Third time lucky?

Nathan Rees’ 15 month premiership of New South Wales has come to an end following his 47-21 defeat in a party leadership vote by Heffron MP Kristina Keneally. Of course, what New South Wales needs is not a new Labor leader but an election and a change of government, and the fact that there is little prospect of this occurring until March 2011 raises questions about the state’s electoral and constitutional arrangements. Keneally becomes Australia’s fourth female premier, and the third to be granted the stewardship of a doomed Labor government. Rees has not said what he plans to do now: notwithstanding the current margin of 14.4 per cent, Labor would probably start the underdog in a by-election for his seat of Toongabbie.

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.

251 comments on “Third time lucky?”

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  1. Laocoon

    So I will stop consuming Carbon….. I do not remember eating drinking carbon

    Carbon is in the form of cook food, tv, electricity, trains etc

    How do you know what Carbon contant are in any of these, so I can reduce “my consumption of carbon”

  2. I actually think last night might end up being a bad night for the Liberals

    At this rate Labor will end up with about 15 seats in 2011 and the Liberals might control the upper house

    We know what happened the last time they had that

  3. Dovif

    Depends on your lifestyle as to how you would reduce your consumption of carbon. Some examples might include:

    – catching a train, instead of a driving
    – walking instead of driving
    – turning off lights more often
    – putting on a jumper than turning on the air-conditioner/heater
    – installing solar hot water heater
    etc etc etc

  4. Davif, do you actually want to debate the ETS, or just repeat stupid Barnaby Joyce slogans? An ETS is not a tax – a tax is compulsory government levy on income, goods or transactions. An ETS is a trading scheme. The government will be selling (initially most giving, for free) permits to emit carbon. If you don’t run an industry that emits carbon, you don’t have to buy any permits. The revenue from those sales, every dollor of it, will go to compensate those who will adversely affected by the increased price of carbon, mostly through the cost of electricity.

  5. Psepho

    It is a tax on consumption, at the start, the tax rate is 0 since carbon passes can be given out (Just wait for Tripoli, KKK, Obeid and Sartor) to get their portion

    When a ETS is needed to work, the tax rate will be increased

    Anyway you slice it, you can call it a scheme, a surcharge, an excise, it is a tax

    It will be very similar to the Fuel excise tax, when it is all said and done

  6. Dovif, you can’t just redefine the word tax to mean whatever you want it to mean. An ETS will certainly increase the cost of some goods for some people – it wouldn’t have any effect if it didn’t. It must create an economic disincentive to using carbon fuels. But that doesn’t make it a tax, which is a payment to the government.

  7. Definition of tax

    To tax (from the Latin taxo; “I estimate”, which in turn is from tang?; “I touch”) is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law.

    Which part of the ETS does not fit the definition of a tax, unless your argument is that GST is not a tax too

  8. Thanks for that definition, which proves my case. Where in the ETS is there any charge or levy by the government upon taxpayers? Nowhere. There are increased prices to be sure, caused by the increased cost of carbon fuels, but most taxpayers are compensated for these. The only people who have to pay the government anything are those who want to buy carbon permits. Buying a permit is not the same thing as being taxed.

    The GST is a tax levied on the sale of goods and services. That’s what the “T” stands for.

  9. Psephos 206 – just showed that OH and he reckons you’ve made it simple for him. He doesn’t think its been explained simply enough. Obviously, OH is not known for being a tragic, so the info’s been going in one ear and out the other without stopping for absorption!

  10. ABC online’s State Political Reporter Liz Foschia has written a column which concludes with a discussion of Keneally’s supposed “disadvantage” of her American origins and accent. I reckon that such matters have progressed greatly here in the last couple decades, but possessing the same “disadvantage” as Ms. Keneally for 30 years gives me cause for concern that Ms Foschia’s conclusion might not be so far off the mark. We shall see, as Sir Humphrey would say, in the fullness of time! 🙂

    [Her second biggest test will be to overcome the disadvantage of being perceived as an American interloper despite having an Australian mother, husband, children and citizenship.

    “I have an accent,” she rather redundantly told journalists in her first media conference as Premier.

    “Oh you noticed?” she coyly added.

    It is something the people of New South Wales will have to get used to over the next 15-months – or however long her Labor colleagues believe she still has what it takes to win the next election.]

  11. Under an ETS, emitters are required to purchase a permit for every tonne of carbon they emit. If the entity reduces its emissions below the threshold for liability under the scheme they do not pay.

    It is not a tax.

  12. [Why should an accent be a put off?]

    G B,
    Good question. A fair-minded bloke like you would never have such a response, but believe me, many Australians do.

    Fortunately, I reckon that this has diminished greatly since I migrated here. Back then, it was common to be told something like, “You’ve got the worst American accent”, instead of “You’ve got a strong American accent”. This is not a complaint, just an observation. I dig it here—–always have.

  13. [Why should an accent be a put off?]

    Given how many different accents the average Sydneysider hears in a day (ie, a lot) I am a little surprised that the accent is such a big deal.

    Part of this is Keneally setting up a strawman argument against herself, of course. “People don’t like me because of my accent. No-one reasonable could dislike someone because of her accent. You’re reasonable, aren’t you? Therefore you ought to like me.”

    Only problem with this logic is that there are plenty of reasons to be seceptical about her, which have nothing at all to do with her accent. Her accent’s not the problem at all.

  14. GB
    [That puppet stuff can only go on for so long then after that it becomes boring and trite.]
    But perfectly accurate. It will be burned into the long-term memory of every voter – especially when the puppet analogy was coined by Rees himself, and everyone already knows the power of Eddie and Joe. The right-wing of the party in NSW is like the Clarkists in the Libs – they’d generally rather keep their own power position than win an election.

  15. “Kristina Keneally will be judged on what she does.”

    True, but it’s the entire Labor government that faces the electorate and in toto it smells to high heaven.

  16. Whoops, wrong thread. On the DT petition for the Governor to dissolve Parliament early and whether it is sedition.

    I found this on how NSW could have an early election from George Williams (Anthony Mason Professor at the University of New South Wales and a visiting fellow at the ANU College of Law).

    The DT’s petition does not meet the criteria.

    [ There are very few exceptions that would allow an early election. One is that
    Governor Marie Bashir can call an early election if the Legislative Assembly, the
    lower house of the NSW Parliament, passes a noconfidence motion in the Rees
    Government or rejects a government budget Bill.
    This would require Labor members to vote against their own premier and party.
    Self-interest, if nothing else, dictates that this will not occur. The only other path
    to an early poll is a cryptic provision in the NSW constitution that says the
    Governor can dissolve Parliament ”in accordance with established constitutional
    conventions”. There are very few conventions that allow this.
    One is where a premier loses a vote of no confidence in the Legislative Assembly,
    a possibility already catered for. Another is where a government breaches a
    fundamental constitutional principle. Dismissal on this ground has happened only
    once in Australian history, when NSW Governor Sir Philip Game dismissed Labor
    Premier Jack Lang in 1932. It occurred in the midst of the Great Depression when
    Lang, contrary to federal law, stopped making interest payments on state debts. ]

    So it looks like Psephos is right and the DT’s is fomenting a petition which encourages an illegal action to depose an elected Government, which is the definition of sedition.

  17. As I said on the other thread, the acid test will be the ban on donations from developers. If she abandons Rees’s commitment on that, she will lose the support of many people currently prepared to give her a go, including me.

  18. There is no modern precedent for the Crown dismissing a government merely on the grounds that it’s unpopular, or even incompetent (which is a matter of opinion). Game dismissed Lang on the grounds that he was acting illegally, and Kerr dismissed Whitlam on the grounds that the Senate was refusing supply. Neither provides a precedent for the current situation.

  19. [There is no modern precedent for the Crown dismissing a government merely on the grounds that it’s unpopular, or even incompetent (which is a matter of opinion). Game dismissed Lang on the grounds that he was acting illegally, and Kerr dismissed Whitlam on the grounds that the Senate was refusing supply. Neither provides a precedent for the current situation.]

    I agree with Adam.

  20. Section 24 defined a seditious intention as [a]n intention to effect any of the following purposes:

    [ f) to excite Her Majesty’s subjects to attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter in the Commonwealth established by law of the Commonwealth;]

    Given that the petition to Bashir advocates an unlawful dissolution of Parliament…

  21. It would have to be unusual for Rudd not to ring and congratulate her. I don’t think he is well pleased.

    [TWO days after becoming NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally has not heard from fellow Labor leader Kevin Rudd.

    The Prime Minister sent a warning to state Labor via the media this week “to get its act together”.]

  22. Diogenes
    You’ve quoted the old law before at 232.
    It’s now section 24AA of the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914 and it doesn’t outlaw peaceful activities like organising a petition asking the Governor to dissolve a state parliament, from what I can make out. I don’t think it ever intended to do that anyway. I think The Tele’s safe.
    Of course, the ‘good faith’ defence you mention should never be available to the Murdoch press in any sircumstances, for anything 🙂

  23. [True, but it’s the entire Labor government that faces the electorate and in toto it smells to high heaven.]
    The leader can set the tone.
    BTW I’m not talking about whether she can win or not. I’m talking about what furniture she maybe able to save.

  24. [I’m a Labor voter and I will not be voting for them next time (unlike psephos my local member is not worth saving – I believe she is Joe Tripodi’s sister-in-law).]
    Angela d’Amore? I don’t know anything about her, but if it makes any difference, this SMH story says she and Tripodi are ‘widely known’ not to have ‘a good relationship’.
    Just a little snippet of information.
    Speaking as an ALP member, I sure am glad I don’t live in Fairfield.

  25. 3zebras – 135

    [ if Sydney wasn’t so comfortable for Clover, would the Greens be picking that one up too? ]

    I believe the answer is NO.

    At the 2007 general election the primary vote split was basically Moore 40%, Labor 20%, Liberal 20% and Greens 15%, with a 2PP (optional preferential voting) of 67% Moore to Labor’s 33%.

    I understand that Clover has a recurring nightmare, that in order to lock her out of the seat the 3 party’s do a behind closed doors deal for a 3 way preference swap, with the how-to-vote cards not being released until polling day (the cards lodged with the NSWEC not being available for inspection until polling day). However, that seems unlikely to ever occur.

    In Clover’s absence from the ballot paper it is difficult to estimate to which of the 3 partys her traditional support would go, although my suspicion is roughly evenly, albeit less than an even share to Liberal. I am not aware of any research done in relation to that. Perhaps one way of examing it would be to look at the support for the partys in the Upper House ballot for votes recorded from Sydney booths. The NSWEC did an informal Lab vs Lib 2PP count which was 57% ALP to 43% Lib (see Antony Green BP 01/08).

    In Clover’s absence – a 3 party contest – the Greens would need to finish in the top 2 on primary votes, to be competitive for the seat of Sydney. To make up the deficit of 5% to the Liberals, the Moore vote would need to split say 15 Lab, 15 Green and 10 Liberal.

    It is hard to predict the Moore vote split, however my gut feeling is the Greens would fall short and the seat would be won by Labor.

  26. Hi Peter,
    Without The Clover Moore Independent Team PARTY, in 2007 the Upper House Sydney vote was,

    That looks like a very good chance of going Green without The Clover Party.
    In the neighbouring seat of Valcuse The Greens actually beat the ALP in the Lower House.

  27. MARG – 242

    I am a little confused.

    The Clover Moore Independent Team is the name of a political group registered with the NSWEC for the purpose of contesting Local Government elections. The group ran candidates for the 2008 City of Sydney elections and won 5 of the 9 councillor positions (ALP -1, Greens 2, Lib 1) with of course Clover having the 10th council position, as popularly elected Mayor.

    The Clover Moore Independent Team group is not registered for, nor does it stand candidates in state elections. In 2007 Clover won Sydney. In 2011 it is expected she will contest the seat again.

    In the event Clover does not contest the seat, the seat will be contested in her absence, not in the absence of the Clover Moore Independent Team group (which you refer to as the The Clover Party ).

    Your figures for the 2007 Upper House vote in Sydney booths, are extremely interesting. It would seem that transferring that vote to the lower house in the absence of Clover on the ballot, would result in a virtual 3 way tie on the primary vote. It would be a lucky dip to pick the winner. It would certainly make Sydney the most interesting seat in the whole of NSW. Perhaps fortune would favour the party which pre-selected the “best” candidate.

    Many thanks for providing that 2007 Upper House breakdown. It looks rather exciting.

  28. Hi Peter,
    You are right,
    ‘The Clover Moore Independent Team Party’
    group thingy is a council contesting name only,
    introduced for the last council elections.

  29. Marg 244

    There is no such thing as “The Clover Moore Independent Team Party”.

    I know that is a term, or a similar term, to that sometimes used by Clr Shayne Mallard (Liberal) , and was certainly used by Mr Mandla (Liberal candidate) during the 2007 state election campaign. However, such terms are a fantasy apparently harboured by both men.

  30. marg – 246

    I didn’t want to have to go to the bother of doing this (but half expected that I would have to) so here goes:-

    Alex Mitchell in the crikey article says:-
    [ Moore is adamant that she has turned herself into a political party for simple pragmatic reasons: so her team can be placed “above the line” on the ballot papers and therefore maximize their vote ]

    Whilst he says Moore is adamant that she has turned herself into a political party , that is not in fact what she said, but Mr Mitchell’s interpretation of what she said. Perhaps it would have been slightly more accurate if he had written “Moore is adamant that she has NOT turned herself into a political party as commonly understood “.

    It is true that a group of candidates, holding a similar vision for the City of Sydney, could have requested to be grouped on the ballot paper, thus enabling them to appear under an above the line group square: s. 308A Local Government Act, 1993. However, unless that group was registered as a “political party” , no words could appear in the box, but as a registered “political party” words could appear in the above-the-line group box, in this case “Clover Moore Independents”:s. 308A(5) LGA.

    Clearly, Clover Moore considered it wise to have the words “Clover Moore Independents” in the group voting square, and thus was required to register her group of candidates sharing a similar vision for Sydney as a “political party”.

    Registration requirements for a “local government party” are set out in section 320 LGA, namely 100 members and a written constitution.

    The LGA defines political party. It means a body or organisation, whether or not incorporated, having as one of its objects or activities the promotion of the election to Parliament or to a council of a candidate or candidates endorsed by it or by a body or organisation of which it forms part.

    Registration as a “political party” under the provisions of the LGA, only entitles that “party” to contest Local Government elections. It does not entitle it to contest State elections. However, political party’s registered for state election purposes, are automatically entitled to contest LG elections without further ado.

    The question then is: Is the Clover Moore Independent Team a “political party”?

    Yes, because it is defined as such, or at least as a local government party, by the LG Act.

    However, the real question is whether it is actually a political party as commonly understood by the great unwashed masses.

    For example an Act might define a horse as meaning any horse, cow, goat, duck, dog or cat. A dog would be a horse for the purposes of the Act, but in common parlance it would be considered a dog, and not a horse.

    I doubt anyone would consider the Kogarah Residents’ Association or the Albury Citizens and Ratepayers Movement as a “political party”. Likewise the “Clover Moore Independent Team”.

    Mr Mitchell describes the 1 page constitution of the CMIT :

    [ As a document, the constitution is a joke and it’s a wonder that it passed muster at the Electoral Commission. In essence, it is a motherhood statement about transparent, accountability and upright governance plus a sweeping commitment to “the environmental, social, economic and cultural sustainability for the city of Sydney both as both a city of villages and Australia’s leading global city”?—?whatever that may mean.
    Anyone subscribing to these misty ideals?—?and provided that they don’t belong to any other registered party?—?can become a member.
    The party has no rules. There is no annual conference, no election of office bearers, no committees, no procedure to select candidates for election, no reference to party financial controls and no constitutional process to adopt new policy or modify existing policy. ]

    I might add that there are no membership fees either.

    I would think that many people would NOT consider the CMIT a political party.

    In any event back to the original topic:-
    a. The CMIT has no relevance to the state seat of Sydney,
    b. In the absence of Clover Moore on the ballot paper in 2011 (unlikely she will be absent), it would be possible (perhaps firming in my mind to likely) for the Greens to win the seat.
    c. In her absence in 2015 or later dates, it will likely be an exciting contest.

  31. Yes there will be new boundaries in 2015, the statewide “political landscape” will have changed considerably as well, and even if the boundaries remained the same, my suspicion is the demographics will have changed substantially more than other electorates.

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