Return of the frack

A contentious preference recommendation by the Greens brings a Northern Territory by-election to life, while the closure of nominations yields only a small field of candidates for the Queensland seat of Currumbin.

No Newspoll this week, owing to The Australian’s enthusiasm for unleashing them at the start of parliamentary sitting weeks, requiring a three week break rather than the usual two. However, we do have a extensive new poll on the bushfire crisis from the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre. It finds that fully 78.6% of the population reports being affected by the fires in one way or another, 14.4% severely or directly. Half the sample of 3000 respondents was asked how Scott Morrison had handled the bushfires, of whom 64.5% disapproved; for the other half the question was framed in terms of the government, with 59.4% disapproving.

Beyond that, there’s the two state/territory by-election campaigns currently in progress:

• I have posted a guide to next Saturday’s by-election in the Northern Territory seat of Johnston, which has suddenly became of more than marginal interest owing to the Greens decision to put Labor last on their how-to-vote cards (albeit that local electoral laws prevent these being distributed within close proximity of polling booths). This has been done to protest the decision by Michael Gunner’s Labor government to lift a moratorium on gas fracking exploration. The party has not taken such a step in any jurisdiction since the Queensland state election of July 1995, when it sought to punish Wayne Goss’s government in the seat of Springwood over a planned motorway through a koala habitat. This made a minor contribution to its loss of the seat, and hence to its eventual removal from office after a by-election defeat the following February. There’s acres of useful information on all this on Antony Green’s new blog, which he is publishing independently due to the ABC’s cavalier treatment of the invaluable blog he had there in happier times. There will also be a piece by me on the Greens’ decision in Crikey today, God willing.

• The other by-election in progress at the moment is for the Queensland seat of Currumbin on March 28, for which my guide can be found guide can be found here. With the closure of nominations last week, only two candidates emerged additional to Laura Gerber of the Liberal National Party and Kaylee Campradt of Labor: Sally Spain of the Greens, a perennial candidate for the party in federal and state Gold Coast seats; and Nicholas Bettany of One Nation, about whom the only thing I can tell you is that he recently deleted his Twitter account (what’s preserved of it on the Google cache reveals nothing particularly outrageous).

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.

1,591 comments on “Return of the frack”

Comments Page 28 of 32
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  1. I see Bernie’s “three houses” are giving the never-ending anti-Greens tirades from BW a reprieve for the afternoon.

    Weekend at Bernie’s 3 houses?

  2. I see that we are getting three sorts of answers to ‘Three House Sanders Budget Plan’:

    1. Clinton said the same thing so there mustn’t be anything in it. (This is below contempt.)
    2. In a $50 trillion budget what is a trillion here or there? (It is not a trillion here or there, see below.)
    3. Shaking the magic money tree will fix everything. (Uh huh, this time it is different).

    Let’s just take a step back and look at Three House Sanders’ big budget picture:

    He comes up short $3 trillion just on education, health and social services as per calculations in previous post.

    Add another $1 trillion for fed budget odds and sods per year.
    That is $4 trillion short a year.

    Add the current deficit of $1 trillion a year.
    That is $5 trillion short a year.

    He also inherits $24 trillion debt.
    Say, cost of debt, $1 trillion a year.

    That is $6 trillion SHORT a year.

    Even in a $50 trillion economy*, $6 trillion SHORT a year is going to bust the bank. You don’t have to be a Liberal, a Neo-Liberal, a commie or a socialist to KNOW that that is not going to work.

    Sander’s socialist magic money tree** is going to get a hammering alright – in social media.

    Three House Sanders is going to get slaughtered.

    *The time to flee the market is when the spivs start carrying on about how ‘this time it is different.’

    **If Sanders tries to tax an extra $6 trillion a year to balance the books, there will be the usual mass capital strike and mass capital flight. This happens every single time a state decides to seriously soak the rich. The reason the rich tend to stay rich is that they are mean and they are agile. They will bugger off. Johnson, for example, will welcome them with open arms.

    So, pretty soon there will no longer be a $50 trillion US economy.

  3. jenauthor:

    The Bernie brigade underestimates the hesitancy that most voters feel about a ‘bold revolution’.

    And we saw it here in May 19

    For the umpteenth time, US and Australian elections are very different beasts. There is far less need to win over the middle-of-the-road, swinging voter in the US, where the majority of people don’t even show up to vote.

    Did you predict a Morrison win in 2019? A Trump win in 2016? I’m guessing not. If not, don’t claim to know what ‘most voters’ want.

  4. Why am I not surprised that Inner Urbs Greens wealthy elites are quite happy for Socialist Sanders to have three houses?

    This is the same crowd that cling grimly to their knowledge economy wealth and their right to spew 17 tons of CO2 emissions into the air (the second highest per capita in the world) until Der Tag when the Greens government makes them STOP doing precisely that.

  5. @Mr Newbie

    Bernie Sanders does appeal to some who voted for Trump in 2016, especially in the ‘rust belt’ states. None of the other Democratic contenders can appeal those who voted for Trump in 2016.

    However I am predicting a contested convention with somebody else other than Sanders getting the nomination, leading to Trump winning in November.

  6. BW:

    Why am I not surprised that Inner Urbs Greens wealthy elites are quite happy for Socialist Sanders to have three houses?

    I live in a regional city, I don’t own property, I don’t vote Green.

    Now what other simplistic cliches can you try tarring me with?

  7. Boerwar
    The pro-tax crowd don’t understand the hostility to taxation and somehow believe people wake up and go to work in the morning for the benefit of government. In today’s capital markets billions can be moved in the time it takes to read this comment and a tax wont stop it.

  8. Mind you, I am with Three House Sanders all the way.
    Everyone should have three houses.
    Then there would be no excuses for the half million US homeless people.

  9. Queen Victoria
    @Vic_Rollison
    ·
    7m
    If Morrison is serious that the Royal Commission into Bushfires is going to acknowledge the role of climate change, the Royal Commission must investigate links between Lib Nats and coal industry, and explain why these links lead Lib Nats to refuse to take climate action.

  10. “I see that we are getting three sorts of answers to ‘Three House Sanders Budget Plan’:

    1. Clinton said the same thing so there mustn’t be anything in it. (This is below contempt.)
    2. In a $50 trillion budget what is a trillion here or there? (It is not a trillion here or there, see below.)
    3. Shaking the magic money tree will fix everything. (Uh huh, this time it is different).”

    You missed number 4: its already being paid – and in fact would cost less than current health expenditure based on studies by at least 2 think tanks (link in my previous post)

  11. Independent Australia published a piece that I wrote about the causes of unemployment.

    https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/australias-unemployment-crisis-the-job-seekers-game-of-musical-chairs,13611

    There is a typo at the end of paragraph five: it says “involuntary full unemployment” instead of “involuntary unemployment”. I have asked the editor to correct this sentence.

    I love having the opportunity to share my learning with readers, and to learn from the many contributors to Independent Australia.

    I am very grateful to Steven Hail for encouraging me to submit articles to Independent Australia. ☺️

  12. PvO with a quite cynical report on Morrison’s RC, on Ch 10 news. Ended his segment with a dig at Morrison in Hawaii while the fires raged and forcing the lady to shake his hand.

  13. @Mexicanbeemer

    If the government were crack down hard on the tax avoidance of multimillionaires and major corporations. I believe that would be very popular with the voters, because voters would see the government targeting the top 1%, instead of the top 20% (which some voters saw Labor’s tax policies at the 2019 election targeting).

  14. poroti: “OMFG ! Burn the Bernie, his health plans will cost $32,000,000,000,000 over ten years. Now if only they can keep it a secret that current policy equates
    to $36,000,000,000,000.”

    exactly.

  15. “Why am I not surprised that Inner Urbs Greens wealthy elites are quite happy for Socialist Sanders to have three houses?”

    Now *THAT* is beyond contempt.

  16. Tristo
    You can crack down on tax avoidance but there has never been a time in history when people have liked being taxed and they will look for ways to reduce their taxes. The ideally romantic idea that people will embrace being taxed for the so called common good ignores history and human nature as many rulers have discovered.

  17. Tristo
    “Bernie Sanders does appeal to some who voted for Trump in 2016, especially in the ‘rust belt’ states. None of the other Democratic contenders can appeal those who voted for Trump in 2016.”

    I’m not saying you’re wrong… but I’d really like some numbers to back this up.

  18. Sanders does poll well among the counties where Trump is strongest. The image of Sanders supporters being uni students is somewhat misleading as New Hampshire showed last week.

  19. Mexicanbeemer
    “Sanders does poll well among the counties where Trump is strongest. ”

    But does Sanders poll BETTER than Trump in these counties?

  20. Boerwar

    So, pretty soon there will no longer be a $50 trillion US economy.

    It’s about $20 trillion.

    Capital strikes and various other games (rich) people play don’t work against the global reserve currency holder (also back by nuclear weapons)

    Main problem with Sen. Sanders are lack of judgement and lack of competence. Of course there is a strong argument that this doesn’t matter too much, based on the incumbent. However Sen Sanders would presumably be trying to do something, whilst Mr Trump is simply trying to enrich himself.

    There is no reason to believe the US economy can’t operate with higher tax rates – it previously had much higher rates and operated better (more growth) when it did so.

  21. ‘Mr Newbie says:
    Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    BW:

    Why am I not surprised that Inner Urbs Greens wealthy elites are quite happy for Socialist Sanders to have three houses?

    I live in a regional city, I don’t own property, I don’t vote Green.

    Now what other simplistic cliches can you try tarring me with?’

    The number of people on this blog who quack like Greens and who waddle like Greens but who are not Greens is simply amazing. Of course if you are not a Greens my Greens comments cannot possibly apply to you.

    As you were, Mr Newbie.

  22. KayJay

    Yes, I still have a brain, I assume, as the X-Ray dept didn’t go into panic. 😉 😉

    Last year I had a shunt installed to reduce pressure from something called normal pressure hydrocephalus. This was a scan to check how effective it has been. From my pov it’s restored my balance and fixed various other problems. So I’m very chuffed.

  23. Whoops, out by $30 trillion!

    So, a $20 trillion economy but still with a $6 trillion shortfall in Sanders’ proposed budget.

    Makes it even worse.

    I can see Sanders’ pro-tax soak-the-rich slogan now:

    ‘No Rich Person Can Have More Than One House!’

  24. Kakuru

    There was definitely some crossover in appeal.Especially before Trump won the nomination. Trump touched on issues Bernie bangs on about like excessive healthcare costs and it went down a treat with his crowd. There is ,with good reason, a great sense that the average citizen is getting a raw deal at the expense of the powerful. Trump and Bernie are a million miles apart politically but in both sets of supporters there are large numbers who really do want a fairer go for “ordinary people”. Both appealed to people who wanted to shake the system up as business as usual sucked.

  25. ‘Big A Adrian says:
    Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    “Why am I not surprised that Inner Urbs Greens wealthy elites are quite happy for Socialist Sanders to have three houses?”

    Now *THAT* is beyond contempt.’

    Beyond contempt?

    Being a socialist and having three houses while half a million of your fellow citizens are homeless?

    Emitting 17 tons of CO2 emissions a year while wailing about the climate emergency?

    Being an inner urbs who delivers no ecosystem services but planning to regulate farmers to deliver ecosystem services so that the inner urbs can enjoy the amenity?

    Pretending that you are the farmers’ friend while secretly planning to knock of 605 Gigaliters of irrigation licences?

  26. Mr Newbie

    ‘ A Trump win in 2016? I’m guessing not. If not, don’t claim to know what ‘most voters’ want.’\

    Trump may have won in 2016, but he wasn’t what most voters wanted.

  27. Paradise Dam inquiry hears key construction documents are yet to be located

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-20/paradise-dam-inquiry-reveal-documents-missing/11976112

    An independent Inquiry into the structural issues of Bundaberg’s Paradise Dam has heard documents relating to its construction are missing, and appropriate core testing of its strength may not have occurred after it was built.
    :::
    In November 2019, the Queensland Government announced an inquiry into the structural issues of Paradise Dam after technical reports showed the faults originated with its initial construction.
    :::
    He said Paradise Dam, which was built by the State Government between 2003 and 2005, was an important asset to the community.
    :::
    Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey hoped the inquiry would determine how one of Australia’s youngest dams came to be so flawed, and who was responsible.

    “It’s one of the largest infrastructure failures in history,” Councillor Dempsey said.

    Peter Beattie was Labor premier during the time the dam was constructed.

  28. https://www.pollbludger.net/2020/02/18/return-of-the-frack/comment-page-28/#comment-3344943

    Sanders only needs to poll better than Trump at a state level (or Congressional district level in Maine and the potentially winnable (but outside chance) district in Nebraska), not at individual county level. Polling higher than Clinton is these counties helps close the gap with Trump at a state level, even if Trump in not outpolled in these individual counties.

    Sanders is also the best polling Democrat against Trump in Texas, close enough to be within the margin of error, with a 2% gap. If Trump does not win Texas, his chances of winning overall are very small.

    https://www.texastribune.org/2020/02/14/bernie-sanders-leading-texas-ahead-super-tuesday-uttt-poll-says/

  29. Eddie Obeid trial: Anthony Albanese gives evidence about friendship with former minister Ian Macdonald

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/feb/20/eddie-obeid-trial-anthony-albanese-gives-evidence-about-friendship-with-former-minister-ian-macdonald

    Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese has given evidence to the trial of Eddie Obeid, Moses Obeid and Ian Macdonald, detailing his once-friendly relationship with Macdonald and recounting a meeting of party powerbrokers to discuss the then-resource minister’s preselection.
    :::
    On Thursday, Albanese was called to give evidence about a 2006 meeting of NSW Labor powerbrokers at the now-closed Noble House restaurant in Sydney. The meeting took place the year before the alleged criminal conspiracy is said to have occurred.

    In attendance were Foley, Albanese, Macdonald, NSW Labor senator Doug Cameron and senior Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union officials, including Paul Bastian. The meeting was to decide whether Macdonald should be preselected for the 2007 ticket. Macdonald had been in NSW parliament since the late 1980s, but Albanese said it was party convention that ministers were automatically preselected.
    :::
    In cross-examination, Albanese said he and Macdonald met in the 1980s and knew each other personally. They went to sport games together, to each other’s homes, and confided personal matters with one another.

  30. Pegasus @ #1195 Thursday, February 20th, 2020 – 12:13 pm

    NSW government drops forestry privatisation plan after bushfires devastate plantation

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/20/nsw-government-drops-forestry-privatisation-plan-after-bushfires-devastate-plantation

    This is very interesting. I spoke a while ago to a senior Forestry person, who said that they had had staff cuts and had exhausted their budget a while ago and were not expecting to get any more money this year.

    This means that – despite whatever the state government might have been saying – they have no plans (because they have no funds) to address any of the bushfire damage, such as rebuilding any of the hundreds of burned out bridges, roads etc.

    This article perhaps explains how this came about – i.e. the government has been stripping Forestry bare, prior to selling them off.

    The same source said that Forestry now expected to have no income for the next few years, as there was almost nothing left to log.

    This whole privatization thing has backfired(!) badly on the government. I would be tempted to say “Gosh, how sad …”, except that we will be some of the people who will be very, very badly affected, because our bridges are now unlikely to be rebuilt anytime soon 🙁

  31. Bernie is going to get done over by the DNC (again, because he is unelectable ) and a Mayor. I just don’t know which Mayor.

    Bucephalus would know a mayor when he sees one.

  32. Trump may have won in 2016, but he wasn’t what most voters wanted.

    Voting dont always tell you what they want, what they really really want.

  33. In light of some of the comments above, I have adjusted the back-of-the-envelope figures, popping in a trillion in here, pulling a trillion out there. Dirksen* said that a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you are talking real money. It is getting to be a trillion here and a trillion there.

    I can see that doing the numbers over ten years outrages conscientious budgeteers. Fair enough, too. Very bodgie and exactly what your meanie (aka neo Liberal) opponents will do to you every single time.

    So, let’s all forget the $50 trillion deficit over ten years stuff.

    Let’s just do it a year at a time so the figures mean something very vaguely real. :

    Free education for all: $2 trillion per annum.

    Free medicare for all: $3.8 trillion per annum.

    Social services for all: $1 trillion per annum.

    Total for education, medicare and social services $6.8 trillion.

    Size of current Budget: $3.8 trillion.

    Shortfall on health, education and social services alone: $3 trillion.

    (This leaves nothing for Defence $.75 trillion; US foreign aid, $50 billion; Environment, $6 billion; law enforcement, $14 billion; agriculture, $140 billion; housing $44 billion; Transport $7 billion a year, etc, etc, etc.)

    So, add a trillion to the Budget for odds and sods (over education, health and social services).

    Cumulative annual shortfall on health, education, social services and odds and sods, $4 trillion.

    Add current budget deficit around $1 trillion.

    Cumulative Sander’s socialist shortfall on health, education, social services, odds and sods, and current deficit, $5 trillion.

    In an economy of $20 trillion.

    With a debt of around $24 trillion.

    Soak the rich will do what it has everywhere else. It will cause immediate capital flight and immediate capital strike.

    *
    https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Senator_Everett_Mckinley_Dirksen_Dies.htm

  34. BW

    The number of people on this blog who quack like Greens and who waddle like Greens but who are not Greens is simply amazing.

    Just like the number of people here who post like RWNJ’s, day in, day out, but supposedly vote Labor.

  35. Song of Three House Socialist Sanders

    ‘Give me your tired, your poor
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
    Send these the homeless tempest-tost to me
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
    Give me your tired, your poor votes
    But don’t come a’knockin’ on my three front doors!’

  36. Bellwether

    No. But if you think I might be able to snag some of his billions, where might I apply?

    Seriously, though, Sanders is a hypocrite IF he has three houses while half a million go homeless. He cannot possibly have it both ways. He does not have to be poor as a church mouse. He just has to have one house.

    This is same, same as those Greens who emit 17 tons of CO2 emissions are hypocrites when they complain about a climate emergency. (It is a bit like the Greens are watching their leaking boat fill with water but refusing to bail because it is up to the Government to pass legislation against boat leaks).

  37. zoomster @ #1334 Thursday, February 20th, 2020 – 3:52 pm

    ‘Labor to announce net zero emissions target by 2050 and will oppose taxpayer funding of new coal power
    Exclusive: Anthony Albanese is expected to confirm in speech on Friday that Labor will oppose using Kyoto carryover credits..’

    None of this should surprise anybody.

    These are both fairly meaningless commitments. Nobody is going to build a new coal-fired power station, and the UN and the other signatories to the Paris Agreement are not going to allow the use of Kyoto carryover credits.

    What would surprise me – in a good way – is if Labor commits to winding back fossil fuel subsidies.

    Is this likely?

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