Happy new year: day two

Light holiday reading:

• “Carlton’s lone classical liberal”, Andrew Norton, weighs in on Liberal hyperbole over third party political campaigns. New Mayo MP Jamie Briggs reckons these to be a “cancer in our democracy” due to the efforts of GetUp! and the ACTU at the last election. Briggs argues that “Australians are entitled to know who is behind the campaigns, how much is being spent and where the money is coming from”, evidently having failed to notice that such groups are indeed required to provide annual disclosure of receipts, expenditure and debts. However, in an interesting discussion at Larvatus Prodeo, Norton also argues that lowering the donation disclosure threshold from $10,000 to $1000 (as proposed by a bill currently before a Senate committee due to report on June 30) could theoretically catch independent political blogs in a “massive compliance net” thanks to a loose definition of “persons or organisations expressing views by any means on candidates or election issues”. Elsewhere, The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen tugs at the heart strings by complaining the disclosure amendments are designed to cut donations to the Liberal Party (from which you can readily infer why the Howard government used its Senate majority to jack the threshold up from $1500 to $10,000 in the first place). More substantially, she argues that “the nature of third-party campaigns in Australia is such that if we ban or cap donations (except by individuals) and allow third-party campaigns by unions to continue unabated, the political field is skewed against one side: the conservatives” – particularly in light of government plans to scrap tax deductibility of party donations while maintaining it for union dues and levies.

• “Dotcom millionaire” Evan Thornley has made himself popular in Labor circles by pulling the plug on his political career on the eve of his anticipated promotion to the Victorian state cabinet. The talk around Thornley was that he viewed his state political career as a stepping stone to federal politics via Simon Crean’s seat of Hotham, beyond which his ambitions were apparently without limit. His entirely unheralded decision to “pursue opportunities outside of political life” has inevitably fuelled all manner of speculation, most of it involving his financial wellbeing. It has also created a vacancy for his upper house seat for the Southern Metropolitan region. The Age reports that the new upper house system instituted at the last election “has created an anomaly for Labor, as party rules do not specify how preselection for an upper house vacancy should be conducted”:

Party sources said the anomoly was expected to be tackled by rule makers in May 2009 before preselections began in earnest for the 2010 election. But Mr Thornley’s shock departure – which sources from both major factions of Victorian Labor described as the most bizarre incident they had ever witnessed in politics – could force the anomaly to be dealt with sooner. While some within Labor believe the rules offer no guidance over preselection, others say the spirit of preselection processes in the lower house should also be adopted for the upper house. Under that scenario, Mr Thornley’s replacement in the Southern Metropolitan electorate would be decided 50:50 by a ballot of ALP branch members and a central selection panel. Many expect Labor’s national executive to ultimately choose his replacement but all agreed it was too early to speculate on the names of likely candidates.

A commenter at Andrew Landeryou’s VexNews writes:

The Left were promised Thornley’s spot but they agreed not to insist as Thornley was then non aligned. Thornley then joined Labor Unity. They left will claim they are entitled to fill Thornley’s vacancy. Labor Unity will most likely want it and there will be an internal facional brawl like Kororoit. Then Mr Dearricott’s non-aligned group will claim their right to the vacancy. A strong tip tonight is that (former Brimbank mayor) Natalie Suleyman is a favourite for the position.

Another hopeful is said to be Dick Gross, former Municipal Association of Victoria president and Port Phillip councillor defeated in recent elections in a “resident revolt over his support for the St Kilda triangle development”. There is also the question of the political future of Theo Theophanous, charged on Christmas Eve with rape. An end to Theophanous’s political career would create another upper house vacancy in Northern Metropolitan. In lieu of Evan Thornley, Theophanous’s position as Industry and Trade Minister has been filled by Martin Pakula, previously best known for his failed preselection bid against Simon Crean in Hotham ahead of the last federal election.

Michelle Grattan of The Age reports that the Victorian Liberals are “set to reluctantly give the Nationals the number two spot on a joint Senate ticket for the 2010 election”. This would continue an agreement initiated after the 1987 double dissolution election giving the Nationals the unwinnable fourth and safe second seats at alternating elections. The party’s seat in the Senate has been held since 1993 by Julian McGauran, who quit the party for the Liberals in January 2006. One possible explanation for the move was that he did not expect the Liberals would continue with the existing joint ticket arrangement, which as Grattan explains is widely opposed within the party. It had long been thought that the Nationals had been able to negotiate the joint ticket partly because the McGauran family helped delivered it preferences from the Democratic Labor Party, whom they had assisted in legal action to prevent its deregistration. The Nationals’ apparent success in keeping the arrangement going might suggest otherwise. However, another possibility is that McGauran thought his prospects of winning Liberal preselection less unlikely than those of keeping his place with the Nationals. McGauran had an uncomfortably narrow preselection win ahead of the 2004 election over Darren Chester, now the member for Gippsland, and his family’s clout might have been further weakened since by brother Peter’s departure from politics.

• Labor’s Mark Dreyfus, chairman of the House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, says he hopes the government will “soon” announce a non-binding plebiscite to test opinion on a republic before the federal election.

Robert Taylor of The West Australian has an interesting overview of the new entrants to the WA state parliament.

UPDATE (3/1/09): Malcolm Mackerras reviews the Queensland state redistribution and offers his prediction for the election to be held some time this year, namely an 11 seat Labor majority from an even split on two-party preferred.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

619 comments on “Happy new year: day two”

Comments Page 11 of 13
1 10 11 12 13
  1. Finns , I’m confused, I deleted Angry A and tried to use your flash hairdo as avatar but am still seeing my original fuzzy hair on my computer?

  2. Listening to ABC Radio this arvo they interviewed the Seven Network’s Washington Correspondent on the Howard accomodation thingy.

    Then it was the Fairfax Book Review bloke on the Cuba Docs of Hemmingway.

    I am getting a tad peeved at our ABC using commercial media “experts” for comments. 🙁

  3. Vera


    “hi Ron, I’m back , those Ronnettes are uncontrollable,tasted blood on G island and have turned feral.”

    Glad you ar back Vera and good health Yes Vera I did let th Ronnettes off th lease abit , but they just so loved demolishing those G Island elitists what could I do , but let them enjoy enjoy ……but in time they will follow your lead

    I saw your post on Ruddys influense in increasing Students learning Mandarin , a leader indeed.. th language Manda-rin ….could Manda-ron be next

  4. I do hope everyone has checked out FirstDogOnThe Moon’s latest offering apropos the Howards appropriating the Obamas residence, prior to acrually moving in to the White House? Apparently, folk in the U.S. are less than pleased and are recommending boycott of everything Australian. Are there any provisions, anywhere, for a previous P.M. to be stripped of their post P.M. gratuities? If not, why not? The man is a disgrace.

  5. acrually = actually.
    BTW, why do the people identifying as the Amigos on this site always think they are right? Do you think simply repeating things or simply backing each other up, with sometimes fairly puerile rubbish, is in any way informative?
    I’ve followed this for a fairly long period of time, and while sometimes there is information to be had which I can then go elsewhere to verify, a lot of the time people are simply making assertions.
    Surely, this lessens the usefulness of using William’s fine site to discuss politics?

  6. It says a lot about the decline and fall of Bush that the mainstream US media are attacking Howard as a proxy to attack Bush. Howard is less than an ant to these people, it is just his proximity to Bush that is drawing attention. Bush is as toxic as ebola at the moment.

  7. However, Michael, it is just really, really bad manners from both Bush and Howard. The analogy to ebola is right though.

  8. Harry
    Im surprised Glen isn’t weighing in on the debate about that upstart Howard!

    I mean howie of all people was about tradition, wasnt he?

  9. actually it’s worse than bad manners, Bush would have known that the Obama’s were entitled to Blair House at this time, he and Laura used it before his first term, it’s tradition the president elect stays in Blair House whilst awaiting the swearing in, most take it over in december or very early january, besides the American public putting up Howard they also have to pay not only for the Obama’s hotel stay, with the security taking over the floor above and underneath the Obama’s rooms, but as the hotel unlike Blair House is out of the White House security zone they also have to block off the surrounding streets and put up bollacks at a great inconvenience to the locals, theres a story going around that Howard was only invited to stay after Bush knocked back Obama, anyway ive been doing the round of the American blogs and they’re not happy little vegemites, i wont repeat what they have to say about Bush and Howard–go see for yourselves, i think the politest remark was something about a freeloading squatter.

  10. Obama hasnt done anything for America…Howard stuck by America during its darkest hours after September 11 and supported US foreign policy in the War on Terror and the sacrifice of both our militaries in their endevours in Iraq and Afghanistan whilst Obama has made just one trip to Iraq…Obama isnt the President yet and so he is like anybody else in America and he should wait his turn…if he doesnt like it he could go and live with the Bidens…

    Anyway who cares about whether the Obamas can live in Blair House it’s not news and it is frankly stupid to be even discussing it…Fmr PM Howard is going for one night big whoop!

  11. For gods sake Fulvio has Obama won any medals for his work for America no, Howard has and he deserves more respect for his acheivements than Obamas which is to win one election….

    Howard has become a model former PM unlike that grumpy old fart Keating.

  12. [Howard has become a model former PM unlike that grumpy old fart Keating.]
    LOL. Good one Glen. Now my turn. Did you hear the one about …..

  13. “Howard has become a model former PM ”

    Does that mean that after the medal ceremony, he is booked for a shoot for “victoria’s secret”

  14. Harry “Snapper” Organs

    ” BTW, why do the people identifying as the Amigos on this site always think they are right? ”

    Because we ar
    Furthermore I’ve notised you’ve never had th intellect to chalenge a subject position put , so whinging I suppose is a distant next best

  15. Getting a medal from the current Leader of the free world, a lame duck with nearly 80% of his fellow citizens wanting badly to see the back of him, is surely nothing to skite about. The poms are giving him a bit of a send off on the BBC site.

    [“And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it, and [Tony Blair] read it.”
    On the publication of the Baker-Hamilton Report, Washington DC, 7 December, 2006

    “All I can tell you is when the governor calls, I answer his phone.”
    San Diego, California, 25 October, 2007

    “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.”
    Washington DC, 12 May, 2008 ]


  16. Glen
    for a moment there I was going to award you the order of the flipperhead,
    but your 528 saved you!

    point of order-the amigo’s are oft between quiff and quim.

  17. Glen

    “Howard stuck by America during its darkest hours after September 11 and supported US foreign policy in the War on Terror”

    There is no ‘war’ Glen , there wwas a Bin ladin/alqueada group in Aghanistan that caused 9/11 that THEN was defeatable What Bush did was to detrail that concentration and debstabilise iraq by atttack unleasing not only groups in iraq upset at th satan on arab soil but strenghten ing Ben Ladin/Alqueada

    if anything , bush creatd a war on teror & made terorist groups stronger not weaker instead of remaining only in Aghanistan where there was wide World suport for th USA to capture th 9/11 perertators incl arab world …bush’s actons reversed that and th folish Howard followed suit FA blunder unbelievable

  18. Alls i know is with my new LCD tv tomorrow ill be able to watch the 2004 election tape/convert it to DVD in style and pretend Rudd isnt PM lol ahhh how much difference 5 years makes ah well lol!

    A swing to the ABC lol well maybe i ought to watch the 2007 election to sober me up…or perhaps reruns of Question Time with Cossie and Howie defending Workchoices lol that is always fun.

  19. Scorpio

    “Howard is not doing his “legacy” much good staying tied to this nong.”

    If howard was not “tied to that nong ” , what “legacy” would he hav

  20. I enjoy seeing the bitterness spew forth from Glen. It makes me want to re-live the 2007 federal election again and again and again 😀

  21. Gusface #542

    I only did that to demonsrtate you ar always between quiff and quim
    If you ar like Harry and cann’t put up intelectual points and instead whinge thats your lot

  22. Now now Ron
    go back and slowly reread my post @533.
    ps I like harry but biology prevents me from actually being like harry.

  23. Gusface now now gusface don’t now backpedal , but if your qiff and quim is a complement then its all yours patented , and as “biology prevents me from actually being like harry” that is not apparent fom coments

  24. Ron
    shakespeare among others first pedalled it

    ps Its a worser chinese curse/blessing than “may you live in interesting times”

    It’s up to you, how you take it!

  25. Gusface

    Shakespere and i hav shared interests including variants of “quiff and quim”

    Notwithstanding Harry mad a foolish statemetn that i quoted in #529 and then exposed its foolishness

    FACT is you deliberately at your choosing blundered in in 3529 in a matter nothing to do with you …clumsily Now now gusface do not complain retrospectively if as a result i’ve put you in harry’s position arguing eqivididi

  26. Ron
    This time really really slowly read post @533.
    And yes you are right and the sun king and lord chancellor amd the infaliible one blah de blah blah

    Changing subject
    has C-span or whatever its called started broadcasting yet!

  27. Gusface

    As you did not re read #529 slowly you faile to understand its absolutes , so your subsequent intrusion in #533 at your discretioon , in a matter between amigos and th foolish Harry with cuteness & now retrospective shakesperian interpretations
    ( variants of whicjh I was aware of ) is your issue I’m just highliting it

    interesting you concluded with “And yes you are right” , well that was th actual point oif #529 if you’s had read it slowly and carefuly

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 11 of 13
1 10 11 12 13