Empty chairs

Victoria’s Greens gear up for a party vote to fill Richard Di Natale’s Senate vacancy, plus similar developments for the state Liberals in Tasmania and Victoria.

As you can see in the post below this one, the Courier-Mail yesterday had a YouGov Galaxy state poll for Queensland that found both major parties stranded in the mid-thirties on the primary vote. State results from this series are usually followed a day or two later by federal ones, but no sign of that to this point. If it’s Queensland state politics reading you’re after, I can offer my guide to the Currumbin by-election, to be held on March 29. Other than that, there’s the following news on how various parliamentary vacancies around the place will be or might be filled:

Noel Towell of The Age reports two former state MPs who fell victim to the Greens’ weak showing at the November 2018 state election are “potentially strong contenders” to take Richard Di Natale’s Senate seat when he leaves parliament, which will be determined by a vote of party members. These are Lidia Thorpe, who won the Northcote by-election from Labor in June 2018, and Huong Truong, who filled Colleen Hartland’s vacancy in the Western Metropolitan upper house seat in February 2018. The party’s four current state MPs have all ruled themselves out. Others said to be potential starters include Brian Walters, a barrister and former Liberty Victoria president, and Dinesh Mathew, a television actor who ran in the state seat of Caulfield in 2018.

• Former Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman’s seat in parliament will be filled by Nic Street, following a preference countback of the votes Hodgman received in the seat of Franklin at the March 2018 election. This essentially amounted to a race between Street and the other Liberal who nominated for the recount, Simon Duffy. Given Street was only very narrowly unsuccessful when he ran as an incumbent at the election, being squeezed out for the last of the five seats by the Greens, it was little surprise that he easily won the countback with 8219 out of 11,863 (70.5%). This is the second time Street has made it to parliament on a countback, the first being in February 2016 on the retirement of Paul Harriss.

The Age reports Mary Wooldridge’s vacancy in the Victorian Legislative Council is likely to be filled either by Emanuele Cicchiello, former Knox mayor and deputy principal at Lighthouse Christian College, or Asher Judah, who ran unsuccessfully in Bentleigh in 2018. Party sources are quoted expressing surprise that only four people have nominated, with the only woman being Maroondah councillor Nora Lamont, reportedly a long shot. Also in the field is Maxwell Gratton, chief executive of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

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.

1,209 comments on “Empty chairs”

  1. Adam Bandt has some unrealistic delusions of grandeur. He is the sole Greens MP in the HoR yet is indulging in a ‘power of one’ fantasy that the Greens will share government with Labor after the next election, or sooner.

    I think we’re in a very finely balanced parliament, and you know Scott Morrison is still only holding on effectively by one seat. And it wouldn’t take the dial shifting that much to be back in a situation akin to the 2010 parliament…

    MG: Now are you talking post election?

    AB: Yes, post-election. It may happen sooner. All it takes is one. In every term of parliament, there’s almost always a by-election. Someone resigns. And if it’s someone in the right seat who resigns and theie seat then changes to the independents or Greens or Labor, then we could be in a very interesting situation before the next election. But certainly at and after the next election, to summarise it, my goals would be to turf the government out, put Greens in balance of power and implement a Green New Deal.

    MG: So you would see at your most optimistic a power sharing situation with a Labor government, with an Albanese government?

    AB: I think that is a path to achieving change in this country. And I think it’s a realistic path. We elected a senator in every state at the last election. So it shows that we can do that. Of course, the dynamics in the house of representatives, there’s probably a few more moving parts there with independents running.

    https://theconversation.com/politics-with-michelle-grattan-adam-bandt-on-greens-hopes-for-future-power-sharing-131466

  2. I have commented here several times over the years how the Greens party is attacked from Socialist Alliance and similarly aligned groups because the Greens do not eschew the capitalist system.
    ____________________________

    You certainly have no problem quoting and linking the Green Left Weekly when they are bashing the Labor party.

  3. P1

    Torchbearer @ #1051 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 6:45 pm

    As for the Powerhouse move, why is Gladys so stubborn on this ? The Ultimo site is not thaaat valuable. She just wont budge.

    The site has probably been promised to someone. Someone influential. Possibly for yet another casino, or something equally worthwhile?

    The Powerhouse Museum site is incredibly valuable – right on Darling Harbour, great views if high rise. We have already seen how the Millers Point sale of Dept of Housing properties netted millions for the developer, and nothing for the coffers of the state government.

    The saddest thing is that the Powerhouse Museum was the “new” site for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (we called it the “Technological Museum” when I was young) . So many kids got their passion for science in the Powerhouse and its predecessor. The new museum at Parramatta, in a flood zone, is deliberately designed so that some of the amazing steam exhibits will not fit. They will be mothballed.

    I cannot think of another major city that would trash such a significant heritage collection.

  4. I understand scepticism regarding the sliding window that heralds the dawn of thermonuclear power.

    But citing it is not a convincing argument for what will happen in the future. The same reasoning could be applied to the possibility of discovering, say, a one size fits all cure for cancer, or even cures for individual varieties of it. Lack of success so far has not dampened enthusiasm for further research. Nor should the search for a practical thermonuclear solution.

    Although unlimited fuel would certainly reduce costs, I wasn’t referring to the cost of fuel alone. The more complex systems and their engineering become, the more technology steps up to both make it possible and reduce costs of production and operation. A bunch of professionally cynical old farts lamenting the loss of their youthful hopes that thermonuclear power would be a reality once they reached their dotage is not a convincing argument that, admittedly delayed, those hopes will not eventually be fulfilled.

    So much emotional energy has been invested in condemning baseload power generation – fossil fueled and nuclear – in favour of (ever more viable) alternative energy sources utilising solar, wind and other natural phenomena that, in my observation, an irrational bias has formed in favour of the alternative solutions.

    Likewise, much emotional energy has been invested in what I call “The Long, Slow Road Ahead” version of how Greenhouse Earth will be saved: that any solution to Climate Change will take years, centuries even, and involve a complete turnover of established industrial processes from the generation of electricity to the smelting of iron ore. Oh yes, and a lot more trees being planted in the context of a civilization that, with increasing population, is based on clearing a hundred football fields worth of virgin forest every minute.

    Who’s really the deluded dreamer in this discussion?

    But what if we could extract CO2 from the atmosphere by the application of the kind of brute force technologies available only as a result of unlimited, concentrated baseload power that used up little land and had, for practical purposes, infinite fuel resources?

    And which had no dangerous by-products or emissions?

    Ditto for potable water. Ditto for portable fuel production. Ditto for lighting our cities and running our industries without totally ruining the environment (in all its aspects, including the conservation of liebensraum). Wouldn’t that be worth an extra effort, rather than just waving it off as a pipe dream?

    Billions is being invested in thermonuclear research. It’s not being invested in the expectation it will fail, I reckon (unless those that claim this have adopted the position of some of the uglier Climate Science deniers: that scientists are only in it for the research grant money).

    We can all imagine the costs of harnessing the fundamental energy source of the universe.

    But what are the costs of not trying harder to get it working?

  5. Aqualung

    There were numerous comments concerning the moving of the Maritime Museum.

    Pedant alert: Are you talking about “moving” the Maritime Museum, or the creation of the Sydney Heritage Fleet, while something that appeared to be the Maritime museum stayed at Darling Harbour?

    If you are interested in the latter, I can give more than a few details.

  6. Steggall appeals to ‘sensible centre’ for more climate action

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/steggall-appeals-to-sensible-centre-for-more-climate-action-20200210-p53zer.html

    “Independent MP Zali Steggall says her proposed “sensible centre” laws for more ambitious climate action will need Coalition MPs to cross the floor and public pressure to get through.
    ::::
    Ms Steggall would need several Coalition MPs to cross the floor to secure the passage of the bill, to be introduced on March 23, through the lower house and is calling on the government to allow a conscience vote.

    Failing that, she said Centre Alliance senators would introduce the reforms to the upper house and, ultimately, she hoped people power could persuade the government to follow her lead.”

  7. Aqualung

    Gladys backtracked slightly on The Powerhouse. It’s now going to be a fashion museum. Well, part of it.

    Arggghhhhh! How can you compare “fashion” to the wonders of the industrial revolution housed at the Powerhouse. And by fashion, we are not talking about the effect that the Spinning Jenny or Jacquard Looms had on French and English politics in the late 18th century.

    And I am a gal!! And I like my dresses.

  8. Saw this today and thought I might share it..

    https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/07/08/chinas-experience-with-high-speed-rail-offers-lessons-for-other-countries

    BEIJING, July 8, 2019—China has put into operation over 25,000 kilometers of dedicated high-speed railway (HSR) lines since 2008, far more than the total high-speed lines operating in the rest of the world. What type of planning, business models, and approaches to construction enabled this rapid growth? In an era when many railways face declining ridership, what pricing and services make high-speed rail attractive to this large number of passengers and maintain financial and economic viability? A new World Bank study seeks to answer these and other questions.

    “China has built the largest high-speed rail network in the world. The impacts go well beyond the railway sector and include changed patterns of urban development, increases in tourism, and promotion of regional economic growth. Large numbers of people are now able to travel more easily and reliably than ever before, and the network has laid the groundwork for future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for China.

    The World Bank has financed some 2,600 km of high-speed rail in China to date. Building on analysis and experience gained through this work and relevant Chinese studies, China’s High-Speed Rail Development summarizes key lessons and practices for other countries that may be considering high-speed rail investments.

    A key enabling factor identified by the study is the development of a comprehensive long-term plan to provide a clear framework for the development of the system. China’s Medium- and Long-Term Railway Plan looks up to 15 years ahead and is complemented by a series of Five-Year Plans.

    In China, high-speed rail service is competitive with road and air transport for distances of up to about 1200 km. Fares are competitive with bus and airfares and are about one-fourth the base fares in other countries. This has allowed high-speed rail to attract more than 1.7 billion passengers a year from all income groups. Countries with smaller populations will need to choose routes carefully and balance the wider economic and social benefits of improved connectivity against financial viability concerns.

    A key factor keeping costs down is the standardization of designs and procedures. The construction cost of the Chinese high-speed rail network, at an average of $17 million to $21 million per km, is about two-thirds of the cost in other countries.

    The study also looks into the economic benefits of HSR services. The rate of return of China’s network as of 2015 is estimated at 8 percent, well above the opportunity cost of capital in China and most other countries for major long-term infrastructure investments. Benefits include shortened travel times, improved safety and facilitation of labor mobility, and tourism. High-speed networks also reduce operating costs, accidents, highway congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions as some air and auto travelers switch to rail.

    Some key points…

    1. Chinese HSR is cheaper to build not because of their currency or cheap labour (their construction is highly automated). Rather its because they have economy of scale, standardised designs and highly automated construction. Where here is Australia we have an ageing HSR Study whose physical design was ridiculously complex.

    2. The figures given above of between $17 million and $21 million per km are for track only. When you include stations the figure is about $30 million per km in Australian dollars. This is for rail lines that are mostly either in tunnel or sitting on viaduct.

    3. Their fare structure (at least for the short to medium trips) is about a quarter of what you see in other countries. Why? Because the Chinese designers understood it was about ordinary people doing ordinary things – like commuting. Rather than catering to an elite. This is also a lesson we can learn in Australia. Keep the fares reasonable, encourage commuters, encourage volume.

    4. Look at all the benefits. Increased tourism. The social benefits of improved connectivity over distance. Reduced road costs (accidents, congestion, construction). And so on. All the stuff I’ve been arguing for and which has not so far been studied here in Australia.

  9. C@tmomma @ #1078 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 7:04 pm

    PeeBee,

    Player One is essentially mentally lazy and just like an old hack of the horse variety that continues to trot around the same old track, like they have been doing for years.

    To craft an attack of the Coalition would require her to actually analyse what the Coalition are doing as well as proposing to do and then critique that.

    It’s a lot lot easier to snark at Labor, criticise them for things they have no control over because they have decided not to commit political suicide and commit to things they have no control over, parse the words of Labor Party MPs and snark at that, and trot around the track at PB like they are a Group 1 race winner. 🙂

    What the fuck brought this on? Don’t you have anything better to do? Like coming up with a Labor policy on nuclear fission or something?

    Christ, what an embarrassment to Labor this site is!

  10. ‘Steve777 says:
    Monday, February 10, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    ” If one looks at the long history of human experience, it is only in the last 30 years that we have been transmuted from pilgrims and patients and students to become, as our primary identification, consumers and clients.“

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/10/thomas-keneallys-2020s-vision-we-must-abandon-the-language-of-the-market-to-reclaim-our-humanity

    More pseuds babble about the evil of the markets, the evil of the language of markets, etc, etc, etc.

    Kenneally does carry on so. For the vast proportion of human existence, more than 99% of human existence, most humans were illiterate hunters and gatherers. Life was nasty, brutish and short. The market involved swapping some special stones for some special wood or clay.

    For 98% of the remaining time, the vast majority of humans were illiterate peasants and farm workers. For most of that time markets worked well for the extremely limited role they had. Life was nasty, brutish and short with famine and epidemics routinely carrying off large proportions of the human population.

    For the remaining .0000000% of human existence, markets became wonderfully complex, driving the most marvellous human developments at an increasingly dizzying pace. An increasing proportion of humans were urbanites with increasingly highly differentiated roles who more or less sorted themselves out using market mechanisms. Life expectancy, the quality of life and the human population all exploded.

    But, with increasing populations due to market driven improvements in health care, the mother of all market failures was generated when climate change and environmental destruction more generally were externalized in cost terms.

    The notion that the fix for this is that we could suddenly walk away from market mechanisms and then we all will be returned to some market-free arcadia which will both generate huge amounts of new wealth for the billions of additional humans while environmental costs will somehow or other all be properly regulated as the new normal, is as insane as the notion that the UBI, the UJG and MMT will fix all social evils and climate change and cancer.

  11. Boerwar @ #1084 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 7:16 pm

    It was good to see the roar of approval from the Bludger Greens when Labor succeeded in using Parliamentary tactics to destabilize Morrison.

    All the usual suspects piled on with praise: Mundo, ar, Bakunin, P1, Rex, guytaur, scout, Astrobleme…. They were rapturous at Labor’s success.

    Actually, I think I was one of the first to post on the subject. But if this is your idea of “success”, it would certainly explain a lot about why Labor lost the last election 🙁

  12. Peter van Onselen@vanOnselenP
    ·
    10m
    Being back in Canberra listening to all the same MPs who thought it was fine to force a second leadership tilt against Turnbull now whinge that Barnaby backers are trying to do the same thing to McCormack is hilarious. And the best part…they don’t even realise their hypocrisy.

  13. Pegasus

    I have commented here several times over the years how the Greens party is attacked from the left by Socialist Alliance and similarly aligned groups because the Greens do not eschew the capitalist system.

    It is surprising to me to hear this. I am close to Newtown, but quite a few members of the Socialist Alliance, friends of mine, are working hand-in-glove with the local Greens, and also being a bit unfriendly to me because I stick to Labor. As long as we do not talk politics in the specific it is fine – in general strokes we agree.

    Also, Guy Rundle, who is a member of the Socialist Alliance, is very Greens Friendly. Back before the 2019 Federal election, when he interviewed the excellent Fr Rod Bower from Gosford Anglican Church for Crikey, he asked Fr Rob why he was running as an independent for the NSW senate rather than as Green, as he thought Fr Rob’s values were “Green”.

  14. BB

    The driver is not old fart’s faded dreams of limitless free energy.

    The driver is ROI.

    Right now, there is not a single new nuclear power station build being initiated by the private sector anywhere in the world which is not extremely heavily subsidized by taxpayers.

    In other words, apart from the spivs who get to clip the coupons, nuclear power will not provide anyone any free lunches.

    As for fusion, I must admit to being tickled pink that it continues to fire the imaginations of H. sapiens. It is good for something, after all.

    As usual, the main message here can be shortened to three words: follow the money.

  15. Cud Chewer……regarding HSR in China, there are a variety of lessons to be learned from the Chinese with this project. One is to pinch technology from elsewhere (Germany and others) is not a bad idea and to be not too fussed about what has to be knocked over to make it all work. Having said this, when a giant (China) takes a step, it is commensurate big one.
    Travel on the HSR is exhilarating, very comfortable, clean and obviously, quick. However, many of the lines are some way still from running profitably and this will be the same for some time. It is all a matter of scale………Shanghai, with 24 million people and another 10 million or so in the outer metropolitan area is a high use area, and connecting the main cities such as Shanghai and Beijing is high intensity traffic stuff.
    We in Oz have to find the resources to build infrastructure for a whole continent and it is thus, not surprising, there is not even a sealed road from the Top End, through the Centre to the West…..never mind a HSR between population centres – roughly Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney- Brisbane. Perhaps 50 years from now for us??

  16. ” If one looks at the long history of human experience, it is only in the last 30 years that we have been transmuted from pilgrims and patients and students to become, as our primary identification, consumers and clients.“

    Feminist literature going back to the 1960s and “The Feminine Mystique” – and probably beyond – points to the interests of suppressing feminism because of the role of women as consumers and clients.

    So it goes back beyond 30 years.

  17. Doing some catch up sleeping while the nights are calm and cool and the air is fresh and clean…
    …. good night all and I wish all of you sweet dreams.

  18. Cud,
    do you think the Australian population will embrace fast trains? Is the allure of air flight fading enough; being treated like cattle, the security, the additional costs, the queues, the bad air, the cancellations.

    I was over air travel a decade ago. I cant wait for some easy comfy and maybe a tad decadent fast train trips from Adelaide to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. So hurry up and build it before I turn into an old codger.

  19. BB

    I’m curious – you started off basically admitting that your idea was a brainfart, that you didn’t know much about the subject, and wanted to know what others thought, but you now seem to have moved to a position where your idea is brilliance personified and that people who question it are arrogant tossers with no vision.

    Why not go with “I now know more about the subject, thanks, and it’s more complex than I originally thought…”?

  20. Nicholas

    Jengis Osman has written two excellent articles about the Australian Greens and the New Green Deal. His argument is that the Greens have appropriated the slogan of a Green New Deal with none of the macroeconomic understanding and policy ambition of what is being proposed in the United States.

    https://jengis.org/2020/02/06/not-a-green-new-deal-being-proposed-in-australia/

    https://jengis.org/2020/02/06/thinking-about-a-green-new-deal/?fbclid=IwAR37sn3JkZHsNGU7-rh3ehYOJ_Lndt1LrQ5Q8TG5secphjmCcKm6T866SYs

    Thanks for these links. I will take a few days to digest them, as work is really busy right now.

    In Australia, and elsewhere, we desperately need what a Green New Deal can offer, just like FDR’s New deal. But we need to be very clear what is on offer.

    AJP Taylor’s Origins of the Second World War is pretty clear that FDR, and unfortunately one Adolph Hitler, both found (stumbled on?) Keynesian economics as the solution to the horrors of the
    Great Depression.

    So, Green New Deal – great idea, but we really do need to be very clear what we mean.

  21. From Bandt’s interview with Grattan:

    “I took some heart from how close we came in states like Higgins and Kooyong at the last election…”

    This is delusional. Uttterly delusional.

    In Higgins, the Green vote went backwards and they came third. In Kooyong, despite their superstar candiate and his local connections via the Savage Club, the Greens managed a primary vote of 21% and lost the 2PP by more than 11,000 votes.

    Bandt goes on to repeat a version of the ridiculous Green fairytale that big swings to the Liberals in coal mining communities were down to Labor not committing to shutting the industry down overnight.

    He’s either lying, or hopelessly naive.

  22. RHWombat

    A belated thanks for your info that passenger ships spread the Spanish Influenza around the world in the wake of WWI.

    I have spent some time trying to understand why that epidemic was so virulent, and infected and killed so many people – the ships!

  23. Pegasus says:
    Monday, February 10, 2020 at 7:55 pm
    I have commented here several times over the years how the Greens party is attacked from the left by Socialist Alliance and similarly aligned groups because the Greens do not eschew the capitalist system.

    At the same time, for decades, the MSM and the political duopoly have propagated the meme of how extreme left the Greens are. As we continue to see here on PB. Go figure

    Of course, the Greens are not “extreme”. They are merely yet another Labor-hostile outfit. They are an expression of bourgeois radicalism; a pop-sop.

  24. I said when Bandt first mooted his Green New Deal that my suspicion was that he’d just ripped off the name from the US without really understanding the context behind AOC’s bill of the same name.

  25. Not sure what Osher brings to the panel on climate change solutions, but one of the Qanda panellists has pulled out and replaced by the chair of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

  26. Somebody above asked about the relationship between superannuation and wage rises. There is an interesting debate on that topic going on right now between various progressive think tanks. On one hand, Per Capita and The Australia Institute (Jim Stanford in particular) argue that the superannuation guarantee should continue to be increased incrementally, and that the evidence does not prove that super guarantee increases come at the expense of wage rises. On the other hand, the Grattan Institute argues that over a 27 year period (1991 to 2018) the increases to the SG have reduced wage rises by 80 percent of what they otherwise would have been. So workers are paying for the overwhelming majority of their super increases in the form of lower pay rises – they are not getting much of an additional benefit from their employer. The Grattan Institute base their findings on an econometric analysis of 80,000 Enterprise Agreements in Australia during that period.

    https://blog.grattan.edu.au/2020/02/super-myths-and-reality/

    Cameron Murray makes a strong case for scrapping compulsory super (and phasing out associated tax breaks) while increasing and expanding the Age Pension. He points out that in terms of real resource use, the Age Pension is far more efficient than the superannuation system. He argues that superannuation is not really a retirement income system at all – super can more accurately be described as a tax-advantaged financial asset purchase scheme that disproportionately helps the wealthy.
    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/02/why-australia-should-scrap-superannuation/

  27. Tricot

    There is a difference between the internal rate of return for a piece of transport infrastructure and the external benefits. A really big difference. One of the problems we have had in Australia is insisting that HSR must actually make a profit – in other words be commercially viable and pay for its capital cost out of fare revenue. This is nearly impossible.

    Yet here we are in Australia where we have spent the present day equivalent of hundreds of billions on the major highway network. And apart from some vacuous cost benefit analysis (which assume that more road pavement won’t generate more traffic) we’ve been pretty happy to simply build a road network out of public funds and let anyone use it for free.

    One of the points in that report on Chinese HSR is that they have saved on road costs. Not just the cost of construction, but the cost of congestion and the cost of road trauma and pollution. Here in Australia there are several transport corridors where if we don’t build HSR, we will be spending a similar amount of money (tens of billions) on duplicating/widening roads.

    Notably in the Newcastle to Wollongong corridor and also Brisbane to Gold Coast.

    So there is a cost of doing nothing. Indeed we have a choice. We can build more roads, or we can build HSR. The thing about HSR is that its money better spent – for a similar sized bucket of money we get something that moves many times more people and it also does so a lot faster than driving. That means people do stuff that they couldn’t have done before and that means new economic activity.

    For example, we once had a tortuous highway between Sydney and Newcastle. The government (yes, think you to Whitlam) decided to build a freeway. Today that would have cost $20+ billion. But no one would seriously argue that the social and economic benefits weren’t worth it.

    HSR is essentially the “highway of the future”. Its a technology that provides better bang for buck than road pavement. And that leaves out all the other wider social and economic benefits that flow from having people with more physical mobility. Greater choice, greater social connectivity. The economics of agglomeration and so on.

    Its a mistake to treat HSR as a mini airline. Its real value is essentially being a fast, high capacity road. Its a mistake thinking in terms of fares and revenue. Yes, you need to cover operational costs. But you can do so without high fares. What you do need is volume. That means you need a well designed HSR network that is affordable and accessible. One that is designed to be a core part of an upgraded public transport rather than being a secondary option for an elite.

  28. Oh and in case I didn’t make it clear.

    HSR makes most sense in the corridor between Newcastle and Wollongong. And Brisbane to the Gold Coast. Sydney to Melbourne is a far lower priority. It doesn’t make nearly as much sense as the above corridors. Once you understand that HSR is about competing with car travel.

  29. Fess:

    Yep. That’s pretty much the size of it. They’ve ripped off a slogan they think might sound good and affixed it to a random assortment of existing policies. They’re rather desperately trying to make themselves sound relevant by imitating the American politicians that the yoof are into (it might bear pointing out that the vanishingly narrow cohort of the Australian yoof who are Ocasio-Cortez fans almost certainly already vote Green).

    This is verbatim from one of their FB posts:

    “Like Bernie? Love AOC? You need to get involved with the Green New deal.”

    The unpaid intern in Bandt’s office who came up with that should really be ashamed of themselves.

  30. Scout @ #1088 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 7:28 pm

    Turnbull …………………you chose that party – what did you expect?

    Sliding Doors , Scout.

    If Turnbull had won the referendum for a Republic, Labor would have drafted him and he would likely have been a very good Labor PM. Instead, so determined was he to be a PM that he courted the Liberals thereafter. 🙂

  31. 3z,
    And, embarrassingly for The Greens, the author of ‘The Green New Deal’, agreed to speak at a Labor Think Tank conference last year. 😀

  32. Nicholas,

    Great overview of the current debate re super.

    “He argues that superannuation is not really a retirement income system at all – super can more accurately be described as a tax-advantaged financial asset purchase scheme that disproportionately helps the wealthy.”

    That’s my view.
    ——-

    Reform super tax breaks to properly fund aged care, and fix inequities before increasing super guarantee – ACOSS to Retirement Incomes Review, February 3, 2020

    https://www.acoss.org.au/media_release/reform-super-tax-breaks-to-properly-fund-aged-care-and-fix-inequities-before-increasing-super-guarantee-acoss-to-retirement-incomes-review/

  33. Douglas and Milko @8:25 pm
    ” quite a few members of the Socialist Alliance, friends of mine, are working hand-in-glove with the local Greens ”
    hi Douglas and Milko : i live round newtown too, but don’t mingle as much as you. the red green “popular front” you describe is interesting to me. from your contacts, do you hear about what the newtown greens your socialist alliance friends work hand in glove with, think of the lee rhiannon affair ? -regards, a.v.

  34. Simon Katich

    do you think the Australian population will embrace fast trains? Is the allure of air flight fading enough; being treated like cattle, the security, the additional costs, the queues, the bad air, the cancellations.

    I was over air travel a decade ago. I cant wait for some easy comfy and maybe a tad decadent fast train trips from Adelaide to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. So hurry up and build it before I turn into an old codger.

    It isn’t about air travel. Repeat: It isn’t about air travel. The obsession we have with HSR being a mini airline is peculiarly Australian. If you look at the history of HSR overseas, nowhere has anyone built HSR with a primary ambition of taking over an air corridor. The Japanese did not build HSR to compete with air travel. They built it to add capacity to their post-war rail network. The French did not build HSR to compete with travel. They built it as an incremental upgrade of an already reasonably decent rail network. The English did not build HSR to compete with air travel. HS1’s main competitor was channel ferries. The Chinese did not build HSR primarily to compete with air travel.

    But.. we have this obsession in Australia. Why? Well that’s an historical accident and Howard is part of that story.

  35. Turnbull got what he deserved.

    I used to have a modicum of respect for him until he came up with Fraudband. $50 billion dollars all pissed up against a wall on a temporary network that someone is going to have to scrap and replace. Why? Because Turnbull fundamentally wanted to flog it off. Bodge the books and flog it off. That was what he was good at in his business life. Nothing creative. Just shonk. He’s got “dickhead” written into his DNA.

  36. Cud Chewer @ #1139 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 9:11 pm

    You’ve been empowered, C@t? 🙂

    Yep. We heard Forresters Beach had come back on about 7 and we thought we might get it back by tomorrow, but lo and behold! 8.30pm we got a pleasant surprise and now I am being fanned by my Italian slave (otherwise known as the best electric fan I have ever come across in my life. Looxery! 🙂

  37. Cud Chewer @ #1140 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 9:16 pm

    Turnbull got what he deserved.

    I used to have a modicum of respect with him until he came up with Fraudband. $50 billion dollars all pissed up against a wall on a temporary network that someone is going to have to scrap and replace. Why? Because Turnbull fundamentally wanted to flog it off. Bodge the books and flog it off. That was what he was good at in his business life. Nothing creative. Just shonk. He’s got “dickhead” written into his DNA.

    See, that’s where Labor could have moderated Turnbull’s worst tendencies. They would have forced him into accepting the FTTP NBN. Then, maybe do an Optus-type deal with it and allow overseas players to become a part of the system, for a very attractive price to the government. ‘Mum and Dad investors’ could have bought their shares in it, like they had the option to do with Telstra, and we would have all lived happily ever after. 🙂

  38. Cud Chewer……..you are clearly well-informed regarding HSR and the points you made I have no issue with at all…I seem to remember from Uni days, when I vaguely remember doing some work on relative rail costs/revenue, that in terms of what was carried on a continuum, carrying people on country lines made made nothing at all (opportunity costs aside) to carrying a homogenous product (eg. iron ore) as highly profitable. On all counts, carrying freight over people was always seen to be the best use of rail. The restricted use of HSR in the corridor you suggest may well be have benefits in terms of taking pressure off the roads. Certainly, the rail line between Alice Springs and Darwin – a much loved project for the Libs back when (they of the “what are the cost/benefits?” of everything Labor proposed) will never make any money at all and it is doubtful whether even the operating costs are matched by revenue. Still, I guess the Libs could argue “strategic” purpose when it comes to value. Who knows?

  39. C@t,

    Embarrassingly for Labor, Greens we’re discussing Rifkins Third Industrial Revolution at their Green New Deal conference in 2009.

    You jumped on the bandwagon a decade to late, loser.

  40. Boerwar @ #920 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 3:54 pm

    bakunin

    There are some interesting statistics on commercial forests in the attached link. )What is not known is the impact of the 2019-2020 fires on the commercial forest estate.) What is interesting is the very large areas of native forests burned on average per annum.

    What is clear is that the commercial forest estate is nowhere near the size of the native forest estate.

    The Greens proposed immediate ban on all native forestry is likely to have at least one unintended consequences: substitution by concrete and steel because there is not enough commercial forests to substitute the loss of native forest timber.

    https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/abares/forestsaustralia/documents/sofr_2018/web%20accessible%20pdfs/SOFR_2018_Executive%20summary_web.pdf

    Almost no ‘native forest timber’ is used for building in Australia. Chemically treated plantation pine accounts for more than 90% of timber used in building structures. Finishing timber in skirtings and door jambs is almost all rainforest timber from New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia. Australian hardwood is used for a proportion of plywood used as formwork. Most hardwood (eucalyptus) harvested is used for woodchips, even beautiful straight mountain and alpine ash. This is an ongoing tragedy.

    Callitris (so-called cypress) and a variety of eucalypts are used for floorboards, but there is a critical lack of supply of suitable timber, and the price has become prohibitive, so most builders make do with laminated photos of timber backed with imported plywood. Where carpet is laid, the flooring is either concrete or particle board (which is mashed pine offcuts mixed with phenol-formaldehyde (and other) resins).

  41. MG: Let’s turn to the Green New Deal. Firstly, why did you choose that term, New Deal?

    AB: We’ve been talking about that in the Greens for some time. We held a conference back in 2009 to promote a Green New Deal in Australia. And it’s a term that is gaining global currency as well. And I think increasingly…

    MG: And has historical context of course from America.
    ————–

    The phrase “Green New Deal” has been around for more than a decade.

    What is the Green New Deal?

    https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/what-is-green-new-deal?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

    “Like its namesake, President Fredrick D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, there’s nothing truly new about the Green New Deal. The concept has been floating around at least 2007, when Thomas L. Friedman used it in an op-ed for The New York Times. He later expanded the idea into a book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, which was read by President Barack Obama.

    Obama would include aspects of a Friedman’s thesis in the 2009 stimulus package. Of the $800 billion spent as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $90 billion was set aside for green initiatives such clean electricity, renewable fuels, smart grids—a move Politico called “a prototype Green New Deal”

    Around the same time, commentator Van Jones used the phrase to describe a push for a green economy that could simultaneously increase jobs and teach labor skills, and British economist Richard Murphy founded the Green New Deal Group. The United Nations called for a global green deal in 2009.

    The idea lost immediacy as other political battles pushed to the forefront of the cultural wars, but it would reemerge as part of the Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein’s 2016 campaigns.”

  42. Cud Chewer says:
    Monday, February 10, 2020 at 9:05 pm
    Oh and in case I didn’t make it clear.
    HSR makes most sense in the corridor between Newcastle and Wollongong. And Brisbane to the Gold Coast. Sydney to Melbourne is a far lower priority. It doesn’t make nearly as much sense as the above corridors. Once you understand that HSR is about competing with car travel.

    This seems to be the case in Japan. For example, the busiest HS line is between Tokyo and Fukuoka (Hakata) with the fastest trains taking a little under five hours. Yet the Tokyo-Fukuoka air route is one of the world’s busiest. This line serves numerous large cities (Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima etc) and most travel is between various city pairs along the line. I suspect there would be relatively few people travelling the entire length of the line, given the high level of air traffic.

  43. bakunin @ #1144 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 9:32 pm

    C@t,

    Embarrassingly for Labor, Greens we’re discussing Rifkins Third Industrial Revolution at their Green New Deal conference in 2009.

    You jumped on the bandwagon a decade to late, loser.

    Or maybe Rifkin identified who the losers were and abandoned The SS Greens. 🙂

    Oh, and you need to learn the difference betweeen to and too, were and we’re. 😀

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