility for my error.

  15. Thomas Paine says:

    Rudd alluded to Gillard’s moving to the right on both AS and Climate Change issues. And in her first press conference Gillard herself implied that she intended to fudge the CC issue with words like building a consensus.

    And we should recall that it was Gillard that pushed Rudd to shelve the ETS. Otherwise we may have had a DD election on the issue and Rudd on his way to a second term.

    So she reckons we need to build a consensus again, even after all the shenanigans of the previous election that forced Howard to develop his own ETS. Gillard wants to take us back before Rudd.

    Interesting then is Rudd’s new job offer with the UN which makes a good contrast with Gillard’s obvious intention to do as little as possible.

    So having served the interests of the big miners is the Green Mafia back in charge of Govt energy and CC policy with Gillard as PM? It seems a bit like it.

    An analysis of Gillard’s words and deeds to date, and even her use of language makes her look awfully like a female version of John Howard.

    People assume that because she is in the ALP and from the factions that she will be a good old Labor leader, so they will suspend disbelief assuming that in the end she will take off her plastic Howard face and go…ta daaa fooled you all. Now we are going to do all good Labor type policies.

    People will be waiting and waiting and waiting for the real Gillard to show herself…but what we are seeing and hearing is it.

    This latest policy of Gillard should not be a surprise. I expcted exactly this from the way she has been speaking from the beginning. It is of course another capitulation and cop out.

    People may have laughed at me before but I say again that a Turnbull with the agreed ETS would be a threat to Gillard Labor.

  16. Terry says:

    It was always apparent that Turnbull presented more of a threat to Labor, as he could align economic liberalism (the debt and deficit argument) with environmental credentials that would have at least given Greens voters some pause about where to put their second preference, and he could also have adopted a degree of social liberalism (no to the Internet filter, less moralising than Rudd used to indulge in).

    It was a key day for the ALP when the Libs chucked Turnbull for Abbott, and I am sure Mal will be a heavy presence on the Sunday politics programs on August 22.

  17. Thomas Paine says:

    Common Turnbull. Challenge. Create some excitement, some competition and make Gillard’s life uncomfortable on CC.

  18. tigtog says:

    Common Turnbull.

    Interesting typo.

  19. hannah's dad says:


    Talk Is Cheap – Tax on Carbon”

    I like it.

  20. Senexx says:

    I accept climate change.
    However, I am not convinced whether a a carbon tax or a CPRS is imposed that it wont harm the person at the bottom more than help them.

  21. Tyro Rex says:

    I’m putting 1 The Greens and the ALP and Libs equal on the ballot, though they will both be higher than the obvious ultra crazies like AAFI, CDP, and similar.

    This is called a “langer vote” and it’s informal. Thrown away. Not counted.

  22. Labor Outsider says:

    Labor have $ucked this issue up big time, starting with their failure of nerve back in 2009. But this announcement was hardly surprising. Gillard was hardly going to announce a carbon tax four weeks before an election. Can you imagine?

  23. Fran Barlow says:

    Senexx said:

    I accept climate change.

    At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it isn’t optional.

    However, I am not convinced whether a carbon tax or a CPRS is imposed that it won’t harm the person at the bottom more than help them.

    Gosh. Such detailed, elegant and nuanced use of data and modelling. Who’d have thought that someone posting would have left this magnificent opus here?

  24. Fran Barlow says:

    LO said:

    Gillard was hardly going to announce a carbon tax four weeks before an election. Can you imagine?

    Silence would have been the lesser evil. A candid admission that it was all too hard would have been the lesser evil.

  25. Terry says:

    Fran, would you put the ALP ahead of the Libs if Julia said nothing at all about the topic?

  26. Fran Barlow says:

    This is called a “langer vote” and it’s informal. Thrown away. Not counted.

    As the post noted Tyro, I am aware that this is a possibility:

    I want to be able to say that none of these policies had anything to do with me. Sadly, that probably means that my primary won’t count, except in my own mind.

    This is the price one must pay under our rigged system.

  27. Fran Barlow says:

    Terry asked:

    Fran, would you put the ALP ahead of the Libs if Julia said nothing at all about the topic?

    No. Silence would have been the lesser evil today but the ALP would not have been the lesser evil overall. Consider:

    1. Asylum seeker brutalisation; redneck pandering
    2. Surrender to mining thug rule
    3. Afghanistan occupation
    4. No carbon price

  28. andyc says:

    Just “TAX CARBON!”

  29. Senexx says:

    Fran, the acceptance of climate change is optional. To deny it would be counter to the fact but many people believe this. That makes it optional. Perhaps you could use that sarcasm to start a blog.

    Fran, I am one of the voters that needs convincing on the topic. I’ve read the Garnaut report. However, like all political systems I see the possibility for abuse where everything is heaped on the individual and the conglomerates get off scot free.

    Welcome to behavioural economics and minimising your tax. The trouble with the climate change options is we’ve all talked about the big stick – what will happen if we don’t and taxes but no one has mentioned the carrot or if they have it hasn’t got the air time.

    I grant that a carbon tax is much easier to understand than a CPRS cap and trade scheme. I have the same issue with a carbon tax I do with the GST. This should not require any further explaining.

    We have known the CPRS is a cap & trade system for a long time now.
    Which of course means small business will do their job, sell their permits and big business will pollute just as much as they do now as they’ll have all the permits.

    Small business could then make a mistake and actually produce more carbon than it should but then get fined because there are no permits left to buy (trade) since big business has them all.
    – Small business then goes out of business.

    Big Business doesn’t care. Big business puts the prices up to pay for new costs as they have always done.

    The consumer pays more. Making ends meet becomes more difficult.

    So it works just like a tax anyway.

    Now tell me about the subsidies and income supplements that make this bearable for the person at the bottom, please?

  30. Terry says:

    Not giving a preference to the ALP or the Liberals is re-enacting the Marxist critique of electoralism. Its a philosophically valid position, but one that makes worrying about who is in government on August 22 somewhat redundant, as it will definitely be a bourgeois party in power.

  31. Fran Barlow says:

    Senexx continued:

    Fran, the acceptance of climate change is optional. To deny it would be counter to the fact but many people believe this. That makes it optional

    Do you also accept the movement of the earth around the sun, and its 23.5 degree tilt? Dom you accept precession? What’s you opinion on retrgrade motion? Is that optional too?

    One has to laugh. Physics trumps belief. Physics takes no view on popular opinion.

    It is very clear that apart from not understanding the underlying economics associated with carbon pricing you are also asking the wrong questions about equity.

    Even if carbon pricing really did hurt the poor relatively more, (and it need not) climate change will hurt them more than carbon pricing. Those of us who are serious need to asdvocate measures that will shield the poorest from the worst of the fall out, but the fact of the matter is that this structural adjustment will almost certainly not be painless for the least advantaged. That simply reflects the reality of an inequitable world and looking around for solutions that leave all of the disadvantaged no worse off is simply asking for a set of options that won’t work and which accordingly will harm the disadvantaged even more.

  32. Fran Barlow says:


    You can’t vote against a policy by voting for those proposing it.

    Some people say that it is better to have good people do bad things than have bad people do bad things, but I say, how do you know that the first group are good people, save that they do good things?

    One may in life, ask for something one wants and not get it. That may be due to factors outside one’s control. Yet if one asks for what one doesn’t want, and gets it, is one not simply a fool?

    Let us imagine that despite polling 10-12% primary on the eve of the election, that not a single valid Green vote stood. Tony Abbott was instead elected on rightwing preferences despite polling only 39% primary against the ALP’s 42%.

    In the senate, there were no new Green senators elected. An examination of the ballots shows that the ALP would have won comfortably if 75% of Green primaries had been validly completed and gone to the ALP.

    What would the upshot of that have been? How would the ALP have reacted to such a devastating riposte?

    I suspect they’d pay more an order of magnitude more attention to the Green-left voter’s concerns. That would be worth enduring a term of Abbott to get, bearing in mind that the ALP will not be doing anything in 2011 that a Green-ALP government couldn’t do in 2013.

    Right now, the left is on the wrong end of right-wing blackmail. We need to stop paying the blackmailer to spit in our faces as the lesser evil.

  33. stuart says:

    Senexx, your post doesn’t make all that much sense, but one thing I can tell is that you clearly have not read the Gaurnaut review nor understand the CPRS.

    If you did you’d know that small business aren’t liable under the scheme. Only large businesses are liable, and the only way they have been able to get off “scot free” is because the CPRS didn’t get through! Just so you know, I’m pretty sure the CPRS was designed such that low income earners get more compensation than the increased costs they would face.

    I’d like to know what issue you have with carbon taxes, as I don’t see the link to the GST.

    Gillard has completely shirked her responsibility to lead on this issue. I’m absolutely disgusted that neither party has a credible policy on climate change. I too will be preferencing greens first. Hopefully enough people do so that they major parties get the point!!

  34. Thomas Paine says:

    Well said indeed.

  35. Lefty E says:

    Like the idea a lot Robert. Is your suggestion “carbon price”? Or soething snappier? If you contact Getup I’m sure they’d run with it.

    Meanwhile: can someone PLEASE explain to me how Gillard’s non-policy today isn’t the EXACT same blunder that Rudd made?

    I mean, seriously, if people wont learn, you just cant help them. Vote Green.

  36. Labor Outsider says:


    It isn’t the same blunder because none of the groundwork has been prepared for a new policy so soon. It isn’t as though she promised a carbon price and then reneged.

    The whole thing is a mess, but a rushed carbon tax announcement would not have helped. The libs would have had a field day in the marginals with it.

  37. wbb says:

    10-15% of people care enough about climate change for it to decide their vote. Those votes all end up in the ALP pile anyway.

    Gillard talking softly on CC to get power is always better than an Abbott in power acting softly on CC.

    Don’t ignore the reality that any high-profile policy must get 51% of the population to back it. Andrew Bolt et al are still far more influential voices on this debate than Garnaut, Flannery, Bob Brown etc.

    The issue is urgent but politically we are, as a broad society, just getting out of the starting blocks. Gillard ain’t the messiah. (Neither was poor Kevin.) And anybody not advocating Vote 1 Greens, Vote 2 ALP is not serious about CC.

  38. wbb says:

    btw, tic-toc is pro-level, Mr Denmore!

  39. Ute Man says:

    wbb wrote:

    Gillard talking softly on CC to get power is always better than an Abbott in power acting softly on CC.

    I’m not so sure anymore. Abbotts policy is looking more honest at this stage of the game.

  40. Mindy says:

    But remember Uteman you can’t trust anything he says, he said so himself!

  41. Spana says:

    Fran, I find myself agreeing very much with you. The last two elections, one state and one federal I have voted informal because I did not want to give my consent to any party responsible for what I saw as morally wrong – that is the ALP, Libs or Greens. In Gandhian terms I withdrew my consent. This is a valid position and if carried out on a large scale wold change the way politics works.

    I also believe we must be prepared to vote Labor out and risk a Liberal government for the long term good. We must be prepared to let Labor know that we will not be taken advantage of. If we cause the ALP to lose government next time they will have to address our concerns. Sadly, too many fear three years of Liberal rule and instead condemn us to decades of right wing ALP governments which do the same things the Libs would have done anyway.

    The ALP are worse than the Libs because they do the same thing whilst using and disempowering workers and unions. This election I will vote and it will be primarily to vote against Labor. ALP last on my ballot.

  42. wbb, I think you’re overestimating the sophistication with which the political parties understand public opinion.

    Sure, the proportion of people who really care about climate change is relatively small. But I’ll bet money that the hardcore denialist crowd who flooded the inboxes of Coalition MPs when Turnbull tried to do a deal is a) even smaller, and b) even more hardcore partisan than those on the other end of the opinion spectrum on the issue. And look what they were able to achieve.

  43. Lefty E says:

    People are already well prepared to get behind a committed leader on this issue – theyve indiacted it in poll after poll.

    I think the issue is a different one: the ALP could try not giving up at the first sign of resistance.

    People don’t respect it.

  44. On the legality of writing messages on ballots, the relevant section of the Electoral Act is Section 268. it describes how a valid vote is to be marked (by putting a different number in every square in a House election, and either of the two ways to indicate a vote in the Senate), notes that any mark on the ballot which can be used to identify the voter renders the vote invalid, and that otherwise…

    A ballot paper shall not be informal for any reason other than the reasons specified in this section, but shall be given effect to according to the voter’s intention so far as that intention is clear.

  45. Lefty E says:

    Might I add: Spana is unfortunately right. Its just too easy for the ALP to cave to the right when they are assured of Green prefs anyway. In fact, its the logical thing for them to do electorally. So we need to change that game.

    I don’t say this with any relish at all – but the Greens might have to put that matter in grave doubt before too long, and force the ALP to pick sides.

    2013: No carbon price, no prefs. Hang the consequences – you brought it on yourself anyway. Sure, oz workers might get screwed for 3 years, but then again we might just save some pacific islanders’ their homes.

    I know which I can live with easier – the former will happen anyway when the ALP lose off their own bat, as they will.

    I don’t even give a shit if we get an govt thats 2% worse on climate if we’ve got a 50% chance of forcing the other side to improve our chances by 10%. Its worth the risk.

    3 years to shape up and pick sides, ALP. Then its over. The love will be gone.

    Greens – who’s with me?? GAME CHANGER!

  46. Ute Man says:

    Lefty E wrote:

    I don’t even give a shit if we get an govt thats 2% worse on climate if we’ve got a 50% chance of forcing the other side to improve our chances by 10%. Its worth the risk.

    My sentiment exactly, although I’d add a few tasty epithets to describe just how angry I am about the NSWification of federal Labor and the insidious and destabilising relationship between big unions and big mining. These bastards expected total public support in their campaign against WorkChoices and Australians responded, but when we want their help with climate change where are they? On the wrong side.

    Won’t get fooled again.

  47. adrian says:

    My feelings exactly Ute Man!

  48. hannah's dad says:

    Ah lefty E its a nasty game isn’t it when its heads you lose and tails you don’t win?

  49. hannah's dad says:

    That wasn’t meant to be sarcastic or any such, just a bit sad.

  50. wbb says:

    Fair bit of disillusionment with the ALP coming from Greens voters tonight!

    It is too big an ask to expect the ALP to carry the day on climate change. It is not in their brief. Might as well hope the Libs come on board.

    Climate change must be lead by greens in the political forum and then non-partisan business and environmental, social interests outside of politics.

    So Vote 1 Greens for climate change as the most pressing issue; then Vote 2 on your traditional political interests.

  51. akn says:

    Robert, a fine idea. However, I don’t have a lot of faith in the competence of the AEC and would prefer to see a ruling that such ballot marking would not be interpreted as an invalid vote prior to actually doing it. My view of the AEC is that One Nation should never have been registered as a party in the first instance and that irregularities in membership that the AEC eventually found were present from the get go.

  52. Ute Man says:

    Instead of wbb’s suggestion, I would prefer everybody as disenchanted as me to vote:

    1. Green (upper and lower house)
    2. Ratbags – wacky single issue parties of your choice (etc sex party for their internet policies) in order of entertainment value.
    2a. Communists and socialists. (actually, they are a subset of 2 but no matter)
    3. Liberal
    4. ALP
    5. All the far right, scary, creepy, religious or libertarian candidates.

    Can’t believe it myself after 24 years of voting ALP but I’m officially out. Possibly for good.

  53. akn says:

    On another note, I see that six Green locals have opted to distribute preferences on a local basis. Depending on your electorate if you were wanting to vote Green 1 and ALP 2 then you’d be best advised to not follow a Green how to vote card.

  54. Lefty E says:

    Thanks all *slurrrrp*. Its fucking depressing.

    Remind me why I always pref ALP again?

    Oh thats right, so much better on IR, wot with Workchoices lite, and never mind the ABCC, cos thats the sort of promise we keep: it was made to evil right wing shits.

    Or is it the superior treatment of asylum seekers in offshore camps with that heart-tick approved, delicious Convention taste? Your guarantee of a more humanitarian raised middle finger.

    The only other solution to all this is optional prefs. Make the bastards work for it.

    Peace. Later.

  55. Lefty E says:

    *Hi-fives Ute Man*

  56. Yaz says:

    I’m all for writing on the ballot paper, but I am also surprising myself more at being convinced to put the ALP last. To do so is to acknowledge that it is no longer good enough to vote for the least worst party, when the world’s biosphere is at stake.

    Should we be considered a rigorous policy of putting the incumbents last, until they get the message?

    Brave new world indeed.

  57. Joe says:

    Agree with LE and Ute Man, but I just don’t think I can vote the Libs ahead of Labor. Not yet. All power to the Greens, though– it was always going to be the case that as environmentalism becomes more important to politics that there would be these plateaus and that each moment of success is at the same time going to be a moment of failure, until the Greens have enough votes to not influence but demand policy change.

    Australia can’t afford to vote for the Libs at the moment. We’re in a resources boom and we need to be investing as much of that money as possible in public infrastructure, while we can. We just need to get through to those boneheads in the Labor party that climate change is the most important single issue at the moment and copping out on it is not an option. How about JG in stead of going on with all this posse-stuff let some of the other voices in the Party say something. Why can’t we have some public debate between the factions? Everyone knows the factions exist– well let’s here the scope of their debate, or are they all just talking about how many jobs CC is going to cost?

    People hanging out for the Liberal Party to evolve into something more sympathetic to environmental issues, I think are going to waiting until the end of time.

    Maybe in Australia we need some kind of electoral reform– not only to end the British Queen as the head of state bu to change away from the Westminster system to a more coalition based system, where minor parties have more direct say in policy making? I think we need to think outside the box on this and show some desperation.

  58. Joe says:

    *This is the imaginary We btw. Remember how successful One Nation was? What a shadow they have cast over Australian politics! I hope something good happens in the campaign soon, I’m starting to feel that ol’ disenfranchised-feeling again.

  59. Lefty E says:

    Who prefers these to “moving fwd”?

    ALP: for focus group approved science, and a more humanitarian raised middle finger.

    ALP: building consensus on the Titanic. Report due shortly.

  60. Ute Man says:

    Lefty E wrote:

    Remind me why I always pref ALP again?

    I have no idea any more either, other than the scare campaigns in NSW based around the Opus Dei right on the Liberals. I’m still scratching my head over exactly what the NSW ALP actually achieved in the decade plus of power they have had, it would have been more productive to have cilice wearing, robe clad monks posted at every intersection with morality meters rather than watching NSW deteriorate into a 3rd world dirt road while the ALP rewarded it’s developer sponsors with lucrative infrastructure deals for white elephants.

    Unfortunately, the above paragraph is what you can expect federally if you vote ALP now. It has to stop.

  61. Joe says:

    I’ll start work on the screen-print design straight away!

    (We could split the first one up into two. They’re both brilliant.)

  62. Joe says:

    Ute Man, you are 100% correct, but I remind you that the NSW Liberal Party were simply unelectable over the same time period. It’s almost necrophilian to even consider it.

    Love the description though:

    NSW deteriorate into a 3rd world dirt road while the ALP rewarded it’s developer sponsors with lucrative infrastructure deals for white elephants.

  63. Lefty E says:

    You like, Joe?

    How about “Please be patient while focus group approves iceberg report” as the subline to the 2nd?

    Ute man – Ive noticed that driving to Canberra from Melbourne.

    VIC: no problem
    NSW: old Greek man beating goats up narrow cobbled path
    ACT: no problem.

  64. akn says:


    We just need to get through to those boneheads in the Labor party that climate change is the most important single issue at the moment and copping out on it is not an option.

    Climate change and the environment will come to constitute the political and social horizon this century in the same way that class constituted that horizon last century. Neither of the majors, arraigned as they are around the class politics of last century, have a clue how to deal with the issue. It is beyond managerialism. However, the class interests of last century remain as factors on the ground even as citizens constitute themselves into forces capable of addressing the issues. What we’ve seen so far, with Rudd’s sacking and Gillard’s elevation to PM, is the alignment of fractions of labour with a fraction of capital. In short, it is the alignment of elements of the predominantly male working class with big dirt and coal in particular. An unfortunate development but that is how the battle lines have been drawn.

    Gillard has done what she was put there to do. She’s playing for time because capital is playing for time.

  65. Wombo says:

    Actually, Ute Man, I’d suggest a slight amendment to your suggested voting pattern. Basically (and here I’ll admit my interest, being a member of the Socialist Alliance), I’d argue voting as follows:

    1. Socialist Alliance – upper house and lower house (where possible), otherwise Greens (lower house).
    2. Greens (where Socialist Alliance is running)
    3. Ratbags – wacky single issue parties of your choice (etc sex party for their internet policies) in order of entertainment value.
    4. ALP – need to come above the Libs. I think the ALP machine sucks big-time, but – gormless soulless hacks they may be, but they’re not the loonies of the Coalition.
    5. SEP – “socialist” but will be giving one third of their preferences to the Libs “coz all 3 major parties are boorjwah and the Socialist Alliance are agents of the ALP”
    6. Liberal/ National/ Liberalnational
    7. All the far right, scary, creepy, religious or libertarian candidates.

    The reasoning is basically this: Socialist Alliance currently has about as much chance of winning as I do of visiting Titan for a holiday this summer, but a strongish vote to the left of the Greens at #1 sends a message to the more (economically and socially) conservative parts of the Green machine, and strengthens the hand of the left. (Many left Greens I know not only argue this case, but have also admitted that this is how they vote, for tactical reasons).

    Of course, another good reason is that Socialist Alliance policy on climate change is probably the best of the lot (but then, as you well know, I’m biased). Don’t believe me? (Gratuitous plug):

  66. Ute Man says:

    I dunno Joe – I’m getting all nostalgic for Debnam in his Liberal party issued swimwear – good times!

    I have to rather sheepishly admit I’ve been switching the telly over when the political ads come on, I didn’t know “moving forward” was the campaign slogan. It’s terrible, It’s like some kind of relentless propaganda thing you might have been told after being handed an empty rifle at Stalingrad, pointed west and good luck finding ammo in the carnage. Where’s John Singleton when you really need him?

  67. kuke says:

    “Carbon Price Now!” is essentially what Senator Milne said in response to Julia’s speech today on ABC News 24. The protestors who gate-crashed Gillard’s speech were chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go”… which isn’t bad.

    I like Fran’s 2 ideas above and Dan Cass was going all pragmatic today: “just build some big baseload solar stations”, so maybe you could rephrase to “Solar Now”.


    – “Hey, hey, polluters have to pay!” [a take on the above]

    – [Singing too-rall, li-oo-rall, li-ad-di-ty,
    Singing too-rall, li-oo-rall, li-ay,
    Singing too-rall, li-oo-rall, li-ad-di-ty]
    And polluters will have to pay

    – Shut me coal-station down, sport
    Shut me coal-station down…

    And I wonder if one could reclaim the slogan “Which side are you on?” from the Kentucky coal miners?

  68. Ute Man says:

    Lefty E wrote:

    Ute man – Ive noticed that driving to Canberra from Melbourne.

    It’s outright embarrassing Lefty E. The default NSW slogan used to be “at least it’s not Bendigo”. Now? Even in Bendigo they say “at least it’s not Goulburn”.

    Disgraceful if you ask me.

  69. james mcdonough says:

    Re the Uteman vote above :
    yes, except that (3) is a subset of (5) and (2a) has always been my favorite part of (2).
    Also, put a photo of Howard on your fridge. It will help.

  70. Thomas Paine says:

    Yes it seems Gillard in having Rudd shelve the ETS and her own capitulation of CC, to the extent she wants to build a community consensus, is performing her function of looking after union/big miners and energy/coal.

    Her solution is to take us all the way back to square one. Do we have to go through the process of debating if CC is real, man made and so forth?

    Labor is now taking a considerable step to the right which will in the end make it difficult to distinguish between Labor and Liberal in a very short few years.

    In the US there is considerable disenchantment with old politics and people are beginning to see the Democrats and Republicans as pretty much the same beasts, all beholden and look after their own interests and those of business over and above the interests of those that elect them.

    With Labor and Liberal we may as well talk about different shades of Liberal Party. In fact if Turnbull was to lead the Liberals would they be more Labor than the present Labor group?

    There is not much danger in the Liberal Party coming to power in that they won’t have control of the Senate. Fielding will be gone and no way a Xenaphon would support a Workchoices type bill if he had the balance, which he wont.

    Gillard is not going to be much different from Howard on Asylum Seekers including requisite dog whistling to the right quarters as required. It appears to me that she doesn’t accept CC as man made or something we can/should do something on in Australia (as advised by the coal industry maybe).

    One is left hoping that Rudd and his parliamentary supporters form a break away group, Turnbull do the same and we end up the ‘major’ parties having to form a coalition government that may have to serve the interests of the people/planet more.

  71. Joe says:

    LE, more than like, I think tbh they’re great. I’d get a real kick of wearing something like that! You could even sell ’em through this website!

  72. hannah's dad says:

    Some numbers.

    [From Possum’s sidebar]

    NSW ……. 11.9%
    Vic ……. 14.7%
    Qld ……. 10.0%
    WA ……. 14.6%
    SA ……. 12.8%
    Tas ……. lots

    That is how the Greens were polling at the end of June.
    They have improved overall since then.
    [The gods only know what the numbers will be Aug 21].

    The magic number is 14.4%.
    That is the quota for a senate seat.

    Here is my point.

    IF the Greens can improve this election and next to the point where they can elect their senators by gaining a quota in their own right [see how close they are?] without NEEDING the preferences of the ALP in the senate, then they can withdraw their preferences to the ALP in the House of Reps..
    Or at least put a premium price on those second prefs.

    Different ball game then.

    Gotta get the Greens to have BOP to put some ethical pressure on.
    Oh and do something about the media also.

    Cheer up folks, its only the future of my grandkids we’re worried about.

  73. Joe says:

    Thomas Paine, agree with you up to this point, and I don’t know Gillard’s history on this issue, so could be wrong:

    t appears to me that [the greater Bilby] (Welsh rhyming slang) doesn’t accept CC as man made or something we can/should do something on in Australia

    I think like Rudd, she’s just shirking the argument. Doesn’t trust in politics ability to convince people, if convincing them means opposing powerful business interests/ resources. She prefers to inhabit a space of un-Real politik, where as you say they can just endlessly and theatrically trade the same old cliche blows (aka. Kabuki).

    Rudd and Turnbull together. Wow, that’d really throw a spanner in the works. I can imagine the media howl– they’d be screaming that this meant an end to democracy!

  74. Jacques de Molay says:

    “Instead of wbb’s suggestion, I would prefer everybody as disenchanted as me to vote:

    1. Green (upper and lower house)
    2. Ratbags – wacky single issue parties of your choice (etc sex party for their internet policies) in order of entertainment value.
    2a. Communists and socialists. (actually, they are a subset of 2 but no matter)
    3. Liberal
    4. ALP
    5. All the far right, scary, creepy, religious or libertarian candidates.

    Can’t believe it myself after 24 years of voting ALP but I’m officially out. Possibly for good.”

    That is exactly how I’ll be voting next month. I bit the bullet and preferenced the Libs ahead of Labor for the first time at the recent SA election due to how morally & ethically bankrupt SA Labor are and while I started to twitch when at the voting booth I stayed strong.

    I’ve had a gutful of Labor moving further and further to the Right combined with the contempt they show to the Left. Some Labor hack on Sky last night was giving it to Jane Caro about her annoyance with Labor over the climate change stuff and her declaration that she’d be voting for the Greens this time, he basically said so what most of those Greens votes will be coming back to us anyway.

    If people who vote Greens don’t start making a stand this will just go on and on. That’s why Labor have lost my vote and I’ll be voting Greens and then preferencing the Libs ahead of Labor. Only way they’ll ever learn.

    1. Greens (upper & lower)
    2. Independents, Democrats etc
    6. Liberal
    7. Labor
    8. Family First

  75. mbahnisch says:

    @hannah’s dad, those figures on Possum’s sidebar are for The Greens’ vote in the HoR. The Senate vote is usually greater.

  76. mbahnisch says:

    Qualitative sample of 1666 voters – 63% opposed to a Citizens Assembly.

  77. Tyro Rex says:

    Actually to call the ‘citizens assembly’ parliament is conceptualy incorrect: the closest thing we have to a citizens assembly (comitia curiata / comitia tributa / comitia centuriata / concilium plebis) is the House of Representatives. The Senate is the state’s house (or the patricians house), and I believe the citizens assembly has already voted for and passed – three times – a CPRS.

  78. senexx says:

    Fran, we’re not talking about physics, we’re talking about politics. You need to understand the statement in context.

    Stuart, did you know the Garnaut review recommends the CPRS for a global arrangement and if deemed necessary a carbon tax on top of that as well?

    Stuart, I also did not mean the literal definition of small business which I believe is currently 20 employees or less (ABS), perhaps I should have said smaller businesses but then I’d be a pedant.

    I am more partial to a carbon tax than an ETS only because I understand it better. The issue with a carbon tax is the same one say the Democrats had with the GST.

    Now if you are pretty sure that the CPRS is designed such that low income earners get more compensation than the increased costs they would face, could you please point out where? And how the proposals by political parties satisfies this?

  79. mbahnisch says:

    Exactly, Tyro Rex.

    It’s very puzzling. Polls show majority support for action on climate change and an ETS. The GST never enjoyed that. There is more than enough basis on which to formulate policy. The government has not even asked for a mandate to do anything. If Gillard is serious about introducing an ETS, which I’m really starting to doubt, there’s going to be a very poor political basis on which to “move forward” in the next term.

    But it’s all of a piece. The election is being treated as an unfortunate necessity, and we the people are not being given any real indication of what the government intends to do in any area over the next term. All we get is short term rhetorical fixes to get Labor over the hump of voting day.

  80. Tyro Rex says:

    guys re: preference wars. you do know that when the votes are counted, basically this is what happens:

    1. All the first pref votes are counted.
    2. Then everything other than Lab/Lib is distributed into the Lab or Lib pile.

    (or in the maybe one or two electorates where it’s Green/Lab or various where its Ind/Lib it will be done between those two).

    So what really matters: 1. who you put at one. and 2. between Lab and Lib, who you put higher.

    I would argue that only a strong Green vote must surely encourage the ALP to implement a CPRS or something to replace it. Voting the Liberals in over the ALP will not prevent a reactionary government nor will it “reform” the ALP.

  81. mbahnisch says:

    I’m certainly hoping for a stronger than anticipated vote for The Greens to shock the ALP out of its complacency, and that’s the way I’ll be voting.

  82. Tyro Rex says:

    I’m certainly breaking party rules this election.

  83. john says:

    all you green supporters should have a good look at what your green senators voted against in the senate At the very least we would have made a start on the problem,remember you can only bring in a policy if in govt and the greens will never be in that position

  84. Hal9000 says:

    “If Gillard is serious about introducing an ETS, which I’m really starting to doubt”

    Not much doubt in my mind, Mark. She was put there to stop it and that’s just what she’ll do. The Bligh government will be a model of climate activism by comparison.

    The interesting thing here is that the steeply rising costs of inaction – neatly set out in terms even a News Ltd journo could understand by Garnaut – have received little or no coverage or traction as the election progresses. You can be quite sure that’s an issue that won’t get a mention on Sunday night’s Great Debate, which will make the Nixon/Humphrey debate look meaty and information-rich by comparison.

  85. Fran Barlow says:

    It seems to me that we at LP and those more generally who are scandalsied at the ALP’s reckless hostility to action on climate change can spend the next four weeks feeling angrys and powerless or we can do something.

    In my opinion we need to provoke ALP or Liberal members to jump ship and break the consensus within the parties. Those at greatest prospect of doing this are surely those on margins of less than 5%.

    Over the next four weeks we ought to be identifying those who fit this description and letting them know that after the Greens, as see no important difference between the parties on this crucial issue, we intend to give both parties the same numeric preference, effectively spoiling our ballots. We can be induced to change that if the member publicly declares before the election that he or she will campaign for the inclusion of a serious interim price on carbon (at least $20 per tonne applied universally) in the 2011-12 budget. They must publish this in an authorised campaign leaflet not later than 14 August 2010. If they do so, we will circulate tghis fact amongst our peers and within the blogosphere under a title called “Friends of Action on Climate Change”.

    We need to email them, phone them and slip letters under their electorate doors explaining no more than this (no long defences of the action — more letter with less in them is better).

    We could of course accept the following as satisfying the above demand:

    1: Abolition of all subsidies for use of fossil fuels (e.g. LPG conversion rebate, diesel fuel rebate)
    2. Abolition of tax deductibility of dirty energy sources

    as both of these would amply satisfy the $20 per tonne of CO2 price.

    What about if folks?

    Note: I realise not all of you have the stomach to spoil your ballots. What you do in practice on August 21 is of coruse a matter for you. Bear in mind the following though:

    In any seat where the Liberal secures more primaries than the Green but fewer than the ALP candidate, your preference will assist Tony Abbott. In any electorate where the Green secures more primaries than the Liberal but fewer than the ALP, unless Liberal or other preferences put the Green in front, the Green won’t win, nor can preferences to the ALP help the ALP defeat the Liberal. So where you send your preferences is purely symbolic. They will be in practice useless to either of the major parties. You might want to reflect on what sort of symbol you want to send.

    I’m in Bennelong and the Green will have zero chance of finishing ahead of the Liberal (John Alexander).

  86. John Michelmore says:

    Maybe Julia now understands that a carbon tax will not control the climate.
    While its a good idea to control pollution, rampant consumerism and outright greed; whomever you vote for, and whether they introduce a carbon tax, will not control the world climate.

  87. Lefty E says:

    Look, sadly, forcing the ALP into actually taking a stance by preferencing Libs – is probably the only thing they’ll listen to.

    OR: We can save them the embarrassment (and possible electoral loss) of that if we make a concerted push for QLD-style optional preferences at Federal level.

    So long as Green punters are forced to pref ALP the latter can safely sit around doing bugger all, like Julia is. If they dont agree to it – I say we pref the Libs outright.

    I dont think the ALP has left Green voters any other option.

    And let’s abolish lodged ticket voting in the senate while we’re at it. Slyly encouraging punters to allow their vote to be directed – by unelected party hacks – under the ruse of “convenience” is the most undemocratic feature of our electoral system. Its a national embarassment.

    Optional prefs all round!!
    As many or as few as you like,
    As long as it has a one,
    and is in numerical order if it has more,
    you can stop whenever you like – in both houses.

    What could be “easier” than that for punters?

    It would also cure a lot of our system’s political ills: make em earn a pref, not inherit it by birth.


  88. akn says:

    The Sunday prior to the election is the annual Walk Against Warming. Do it with everyone you know.

  89. tigtog says:

    Look, sadly, forcing the ALP into actually taking a stance by preferencing Libs – is probably the only thing they’ll listen to.

    Astonishing. Since they avoided a DD months ago when they had a perfectly good trigger purely in order to avoid the Greens getting an easier run at Senate seats on the half-quota, it seems that simply giving the Greens a honking great footprint in the Senate and a few HoR seats to boot should send them enough of a signal. There’s no need to punish the country as a whole by pushing Abbott over the line, surely.

  90. Fran Barlow says:

    I absolutely agree, Lefty E, that competely optional preferences would be a modest step forward. Right now, spoiling my ballot is the lesser evil, so I’d welcome that.

    There are however, no circumstances in which I will directly help elect a Liberal government. If one gets elected, I will blame those that cast their preferences in favour of Coalition/Liberals for all that occurs under their rule*. Indeed, I will blame those that cast preferences for the Coalition/Liberals* for claims by the ALP that the high flow of preferences to Liberals indicates want of support for a carbon price, for justice to asylum seekers, mining thug rule and occupation of Afghanistan.

    Personally, I don’t agree that the choice should be limited to helping John Alexander beat Maxine McKew or the reverse. If the neither of the above option is in practice a none of the above option*, that is the lesser evil, and I am bound to follow it.

    *subject to my proposed deal above about declaring for a carbon price

  91. Lefty E says:

    Tigtog, how could a flow of prefs to the Libs *from the Greens* indicate “want of support for a carbon price, for justice to asylum seekers, mining thug rule and occupation of Afghanistan.”?

    Bear in mind this would an open policy – a pressure point created entirely by the major parties’ electoral system that makes us vote for them when we dont want to.

    But it may prove necessary.

    Hence my optional prefs peace offering. I agree it could get a bit ugly. But you know what, so will rising sea levels.

    Im afraid the threat of Liberal govt doesn’t scare me as much – especially when this ALP is so close to them on most issues. Im over it – the love is gone.

  92. Lefty E says:

    Anf of course, more obviously – prefs to ALP would always be given *if they fecking take a stance on climate change*.

    I think we now have to force them to pick a side. This is how to do it. Im seriously advocating this for 2013.

    By please, dont force us to do it. Do what the MAJORITY OF PUNTERS want and act on CC.

    I mean, hell – you cant even get the ALP to be electoral pragmatists these days.

  93. tigtog says:

    Lefty E,

    Tigtog, how could a flow of prefs to the Libs *from the Greens* indicate “want of support for a carbon price, for justice to asylum seekers, mining thug rule and occupation of Afghanistan.”?

    You’re quoting Fran there, not me.

  94. Ken Lovell says:

    Yes, stripped of all the ‘you’ll be forced to go to mass and abortions will be made illegal’ nonsense, which is just the ALP equivalent of union bosses turning off the lights in the corner shop, can someone remind me what awful things Abbott will do that Labor won’t, given Green balance of power in the Senate which everyone seems to take as read?

    The thing I found most repugnant about Howard’s mob was their craven obeisance to George W Bush and his wars of aggression. The ALP government hasn’t condemned it; in fact it’s enthusiastically joined in the indefinite occupation of Afghanistan. The other really offensive thing about Howard was his divisiveness; Labor has not only continued most of his practices but in the case of income management for welfare recipients, extended them.

    So will a few of the ZOMG ABBOTT WOULD BE SOOOO BAD HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK OF LETTING HIM WIN???? brigade explain exactly what they are scared of?

  95. Ute Man says:

    Ken is right – and I’d go further and suggest Fielding and Conroy have done things that are arguably worse than anything Abbott has achieved.

  96. Bernice says:

    RW commentators are already wailing that a Greens BOP will see the ALP pushed to adopt an evil left wing agenda. If only this were true. However I have been evilly wondering about something much more machavellian than writing on a ballot paper (which has to have AEC nod of approval?)

    A Greens BOP is likely; not a given but highly likely. Let it be pushed, promoted, supported.

    On two conditions – that the Greens are able to be involved with the elected government to set a price for carbon with applying mechanism before the next Fed election. Second condition – that the Greens will have a clear mandate to block in the Senate any reintroduction of Workchoices, and any legislative attempts to undermine the social wage.

    The kicker is switching support to the Coalition in the lower house- clear and unambiguously this is a rejection of the ALP’s stance on climate change. The failure of a coalition led govt to meet the introduction deadline will see all support withdrawn at the following Fed election. Can we create a political culture where the one term govt is a real threat utilised by the electorate? I appreciate that the urban fringe swinging voter is a much more important player than a bunch of lefty ratbags gathered round a blog, but frankly I’m not only running out of ideas but running out of hope that we can politically get our arses into gear on the issue of cc before the window of opportuntity we have is slammed shut.

  97. Hal9000 says:

    “So will a few of the ZOMG ABBOTT WOULD BE SOOOO BAD HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK OF LETTING HIM WIN???? brigade explain exactly what they are scared of?”

    In a word, Ken, unemployment. Abbott is promising a highly contractionary fiscal program under which another generation will be sacrificed on the altar of the church of economic fundamentalism. Gillard is aiming at a soft landing, while Abbott & Co don’t bother to hide how horny economic sado-masochism makes them feel.

    But that’s about it.

  98. Hal9000 says:

    But back on the topic de jour… did anyone else notice how Gillard in her inaugural presser brought up the topic of climate change by saying ‘I believe in climate change’. At the time I thought it was a slip of the tongue, but now I realise it was a policy commitment to help bring climate change about.

  99. Fran Barlow says:

    Maybe so HAL9000 but that risk too, would be the lesser evil, in part because they would have proved to those silly enough to vote for them that in practice, their solidarity with mining thug rule and ignorant Reagan-Thatcher cultural shibbolethscost jobs rather than protecting them. A profound recessiuon in Australia would buy us some time on emissions too, and being able to blame the Liberals for it, after they swaore that a carbon price would produce that result would be very destructive.

    It would mean them being routed next time around in favour of an explicitly left-of-centre government that would act on climate change and on retooling the economy.

    I can’t and won’t endorse that course, but if others do, I can say with a clear conscience to those who did — well you voted for it.

  100. su says:

    Here’s another question: Under Rudd, Labor was not going to introduce another ETS until 2013, so the timetable seems to be about the same, foolish Citizens Assemblies or not, so why are people no longer prepared to preference Labor?

    The benefit of incumbency would commit us to two terms of Liberal rule so that would delay any price on carbon until 2017 at least. I suggest that the way to indicate your displeasure on climate inaction is to urge that government to commit to an interim tax at the very least, not to collaborate with the Libs to delay action further. Abbott has as minister for Health shown his preparedness to take action to limit the reproductive rights of women. That is a small thing for you Ken Lovell, but fortunately Australian women have not taken leave of their senses and he is polling very badly with women.

  101. Fran Barlow says:

    Su said:

    The benefit of incumbency would commit us to two terms of Liberal rule so that would delay any price on carbon until 2017 at least.

    Please explain the arrant contextual absurdity of such a claim, focusing on the highlighted portion.

  102. su says:

    Single term governments are exceptionally rare, so for would, read “could”. I was responding to the “what would be so terrible about handing the Libs government” hypothetical.

  103. Fran Barlow says:

    Yes Su, but the bulk of your claim is subject to counter-factual estoppel, since the only way we could have a Liberal government would be to eject a first term ALP government. Having created the immediate precedent, the previous rarity of the event would be academic — the same constituency would have jumped ship.

    It would also have come about as a result of disaffection amongst left-of-centre voters with the willingness of the ALP to pursue a right-of-centre program little contrasted from that of the Liberals. The Coalition would also have authored an unpopular program, chastening its rightwing cultural base with real structural pain.

  104. Fine says:

    Yes, I’m absolutely thrilled to see progressive men willing to throw women under the bus by advocating a vote for Abbott..

    As Su pointed out Rudd wasn’t going to do anything until 2013. Apparently that wasn’t too bad. But OMG, Gillard proposing waiting is a completely different kettle of poissons.

    Maybe if Labor, including Gillard, hadn’t so comprehensively stuffed the whole thing up in their first term we wouldn’t be seeing this. But Labor chose to negotiate a CPRS which was useless, wouldn’t deal with the Greens and then just abandoned the whole idea.

    As for the 75% support, I wonder how deep, or shallow it actually is? Something polls don’t measure. I bet Abbott could get up a wonderful scare campaign on the proverbial Great Big New Tax. In fact, Abbott is still trying to get that argument up.

    But let’s not deal with nuance, or political reality. Let’s just shriek about the red-headed witch.

  105. Thomas Paine says:

    I don’t why people think Gillard has any intention to have a price on carbon. In fact I would think it obvious that it is her intention to avoid this and go for some cop out ‘solution’.

    I doubt there would be much difference between a Liberal and Labor governments given lack of control of the Senate for both of them.

    Gillard is to the right of Rudd and seems to be a lot like Howard. It is interesting that Turnbull may actually be to the left of Gillard. A Turnbull government would be a lot like a Rudd government I would imagine.

    An Abbott government would be frozen except for financial bills which would be amended in any case. No unwanted IR reform would get through if he were silly enough to try that. There is no danger or significant difference between a Gillard or Liberal govt. There would be significant long term benefits however in a Labor defeat.

    You can see on some blogs that Labor supporters are happy to support any policy the hero of the day proposes, no matter what. This is a concern as Gillard could lead them all over to the right and they would be happy. And the centre of Australian politics moved.

    In no way does Gillard seem to be a ‘Labor’ leader.

  106. TerjeP says:

    An interesting idea. I think I’ll write “NUCLEAR NOW” on my ballot.

    OT – I’m standing in the seat of Bennelong as a candidate for the LDP. I’d appreciate your vote if you live in the area.

  107. Paul Burns says:

    So we vote for the Greens so they have BOP in the Senate. (A course of action I utterly agree with.)
    Has it occurred to anyone that, assuming Labor wins the election (which seems likely) and the Greens have BOP in the Senate (which also seems likely) there is a possibility that Labor might join with the Coalition to vote down any Green changes to CC, RSPT or whatever its called now, and towards a more compassionate treatment of asylum seekers. Perhaps I’m overly cynical, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility.

  108. Fine says:

    “Yes it seems Gillard in having Rudd shelve the ETS…”

    And this really takes the cake. It was the evil witch who made it happen. Poor Kevin was forced to capitulate… I’d laugh if I wasn’t so furious about the re-writing of history going on here.

  109. mbahnisch says:

    Fine, it’s not a rewriting of history.

    The ultimate decision was Rudd’s but it’s very clear that Gillard was the strongest proponent of abandoning the ETS in the government, with Swan a close second, over the vehement opposition of Tanner and Wong.

    It’s also just become evident that Rudd wanted to adopt The Greens’ position on an interim carbon price in the last couple of months, and Gillard talked him out of it.

    I’ll have more on that soon.

    It is just not the case that there was no government before Julia Gillard, and that she’s somehow absolved of responsibility for what she advocated within government. I’ve also argued that this notion that Rudd did not let any ministers run their own departments, or consult with Gillard, Tanner and Swan is a complete myth:

    As far as I am concerned, Gillard’s record on climate change is an appalling one, and even if she were only to be judged on the risible announcement of yesterday, that would still hold true.

  110. akn says:

    Fine: your position is the increasingly quaint one of “my gender right or wrong” which is a long way from critical appraisal of policy content. You depict a critical attitude towards Gillard as somehow buying into an anti-female or anti-feminist agenda. Yours is the politics of jealousy, an infantile disorder, the underlying logic of which is along the lines of “So, if it is ok for men to be lying, cheating rats and backsliders then why is it not ok for women to be the same?”. This of course is unanswerable because your initial assumption posits that there is general acceptance of the initial proposition that it is ok for men to be lying and cheating rats etc.

    For the record I’ll be voting Greens 1 and ALP 2 because I’ll never be mug enough to vote for the Libs no matter how much the stench of corruption from the right of the ALP makes me want to throw up; this is because what the broad left sees as ALP corruption and compromised politics is just business as usual for the Libs. If Gillard flunks the election it’ll be neither here nor there to me except that the ALP is out of office. For you, however, it will clearly be a major setback that the first female PM is also the shortest term PM. That’s the problem with barracking for the reproductive difference instead of the person.

  111. Fine says:

    I’m truly gobsmacked. If you see, I wrote earlier that it was Labor’s fault, including Gillard, that they’ve stuffed climate change up so spectacularly. I’m certainly not defending Gillard’s record.

    But this idea that it’s Gillard’s fault that Rudd was weak on climate change – as I said I’m gobsmacked. Rudd apparently had no agency of his own. He was talked into it. The Wicked Witch made him do it. Really?

    I heard Cheryl Kernot argue yesterday that why we were seeing the Gillard hate fest emanating from some people was because she broke the rules women are supposed to adhere to in that she took power, instead of waiting gracefully on the sidelines until it was bestowed on her by male patrons. Kernot is certainly someone who knows about power, politics and gender relations. I’m starting to think there might be some currency in this idea and it’s making me very sad to see.

    I don’t think it’s coincidental that we’re seeing a large gender gap opening in the polls. Far more women support Gillard. Far more women can see, and care about what a threat Abbott is to women. It’s also interesting to me that so many other regular female contributors also feel disturbed about what’s going on here. The gender gap is very real.

  112. Fine says:

    Yes, akn and women are very often described as ‘jealous’ and ‘infantile’. So what you’ve written is no surprise.

    BTW, I have no problem with people voting Green and preferencing Labor. It’s the idea of preferencing Abbott I find repugnant.

  113. Fran Barlow says:

    As I’m voting informal Terje, you can have my preference just above the ALP and Liberals.

  114. su says:

    The ultimate decision was Rudd’s but it’s very clear that Gillard was the strongest proponent of abandoning the ETS in the government, with Swan a close second.

    With respect Mark, that is a rewriting of history. On June 5th Lenore Taylor wrote:

    Treasurer Wayne Swan argued that since a delay was inevitable the government had to be clear about it, because it had big ramifications for the budget…
    In the end Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed with Swan. Tanner, according to sources, did not. Rudd remained torn but finally agreed it should be removed from the budget, a decision that meant it was deferred for at least another three years.

  115. mbahnisch says:

    @su, that’s contradicted by Hartcher and Stuart.

    The point’s been made before that none of this can be known for certain, and in either event, Gillard is on what I regard as the wrong side of this issue, whether or not the impetus first came from her or Swan.

  116. Fran Barlow says:

    That’s interesting Mark but I still don’t get why he simply didn’t implement Garnaut in July 2009, or later with the ICP, putting it to cabinet and daring them to roll him. If he had been rolled, he could at least have retained his standing on the issue.


    For pity’s sake, give it a rest. I don’t accept that Gillard had any hold over Rudd — they are both as responsible for this mess, but your proposition that attacks on Gillard are founded in some sort of mainfest or incipient misogyny sounds utterly implausible.

  117. mbahnisch says:


    the Gillard hate fest

    This has been discussed before on Kim’s thread about gender at the main site, but I think it’s important to observe that there are very legitimate criticisms of Gillard and her policy position to be made, which are not part of a “hate fest”.

    I do thoroughly agree with you that it’s wrong to preference the Liberals over Labor, though I also would like to endorse Lefty E’s position that optional preferential would be the best way of ensuring that the ALP doesn’t take progressive voters for granted.

    I am sure that in Queensland at the next election a very large number of former Labor supporters will be voting only for The Greens. And recall that in Queensland we have a Labor government which has an absolutely shameful record on access to termination of pregnancy, the abolition of separate agencies for women and Indigenous people, privatisation, etc, etc.

    It’s getting harder and harder to make the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument stick at state level.

    I do agree with Hal9000, though, about the likelihood of a very adverse economic impact from the Coalition’s fetish for budget cuts. And I agree that Abbott’s approach to many issues, including ones of choice, is loathsome.

  118. su says:

    BTW Fran, the historical precedent is Whitlam’s one term followed by Fraser’s three but I can see your point.

  119. Ken Lovell says:

    Fine this is the historical record:

    1. PM number 1 was roundly condemned for deferring – read abandoning – effective action on climate change;
    2. PM 1 was replaced by PM 2 on the grounds that the government had ‘lost its way’ and was ‘directionless’;
    3. PM 2 has released several deeply flawed and ill-thought out positions, the most recent a ridiculous proposal to reopen the whole argument about climate change as if the last five years had never happened, and defer – read abandon – any effective action;
    4. PM 2 is consequently being flayed for incompetence and hypocrisy.

    Please note that these points are valid regardless of the gender of PMs 1 and 2.

  120. akn says:

    Kernot let Evans make a mug of her. Meg Lees ratted us on the GST. From my perspective the policy failure of the latter is the far more significant event. My regret over Rudd’s absence is not the loss of a set of genitals but the lost opportunity, mostly down to his own political ineptitude, to drive the resources tax to the full 40%. Gillard has been put in by very shadowy forces to protect capital and the overwhelmingly male blue collar workforce that is dependent on mining and coal in particular. Gendered analysis of current issues needs to go beyond who occupies the top job.

  121. carbonsink says:

    Given the amount of carbon that leaves our shores unburnt, how about:

    “Keep the coal in the ground”

    A price on carbon in Australia will make no difference to our coal exports, and it doesn’t matter where the coal is burnt, the carbon ends up in the same atmosphere.

    I read Hartcher’s piece on the development of Gillard’s climate “policy” this morning. I am now even more unimpressed with Ms Gillard than I was before.

    What an awful choice we have. Plain bad or unspeakably dreadful. The Greens may not be perfect, but at least they have some half-decent policies.

    Apart from seeing the Greens gain the balance of power, this is probably the least important election in a generation.

  122. Fran Barlow says:

    Whitlam was re-elected at the expense of Billy Sneddon in 1974. It was a DD election and he used the joint-sitting provisions to push through reforms blocked by the senate.

    So not a first term government … though one with the courage of its convictions and that despite being out of power for 23 rather than 12 years and having been utterly robbed in 1954, 1961 and 1969.

    Credit where it was due. Whitlam was not Cairns, but he was nevertheless a man with enduring commitment to policy. He still remains my favourite ALP leader, Timor L’Este notwithstanhding.

  123. mbahnisch says:

    @su, I think Fran’s point is that if the ALP were to lose this election after one term, the precedent that no one term government has lost since 1931 would be shattered.

    I also think that long term governments are becoming increasingly unlikely for a whole range of reasons – and this election is demonstrating some of them in spades.

    If Labor is re-elected (and I think it’s still an if), I would be very surprised to see another win in 2013, particularly since nothing is really being put to the people which will ensure they have some popular backing behind anything they might want to do which goes beyond the risible ‘fixes’ and symbolic giveaways that are now on offer. If, indeed, the ALP does still want to do anything other than retain office at all costs (cf. Queensland and NSW, and, arguably SA)

  124. Chris says:

    Just look at Gillard’s short record as PM so far:

    – ruled out gay marriage (no improvement)
    – proposed a harsher asylum seeker policy than Rudd
    – proposed a significantly weaker climate change policy than Rudd
    – started playing games again with FOI requests (internet filter)

    So its not surprising that I and others are coming to the conclusion that Gillard is worse than Rudd.

    I had thought for the last couple of years that lack of will by Rudd was the reason behind his asylum seeker and climate change policies (among others). Its pretty clear now that what did get done was in spite of the broader ALP parliamentarians not because of them.

    Re: preferencing the libs first – I’ll probably be doing it anyway because of the internet filter – Abbott *might* introduce one, but Gillard *will* introduce one and if Abbott supports it in opposition we’ll get one anyway as the Greens won’t be able to block it. But I think its quite a reasonable thing to do in safe ALP seats that won’t risk an ALP government. And I’ll preference the libs in the belief that we’re going to get an ALP government anyway. If the libs somehow do manage to get elected, they’ll face an ALP/Greens controlled senate which should keep them vaguely sensible.

  125. Fine says:

    Mark I agree that there are very real criticisms of Gillard to made over policy. But we live in a patriarchy and it’s completely legitimate to observe that the patriarchy is also going to frame, at least in part, people’s responses to Gillard. To pretend otherwise would be disingenuous.

    What I’m seeing here, and I’m not alone, is a particularly virulent response to Gillard, which isn’t to been seen when it comes to Rudd’s many policy failures. To write that Gillard made Rudd abandon an ETS is an interpretation of recent history that fits with this. It’s not Rudd’s fault. It’s Gillard’s fault. I’d suggest it’s the fault of senior figures with in Labor, including Rudd, Gillard and Swan who totally ballsed this up. It seems that Tanner was the only good guy in the room on this occasion and he’s quitting.

  126. su says:

    Yes fair enough Mark and Fran. If you are talking about Hartcher’s most recent article, the one linked above, he is almost silent on Swan’s role. I don’t know whether his account is correct but it certainly rewrites the version of events that was current prior to June 24.

    Timor L’Este notwithstanhding.

    And his stance on refugees from Vietnam in 1975 and his description of them, an epithet I will not repeat. I doubt anyone will be so indulgent of Gillard’s flaws.

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