In through the out door

Sarah Henderson returns to parliament via a Senate vacancy and a hotly contested preselection, as Coalition MPs blow bubbles on electoral “reform”.

Two brief news items to relate on Australian matters, as well as which we have the latest of Adrian Beaumont’s increasingly regular updates on the constitutional mess that is Brexit.

Sarah Henderson, who held the seat of Corangamite for the Liberals from 2013 until her defeat in May, will return to parliament today after winning preselection to fill Mitch Fifield’s Victorian Senate vacancy. This follows her 234-197 win in a party vote held on Saturday over Greg Mirabella, a Wangaratta farmer and the husband of former Indi MP Sophie Mirabella. After initial expectations that Henderson was all but assured of the spot, Mirabella’s campaign reportedly gathered steam in the lead-up to Saturday’s vote, resulting in a late flurry of public backing for Henderson from Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg, Jeff Kennett, Michael Kroger and Michael Sukkar.

Also, The Australian reports Queensland Liberal Senator James McGrath will push for the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, of which he is the chair, to consider abolishing proportional representation in the Senate and replacing it with a system in which each state is broken down into six provinces, each returning a single member at each half-Senate election – very much like the systems that prevailed in the state upper houses of Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia in the bad old days before the advent of proportional representation.

Ostensibly motivated by a desire to better represent the regions, such a system would result in a Senate dominated as much as the House of Representatives by the major parties, at a time of ongoing erosion in public support for them. The Australian’s report further quotes Nationals Senator Perin Davey advocating the equally appalling idea of rural vote weighting for the House. The kindest thing that can be said about both proposals is that they are not going to happen, although the latter would at least give the High Court an opportunity to take a stand for democracy by striking it down.

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.

2,838 comments on “In through the out door”

  1. briefly @ #1400 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:25 pm

    Steve777, Rex, PO, GG….

    The problem is escapism itself. This is the human condition in the current era. The popular subscription to action – to the possibility and efficacy of systematic action – has elapsed. There is escapism – fantasy, deflection, surrogacy, unicorn-hunting, video-gaming, blame-making – and little else. We are not the cast of a reality tv show or contestants in a quiz game. But you’d never know it.

    Being detached from the reality of the climate warming catastrophe, as the LibNats and Labor are, won’t address what needs to be addressed.

    Rational thinking and logic dictates a change of course.

  2. David Cameron who quit after result of referendum, has decided to weigh in Boris Johnson

    ‘Johnson is a liar who only backed Leave to help his career’ – David Cameron
    Former PM vents fury in his memoirs at his old colleagues over their stance on Brexit and compares Leave campaign to racist Tory electioneering in 1964

  3. Yes, the best time to do something about global warming was decades ago.

    The best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago.
    The next best time is now.

  4. briefly @ #1391 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:00 pm

    PO….I agree, we should act. It would be very useful if we could agree on what action we might take. So far, there is really no agreement. Those who want to act fight among themselves for political reasons. Those who do not want to act maintain their pretences. There is absolutely no goodwill to spare among the voices. We detest each other on the basis of our complementary uselessness.

    No. Some people want to act and understand fairly clearly what action is required. They take what personal action they can and agitate for others to do the same.

    Others say they want to act, but when the reality of what is required is pointed out to them, they decide not to act, and instead just talk about acting. Or else insist that others do.

    Still others look at the scale of the problem, get frightened, and just put their fingers in their ears and go “La … la … la …”.

    I am one of these types, as are you and GG. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which.

  5. In our politics, the successful are champs in the blame-making contest. It’s a loathsome trade. But it serves the winners well. They make big profits in it. Under these rules, someone/anyone is to blame for anything/everything that goes wrong. This levers on the desire to attach blame and shame whenever a wrong is discovered. It does not matter in this game exactly who is blamed. The point is that someone/anyone must be shamed and their humiliation should be public and spectacular. Serving blame in our political order is a substitute for action. It’s utterly nauseating, but it is very lucrative. The losers are the shamed. The winners are the blameless. It’s no wonder voters recoil from politics.

  6. BK

    That report is damning. Organisation, training, staff recruitment all ratshit. But it’s the ‘customers’ who suffer and they have no power.

  7. Player One @ #1405 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:38 pm

    briefly @ #1391 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:00 pm

    PO….I agree, we should act. It would be very useful if we could agree on what action we might take. So far, there is really no agreement. Those who want to act fight among themselves for political reasons. Those who do not want to act maintain their pretences. There is absolutely no goodwill to spare among the voices. We detest each other on the basis of our complementary uselessness.

    No. Some people want to act and understand fairly clearly what action is required. They take what personal action they can and agitate for others to do the same.

    Others say they want to act, but when the reality of what is required is pointed out to them, they decide not to act, and instead just talk about acting. Or else insist that others do.

    Still others look at the scale of the problem, get frightened, and just put their fingers in their ears and go “La … la … la …”.

    I am one of these types, as are you and GG. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which.

    You talk and talk and talk about this issue. To date, I reckon the people you’ve convinced could be counted on the fingers of your fist. So, you’ve failed Politics 101. You don’t seem to be a very good at advocating. No one is convinced of your solutions. No one is planning to implement any of your alleged solutions (Least of all you). It seems, no one is interested in being lectured by an obsessive and are even less interested in listening to your feeble attempts to proselytise (which is a better descriptor of your verbal onslaught) They’d prefer to stay wilfully ignorant of your views because they don’t regard you as a trusted source of information.

    Now all that is sad for you. But, you’ve done it all t yourself.

  8. a r
    says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 2:01 pm
    briefly @ #1380 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 12:46 pm
    Yes, the long drought in NSW could become permanent. The time to do something about this was probably 1970. We’re fucked.
    Large-scale solar/wind/renewables-powered desal is the only solution.
    __________________________________________
    The cost of transporting desal water into the interior would create 2 things: increasingly briny oceans and the worlds most expensive fruit and vegetables.

  9. GG

    After all, I have faith in the future. That’s about all I need to sustain myself.

    I suspect there were quite a few on the Titanic who also had faith in the future. It dosn’t seem an especially useful trait.

  10. Greensborough Growler @ #1410 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:59 pm

    You talk and talk and talk about this issue. To date, I reckon the people you’ve convinced could be counted on the fingers of your fist. So, you’ve failed Politics 101. You don’t seem to be a very good at advocating. No one is convinced of your solutions. No one is planning to implement any of your alleged solutions (Least of all you). It seems, no one is interested in being lectured by an obsessive and are even less interested in listening to your feeble attempts to proselytise (which is a better descriptor of your verbal onslaught) They’d prefer to stay wilfully ignorant of your views because they don’t regard you as a trusted source of information.

    Now all that is sad for you. But, you’ve done it all t yourself.

    Odd. When I translate this, all I seem to get is “La … la … la …”

  11. Jolyon Wagg @ #1415 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 2:17 pm

    GG

    After all, I have faith in the future. That’s about all I need to sustain myself.

    I suspect there were quite a few on the Titanic who also had faith in the future. It dosn’t seem an especially useful trait.

    Get back to me when we wake and find the whole human race dead from not following P1’s prescriptions on climate change. I might concede your point at that stage.

  12. GG

    Get back to me when we wake and find the whole human race dead from not following P1’s prescriptions on climate change. I might concede your point at that stage.

    It isn’t P1 vs the rest on climate change. It is pretty much the informed opinion of climate scientists vs the the bland assurance that “she’ll be right” from people like you with no science background .

  13. briefly says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 1:43 pm
    In our politics, the successful are champs in the blame-making contest. It’s a loathsome trade. But it serves the winners well. They make big profits in it. Under these rules, someone/anyone is to blame for anything/everything that goes wrong. This levers on the desire to attach blame and shame whenever a wrong is discovered. It does not matter in this game exactly who is blamed. The point is that someone/anyone must be shamed and their humiliation should be public and spectacular. Serving blame in our political order is a substitute for action. It’s utterly nauseating, but it is very lucrative. The losers are the shamed. The winners are the blameless. It’s no wonder voters recoil from politics.
    _________________________________
    I’m calling a full Gollism here!

  14. People who believe in God necessarily believe that HE will intervene at some point to save the human race from climate change. It makes sense. THey believe there will be an intervention at some point. Have some faith and just chillax.

  15. Player One @ #1416 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 2:19 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #1410 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:59 pm

    You talk and talk and talk about this issue. To date, I reckon the people you’ve convinced could be counted on the fingers of your fist. So, you’ve failed Politics 101. You don’t seem to be a very good at advocating. No one is convinced of your solutions. No one is planning to implement any of your alleged solutions (Least of all you). It seems, no one is interested in being lectured by an obsessive and are even less interested in listening to your feeble attempts to proselytise (which is a better descriptor of your verbal onslaught) They’d prefer to stay wilfully ignorant of your views because they don’t regard you as a trusted source of information.

    Now all that is sad for you. But, you’ve done it all t yourself.

    Odd. When I translate this, all I seem to get is “La … la … la …”

    All we seem to get from you is the song that doesn’t end!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U2zJOryHKQ&t=61s

  16. C@tmomma says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Boerwar,
    The fulcrum around which this debate turns is if the dual allegiance facilitates an external ;power’s ambitions which are contrary to Australia’s interests.
    _______________________________
    And spreading sprocket has been sighted too!

  17. BK @ #1406 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:40 pm

    Fancy a bit more government outsourcing? Then have a look at this Centrelink/Jobactive stuff the Guardian is exposing.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/15/the-nightmare-of-australias-welfare-system-at-the-push-of-a-button-my-working-life-was-erased

    Truly heartbreaking. Anybody at all interested already knows about the sheer bastardry, malice and spite involved from the Department of Shonks and Spivs just now coming up to employee of the year time – the trophy being the —

    Nice little earner for some.

    I’m reminded of my long gone Uncle Allen – who (Rat of Tobruk and New Guinea) facetiously (I think) reckoned that most problems could be sorted out with his Owen Gun.

    Of course we kinder and gentler folk (see where that gets you) think that the ballot box is the answer.

    If the world is ending this week may I be please be advised so that I can make an effort to get through my spaghetti bolognese. Thank you.

    Womens’ NRL match in progress. Great players. Sadly with an almost empty stadium.

  18. Player One @ #1423 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 2:33 pm

    Odd. There it goes again – “La … la … la …”

    Can anyone else hear that?

    ♫Hello darkness, ♫ my old ♪ friend
    I’ve ♫ come to talk ♪ with you ♫ again
    Because a ♫ vision softly ♪ creeping
    Left its ♫ seeds while I was ♪ sleeping
    And the ♫ vision that was ♪ planted in my ♫ brain
    ♫ Still ♫remains
    ♫ Within the ♫ sound of ♫ silence ♫♪♫♪♫♪

  19. So what is this ‘United Front Work Department’ that Gladys Liu first denied knowing about? First the denial..

    Bolt: “Were you on the committee of two chapters of the China Overseas Guangdong Exchange Association, one in Guangdong from 2003-2015 and the other in Shandong?”

    Liu: “Well I can tell you that I have never been a member of the council and yeah, it can happen. They can put your name there without your knowledge.”

    Bolt then pointed out that the association in question fell under the umbrella of a Chinese propaganda outfit. Ms Liu claimed to be ignorant of that fact.

    Bolt: “This association, which you say you can’t remember being part of for 12 years, is under the arm of China’s United Front Work Department which President Xi Xinping has called one of the Chinese Communist Party’s three magic weapons. In what way do you understand the United Front to be a weapon?”
    Gladys obfuscates…

    So what do the Americans think is going on?

    China uses “United Front” work to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP’s United Front Work Department (UFWD)—the agency responsible for coordinating these kinds of influence operations—mostly focuses on the management of potential opposition groups inside China, but it also has an important foreign influence mission.

    To carry out its influence activities abroad, the UFWD directs “overseas Chinese work,” which seeks to co-opt ethnic Chinese individuals and communities living outside China, while a number of other key affiliated organizations guided by China’s broader United Front strategy conduct influence operations targeting foreign actors and states. Some of these entities have clear connections to the CCP’s United Front strategy, while others’ linkage is less explicit. Today, United Front-related organizations are playing an increasingly important role in China’s broader foreign policy under Chinese President and General Secretary of the CCP Xi Jinping.

    It is precisely the nature of United Front work to seek influence through connections that are difficult to publically prove and to gain influence that is interwoven with sensitive issues such as ethnic, political, and national identity, making those who seek to identify the negative effects of such influence vulnerable to accusations of prejudice. Because of the complexities of this issue, it is crucial for the U.S. government to better understand Beijing’s United Front strategy, its goals, and the actors responsible for achieving them if it is to formulate an effective and comprehensive response.

    https://www.uscc.gov/Research/china%E2%80%99s-overseas-united-front-work-background-and-implications-united-states

  20. Greens policy on any dodgy donations, corruption, or manipulation and working behind the scenes for foreign interests, national or corporate?

    I’d guess a federal ICAC with strong powers of investigation, summoning witnesses and pressing charges where illegal activity has been found to occur.

    Same for every MP of every party

  21. In a democracy, it’s pointless blaming the voters for failing to agree with you.

    The fundamental idea of democracy is that those who represent voters will listen to their constituents. It is generally futile to ‘talk at’ voters. They are not obliged to listen to or agree with the talker or to endorse them.

    For mine, the current era is characterised by anxieties that emanate from pressures in the economy, in the environment and in the culture. Voters express their anxieties in their political choices. There are many responses to anxiety. In recent elections, mostly these choices have been escapist. The Lib-Libs get this. The Greens also get it. These teams are exponents of anxiety-and-escape. The two impulses are related to each other and they can be exploited. The result is that people feel alienated, but nothing ever changes.

  22. Quoll says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm
    Greens policy on any dodgy donations, corruption, or manipulation and working behind the scenes for foreign interests, national or corporate?

    I dunno about their ‘policy’. But their strategy is to profit from manufacturing and distributing blame. They are producers and marketers of contempt.

  23. Jolyon Wagg @ #1418 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 2:27 pm

    GG

    Get back to me when we wake and find the whole human race dead from not following P1’s prescriptions on climate change. I might concede your point at that stage.

    It isn’t P1 vs the rest on climate change. It is pretty much the informed opinion of climate scientists vs the the bland assurance that “she’ll be right” from people like you with no science background .

    One can believe Climate Change is happening. One can believe that human activity is a major cause of Climate Change. One can also believe that an incrementalist approach is the most likely to actually achieve some action to reduce the impact of Climate Change especially in a democracy like we live in.

    Clearly politics so far has not proven a particularly useful weapon in the process. There is still widespread disagreement on the fundamentals of the problem and even, in some quarters whether something should be done about it. It seems economic interests trump science in the real world. This is because in any political system self interest is always a good bet because you know that nag is always running to win. So, just rolling out Climate Scientists as your ace is never going to cut it.

    Ultimately, people like P1 are ineffective because they don’t have a constituency and only really represent themselves no matter how convinced they are that their way is the only true way. I have no doubt she is sincere. But, that’s not enough.

    Political parties are captives of the voters who they deem to represent. I’m repeating what I wrote the other day, but voters, as a collective, have a broad agenda that includes jobs, economic leadership, schools, hospitals and yes, the environment. But, it’s just one consideration in many. The last Election outcome is a classic example of what can happen in representative politics if a Party gets too far ahead of the voters.

    P1 repeating the same old rants day after day is probably counter productive to her actually achieving anything. Segmenting people in to goodies and baddies is facile as is her snark. But, unless she can build a constituency of like minded people, then she’s destined to become even more frustrated and disheartened.

  24. And the High Court challenge commencing this week to Gladys Liu’s Election – the ‘Dodgy Signage’ case, will surely not question the ‘allegiance’ referred to in S.44..

    From Crikey..

    “Section 44 disqualifies from parliament, in addition to foreign citizens, anyone who is “under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power”. Call it the foreign agent provision.

    The High Court has been asked twice to invoke this law, and both times said no. In 1949, Gordon Anderson was elected in the Sydney seat of Kingsford-Smith. He was challenged on the grounds that, as a Roman Catholic, he owed an allegiance to a foreign power: the Vatican. True, the Vatican is a country; but the court was having none of that anti-Papist rubbish which had been made obsolete in 1829 when the United Kingdom finally allowed Catholics to sit in parliament. Freedom of religion, which the constitution separately guarantees, trumped any suggestion of divided loyalties by virtue of personal faith.

    The question next came up in 1987. Elaine Nile (wife of Rev Fred) challenged Robert Wood, who had beaten her to a Senate seat representing NSW. Among her grounds was that Wood had, years earlier, been convicted of a criminal offence of “obstructing shipping”, and this action “against the vessels of a friendly nation” indicated that he had an allegiance to a (not identified) foreign power.

    Entertaining argument, but the High Court is not for cheap thrills. The case was kicked out, although the judges did make one interesting observation: section 44, they said, will only operate on a person who has “formally or informally acknowledged” a foreign allegiance, and not withdrawn or revoked it.

    What this would mean for Liu, if she found herself facing a section 44 challenge (which now can only be referred to the court by the House of Reps), is that her professed accidental membership of various Communist Party-front organisations would not likely be enough to meet the test of allegiance to a foreign power. There’d need to be a much smokier gun than has so far come to light.”

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/09/are-the-dictators-in-beijing-now-writing-morrisons-lines/

  25. samantha maidenVerified account@samanthamaiden
    47m47 minutes ago
    What a strange, nasty little article in The Weekend Australian questioning all things whether @annabelcrabb doesn’t respect “hard yakka” of being a mother. She has three children, has worked from home for a decade and is by far and away best mother I know.

    I have no idea who wrote the article, but why is the Oz indulging in this crap?

  26. Confessions @ #1434 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 3:21 pm

    samantha maidenVerified account@samanthamaiden
    47m47 minutes ago
    What a strange, nasty little article in The Weekend Australian questioning all things whether @annabelcrabb doesn’t respect “hard yakka” of being a mother. She has three children, has worked from home for a decade and is by far and away best mother I know.

    I have no idea who wrote the article, but why is the Oz indulging in this crap?

    She works for the ABC.

  27. The SmearStralian hates:

    1. Women
    2. Public figures
    3. Progressives
    4. Any rival to Murdoch hegemony

    Annabelle Crabbe ticks 3 of these boxes, hence the hit job.

  28. Apparently Angela Shanahan (whoever she is) is the author.

    Very petty and juvenile in my view. Surely we’ve reached an age where the choices working parents make when it comes to caring for their families are their own business and nobody else’s?

  29. sprocket_
    says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 3:24 pm
    The SmearStralian hates:
    1. Women
    2. Public figures
    3. Progressives
    4. Any rival to Murdoch hegemony
    Annabelle Crabbe ticks 3 of these boxes, hence the hit job.
    _________________________________
    Incredible! The amount of shit Annabelle has been subjected to on this site. I could go back to the archives and see what sprocket has written about her! I recall BB being particularly nasty. Now she’s a progressive!

  30. lizzie @ #1408 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 1:48 pm

    BK

    That report is damning. Organisation, training, staff recruitment all ratshit. But it’s the ‘customers’ who suffer and they have no power.

    My friend recently got caught up with an agency – got called in. Deferred. Called in. Final time palmed off to another staff member. Absolutely no consideration or understanding of her situation. Twenty something lady who had no manners and no empathy. Final time got someone who knew what he was doing. Accepted her documentation and almost apologized for what she had been put through.

  31. laughtong

    My worst interview experience when I was in my thirties was being interviewed by a heavily pregnant younger lady who constantly answered the phone during the i.v., didn’t listen to my answers and was so obviously bored by the whole thing that I was quite unable to make a good impression.
    I know now what I should have done – I should have called a halt and ripped into her – but I was so desperate to get a job that I was mouse-like and took it all politely.

  32. Jeez 9 children. I can see now what her problem with Crabbe is. With only 3 kids Crabbe isn’t taking her obligation as a god-sanctioned spousal vessel seriously.

  33. Gov. Mike Huckabee
    @GovMikeHuckabee
    Dozens are killed every year on skateboards. Thousands injured. Hey Beto! Heck yes, we’re going to take your SKATEBOARD!
    11:57 PM · Sep 14, 2019·Twitter Web App

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