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. GG, Boerwar

    Like all non Giants fans, I am delighted to see Green has finally been held to account. Though as a Lions fan I am still quite cynical about the AFL judiciary. The case a week earlier for eye gouging on Bontompelli seemed far worse, but that would have meant unbalancing a final so no, a fine will do. Now there is a risk a non Melbourne team might displace a Melbourne heavyweight from a grand final they suddenly remember the rule book. Green was the Giants best player against the Lions, topped the possession count, scored two goals, and took out Lachie Neal in the first quarter. If he had been suspended for his first offence he would not have played, and the Giants would have lost. The AFL is as crooked as the NSW Liberals.

  2. Quoll @ #2798 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 8:49 pm

    swamprat @ #2775 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 7:11 pm

    One third of East Timorese were said to have died under brutal Indonesian occupation.

    The slow genocide in West Papua goes pretty well unremarked.

    Greens mention it and RIchard Di Natale I believe delivered a petition from West Papuan activists and supporters to parliament a week or so ago. Calling on the Australian government to support their campaign for decolonisation with the UN. He spoke at a rally for their campaign as well.

    Australian governments sat around like lame mute ducks for decades with East Timor, did something eventually, then apparently tried through subterfuge to gain more money and resources for some corporate mates.

    Where next and where else do some of our closest long-suffering neighbours go? Don’t seem to make it into the Scomo Pacific family fantasy. Where the other members of the Pacific forum also raised the West Papua issue. Everything there that Scomo really wanted on the agenda, climate change and West Papua.

    It’s not like the government really seems to give a shit about PNG much either, aside from making sure there’s some ongoing leverage against Chinese influence perhaps.

    Every Government gives a shit. It’s just you they give t to.

  3. ar…but if you think I’m mistaken, by all means take yourself into economic exile. Exclude yourself from the economy – from income, from work, from communications, banking and health services, from running water and sewerage, from the food supply and modern housing, from electricity or gas. Live without energy. Try it for more than a week and report back.

    Or if this does not appeal, work on the transition to renewables in ways that also protect the living standards of working people….in ways that do not hold workers responsible for problems they did not cause.

  4. Socrates @ #2802 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 8:56 pm

    GG, Boerwar

    Like all non Giants fans, I am delighted to see Green has finally been held to account. Though as a Lions fan I am still quite cynical about the AFL judiciary. The case a week earlier for eye gouging on Bontompelli seemed far worse, but that would have meant unbalancing a final so no, a fine will do. Now there is a risk a non Melbourne team might displace a Melbourne heavyweight from a grand final they suddenly remember the rule book. Green was the Giants best player against the Lions, topped the possession count, scored a goal, and took out Lachie Neal in the first quarter. If he had been suspended for his first offence he would not have played, and the Giants would have lost. The AFL is as crooked as the NSW Liberals.

    Conspiracy theories aside, Greene went to the well of foul play one too many times.

    If his team loses the Flag as a consequence, sweet!

  5. The MSM thrive on sensationalism and articles like this are appearing more and more. While the Morrison government does a “Nero fiddling in Rome” act, the voices of doom will grow louder and louder. We are moving into an out-of-control downwards spiral of self fulfilling prophecy.

    Meanwhile Morrison will be enjoying his State dinner with Trump.

    RBA moves towards rate cut as consumer sentiment darkens

    The Reserve Bank has noted there is little evidence yet that the government’s tax cuts are being spent by the nation’s shoppers.

    The RBA has highlighted the growing economic risks that may force it to cut interest rates below 1 per cent, as consumers grow more concerned about the economy.
    2 hours ago by Shane Wright (Nine/Fairfax media)

  6. Re Church Turing thesis

    Lance Fortnow has a pretty funny summary of the situation here:
    https://ubiquity.acm.org/article.cfm?id=1921573
    whilst it’s presented as a rant (and indeed is a bit of a rant) it gets the point across.

    It’s rather unlikely that whichever government department created Robodebt has inadvertently made a fundamental discovery in computation theory!

  7. The problem in the economy – in this one as well as other industrial economies – is the evaporation in real per capita income growth. In this country income growth is running at levels last seen in the 1990/91 recession.

    This helped the Lib-Libs in the May election. They were able to persuade enough voters that they could do better on incomes and jobs than ‘Labor/Greens’.

    But there is no obvious fix for incomes. The Lib-Lib reflex – labour repression – will only make things worse. We are in the early stages of a great unwinding of real per capita income growth. This is a reversal of 400 years of rising real wages attributable to the agrarian and industrial revolutions. These gains have petered out and will be eaten away by the effects of climate change. At the same time the destruction of social wages – income redistribution and stabilisation at the base – is being accelerated. In part this is because the new industrial super-power – China – runs a mercantilist trade and monetary policy, itself a source of repression in China and in the economies of its counter-parties.

    So we are going to see further compression in real wages. This will result in loss of jobs and increased labour repression in general.

    Workers will be punished for the hardship the embody. They will be persecuted by the Right and blamed for the stagnation we will all experience.

  8. Briefly, at the Green Fort Café and Yoga studio in Northcote you can get the:

    Big Vegan Breakfast.
    turmeric tofu scramble with mushrooms and kale, potato rosti, roasted tomato, avocado and onion jam
    on thick sourdough toast
    $21 +5 for halloumi

  9. swamprat
    says:
    Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 9:58 pm
    Yoga followed by $21 breakfast!!
    Wow you Greens are rich.
    ____________
    swampy, think about how much you spent on alcohol when you were young. Young Greens supporters are at least pursuing a healthy option! 🙂

  10. Conspiracy theories aside

    Lol, the conspiracy theory that the AFL is a dodgy Melbourne centric dumb boy’s club, yeah there wouldn’t be an insurmountable mountain of evidence on that would there.

  11. swamprat
    says:
    Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 10:10 pm
    You’re not allowed to drink if you a Green??
    Oh no!
    ________________
    Of course you can! As long as you do a proper detox before and after you get on the spirits.

  12. PO

    E. G. Theodore @ #2773 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 7:01 pm

    D & M:

    Hmm – I still think you would need many algorithms to do the job properly. But maybe these are better termed functions.

    Church-Turing thesis…

    Now I’ll wait for P1 to assert that I “really don’t get Computer Science”…

    If you think that is a relevant riposte, then clearly, no you don’t.

    I think it is relevant – if we talk about many algorithms, then in the limit, we are talking about using as many approximations as necessary (polynomials, power functions, Fourier approximations) to make the algorithm close enough to reality.

    If a Turing machine cannot compute a function, then no known algorithm can compute that function.

    Of course, worse than COBOL, perhaps the Robodebt algorithm is using some alien logic to arrive at a debt amount in Australian dollars for the poor sucker targeted.

  13. swamprat
    says:
    Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
    nath,
    It sounds all a bit puritanical……. lol
    _______________________
    not so much when you are deep into a coffee enema detox!

  14. briefly @ #2803 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 8:59 pm

    Live without energy. Try it for more than a week and report back.

    Been doing that for household energy (and work, since all the work equipment runs off household energy) for over a year now. Living without externally provided, fossil-fuel-fired energy, that is. It’s not hard. Some solar panels and batteries are all it takes, and the cost of doing it relative to the cost of the house (which is an appropriate metric because they’re permanently fixed to the house) was something like a 3% premium. A wealthy nation like Australia has no excuse for not pushing hard to get this sort of technology deployed into as many premises as possible. An extra 3% on a mortgage is basically nothing, and the government could subsidize the interest by making it a tax write-off or whatever. Easy.

    And next will be extending that to transport. Should have been able to give you the weekly report on that one by now too, as the EV was supposed to have arrived in August. But it’s delayed so you’ll have to wait for sometime in October. On paper though it should fit quite easily within the power envelope provided by the solar panels and storage. Not expecting any issues.

    Anyways, the point is that we have the technology to do this stuff now. It’s here today, and people are doing it. Your argument is basically to not roll it out as fast as possible (or to use some sort of ‘economic pain index’ function to provide a definition for “as fast as possible”) and to only go as fast as conveniently possible instead. That’s pretty much going to happen anyways, because people are lazy and stupid and tribal and climate-change science has been politicized to death. Most people won’t start moving more quickly until things start to hurt them personally.

    To the extent that higher petrol prices bring some hurt and start encouraging everyone to move away from petrol more quickly, they’re a good thing. Not as good as a carbon tax. But it’s too late for that one because apparently we can’t have nice things. Tony Abbott saw to that.

  15. a r
    says:
    Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 10:21 pm
    briefly @ #2803 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 8:59 pm
    Live without energy. Try it for more than a week and report back.
    Been doing that for household energy (and work, since all the work equipment runs off household energy) for over a year now. Living without externally provided, fossil-fuel-fired energy, that is. It’s not hard. Some solar panels and batteries are all it takes, and the cost of doing it relative to the cost of the house (which is an appropriate metric because they’re permanently fixed to the house) was something like a 3% premium. A wealthy nation like Australia has no excuse for not pushing hard to get this sort of technology deployed into as many premises as possible. An extra 3% on a mortgage is basically nothing, and the government could subsidize the interest by making it a tax write-off or whatever. Easy.
    _____________________
    Well said. The 50 Billion spent on stupid subs would go along way right now.

  16. President Trump paused, letting the chorus of boos reach a crescendo at his campaign rally in Rio Rancho, N.M., on Monday night. Trump had been railing against Democrats, accusing them of trying to “blacklist, coerce, cancel or destroy anyone who gets in their way,” when a timely example came to mind.

    “Look at what they’re doing today to Justice Kavanaugh,” he said, referencing Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and drawing jeers from the rally’s attendees. “Did you see the New York Times?”

    Trump’s comments marked the end of a full day alternating between slamming the Times and defending Kavanaugh over a weekend report from the publication that revealed a new allegation of sexual misconduct against the judge, who weathered similar accusations last year ahead of his confirmation. Kavanaugh has denied the previously reported claims.

    https://beta.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/09/17/trump-new-york-times-kavanaugh-sexual-misconduct/

    More allegations could feasibly come out on Kavanaugh. Trouble is Trump isn’t an emotionally intelligent human, nor is he self aware. So wherever this goes, he’s doubling down to rally his base behind him.

  17. Douglas and Milko @ #2820 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 10:15 pm

    PO

    E. G. Theodore @ #2773 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 7:01 pm

    D & M:

    Hmm – I still think you would need many algorithms to do the job properly. But maybe these are better termed functions.

    Church-Turing thesis…

    Now I’ll wait for P1 to assert that I “really don’t get Computer Science”…

    If you think that is a relevant riposte, then clearly, no you don’t.

    I think it is relevant –

    Yeah, nup 🙁

    I actually do know this shit, having a postgraduate degree in the subject. The Church-Turing thesis is about computability in general, not about specific functions or algorithms 🙁

  18. briefly @ #2805 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 8:59 pm

    ar…but if you think I’m mistaken, by all means take yourself into economic exile. Exclude yourself from the economy – from income, from work, from communications, banking and health services, from running water and sewerage, from the food supply and modern housing, from electricity or gas. Live without energy. Try it for more than a week and report back.

    Been doing this for five years so far (ok, communications excepted).

    What’s the problem?

  19. Watching Unbelievable at the moment on Netflix.

    Gripping TV. Toni Colette doing it for Australia, but the rest of the cast superb also.

    Must watch.

    Certainly far more interesting than “We’re fucked.”

  20. PO

    I actually do know this shit, having a postgraduate degree in the subject. The Church-Turing thesis is about computability in general, not about specific functions or algorithms

    Disagree. The Church-Turing thesis states ” In computability theory, the Church–Turing thesis (also known as computability thesis,[1] the Turing–Church thesis,[2] the Church–Turing conjecture, Church’s thesis, Church’s conjecture, and Turing’s thesis) is a hypothesis about the nature of computable functions. It states that a function on the natural numbers can be calculated by an effective method, if and only if it is computable by a Turing machine. ”

    See below for wikipedia reference. It talks about “a function”. Each function, or “algorithm” if you prefer, is only computable if there is a reasonable, convergent, approximation to said function.

    So, why is this relevant to our robodebt conversation?

    We were discussing (jokingly) whether Centrelink was using one algorithm or many to approximate the debt held by individuals. My contention was that many algorithms were necessary for it to be computable.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church%E2%80%93Turing_thesis

  21. Douglas and Milko @ #2829 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 10:45 pm

    We were discussing (jokingly) whether Centrelink was using one algorithm or many to approximate the debt held by individuals. My contention was that many algorithms were necessary for it to be computable.

    Yeah, sorry – but “computability” doesn’t depend on whether one algorithm or many are required. In fact, that’s kind of the point 🙁

    I do get that this was a joke – but let’s not go so far as to bring the actual science into disrepute, shall we?

  22. Douglas and Milko @ #2827 Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 – 10:45 pm

    We were discussing (jokingly) whether Centrelink was using one algorithm or many to approximate the debt held by individuals. My contention was that many algorithms were necessary for it to be computable.

    Technically, even “divide annual declared income by 26” is an algorithm. With several different algorithms available to implement the division operation. 🙂

  23. I don’t think we can decide whether Church-Turing applies here.

    More to the point, with uncertain inputs, the real deficit in knowledge appears to be in understanding variations of measure. I would like to think Cédric Villani agrees.

    The problem is to define a model of 26 random variables, which can be sliced different ways to get to the total figure reported to the ATO. I see is a stick-breaking process – a Dirichlet distribution. Give me some data to estimate the variance of the process and I’ll build you an heirachical Bayesian model that learns from experience and sided information.

    Simples.

  24. P1:

    I actually do know this shit, having a postgraduate degree in the subject. The Church-Turing thesis is about computability in general, not about specific functions or algorithms

    That is correct. So that’s why the statement was:
    – “everything computable is computable by a Turing machine”
    What one might call “forms for computation” (such as functions, interactions, web services !!! operating systems, analogue computers) make no difference to computability.

    It follows that that there is no difference between “one algorithm” and “several functions” (or whatever it was) in relation to computability.

    Mr Shorten is simply wrong, and I’m surprised that nath has yet to point this out!

  25. Dandy Murray:

    I don’t think we can decide whether Church-Turing applies here.

    I’m guessing that’s the first Entscheidungsproblem pun posted to PB? Very funny if so…

  26. ar

    Your argument is basically to not roll it out as fast as possible

    No it’s not. My argument is that we should do things that work rather than things which are totally irrelevant or counter-productive. Everything I’m doing here in WA is aimed at accelerating action that will be effective, that can be replicated and transferred easily and which will change the economy, drive job creation and lift incomes in communities.

    The Greens have to get over their desire to punish everyone. In a democracy this will lead only to defeat.

  27. ….ar… the cost of doing it relative to the cost of the house (which is an appropriate metric because they’re permanently fixed to the house) was something like a 3% premium….

    In the pre-industrial economy you don’t have a house. You don’t have a mortgage or a bank. You don’t have an income. You don’t have water tanks or a transport system or a reliable food supply system.

    We have to graduate from the carbon economy to the post carbon economy without crashing incomes, jobs, production…

    In this economy, coal and oil are not insanely expensive and/or rationed. They are basically obsolete and are very cheap.

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