Doctor and activist


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Tag: Labor

Barnaby Joyce may make more trouble for Labor

26 June 2021

There has been a lot of talk about how Barnaby will make trouble for the Coalition. The few progressives there who were trying to do things on Climate Change will have an even harder road. Basically the Government has taken the easy road of looking at short term changes to mining jobs, and pleasing the fossil fuel donors.

Whereas once politicians at least pretended to govern for everyone, now they unashamedly are only interested in their own voters and getting the best deal for them, never mind what the rest of the country does or gets.

I am reminded of a deal in the US where the armaments manufacturers were in the North  and the tobacco growers were in the South.  Both would have lost if there was a vote on their issue.  But when the armaments industry and the tobacco farmers made a pact to vote together, they always won.  So arms got huge budgets and tobacco got subsidies and no impediments from the health lobby. The consequences of this for the whole world were considerable.

So back here in Oz, Fitzgibbon is trying to get Labor to ‘go back to its roots’, which means chasing the dying jobs as they did in the forest industry.  It was a bad sign when the energetic and forward-looking Mark Butler was moved from the Energy portfolio. He had been the voice for sustainable development and renewable energy.  Labor sat unconvincingly on the fence, not wanting to offend those of us who saw action on Climate Change as their key responsibility, and doing a pathetic ‘me too’ to the supposed coal voters in the marginal seats.  The Liberal Lite trick will not work.  We are not impressed with the idea that we have to vote for them because they are marginally better than the Libs.

Labor has to get a policy to go to renewable energy and sustainable development.  There have been a plethora of templates with job opportunities in making and installing solar, wind and batteries.  No one has talked about pumped hydro.  Miners are not without skills in many areas, which would make them easier to re-skill than most. 

Morrison may have an early election.  The bad vaccine rollout makes Australia vulnerable to repeated lockdown, and this and an inability to travel will look worse as the vaccinated First World wakes up and moves before us.  Morrison will look bad in Glasgow at the Climate Summit late in the year.  Why not go now, with the current warm glow that there is not much COVID about and add a bit of a China scare?

This is suggested by Dennis Atkins in The New Daily, and the link to the Fran Kelly interview shows the skill with which Matt Canavan weaves the China scare into the need to keep the coal moving.  A lot of careful thought has been put into this hayseed strategy.  Labor needs to wake up, and the Greens need to have the strategy, even if Labor is smart enough to steal it. 

https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/australian-politics/2021/06/26/lester-maddox-barnaby-joyce/?fbclid=IwAR0LZIeIHsKhHdT9FOTcw6YIN4dIpcCAV2Wy4AiLn5COPDAnjRQUTrzKsXE

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NSW Politics- the Upper Hunter Farce Continues.

27 May 2021

I was going to write about the farce of the Upper Hunter by-Election, as there was plenty to say about that, so I will start there, but now there is more!

The first thing to say is that the National Party vote fell 2.8% to 31%, which is less than a third of primary votes, yet they claimed a victory!  They claimed that this was because they supported coal mining, yet a lot of farmers and those no directly depended non coal though that this was a bad idea, and it is not clear that this overblown endorsement  of coal is justified.  Labor lost 7.5% to get 21.2% and are now tearing themselves apart- see below for more.  The Shooters lost 10.1%, but this may because One Nation entered the race and got 12.3%. Independents did quite well with a total of 16.8%, with Kirsty O’Connell who was anti-coal being endorsed by Malcolm Turnbull and getting 8.8%. These are all primary votes, because almost two thirds of voters did not give preferences, being encouraged to ‘Just Vote 1’ which means that effectively the Primary vote will determine the outcome, creating a massive advantage to the major parties, which translates into a NSW gerrymander where the Major parties get a much higher percentage of the seat than they got of the primary votes.  It makes a farce of democracy .

Labor should have benefited from the fact that the by-election was rendered necessary by the incumbent Michael Johnsen being accused of raping a sex worker in Parliament House and denying it but still resigning!   But Labor looked very weak because it sits on the fence with coal mining, wanting the current coal miners vote, but also pretending to be the party of progress against climate change.  Their sitting on the fence which was disastrous in Queensland in the last Federal election was disastrous again.  They should have had a plan to transition out of coal with environmental jobs plan, but they seem incapable of such a strategy.  Arguably the State was punished for the Federal deficiency, but NSW State Labor has plenty of incompetence of its own. 

Labor, having lost in a by-election where they are supposed to increase their vote seems keen to do a lot of blood-letting.  After the years of domination by Obeid and the Right and a history of corruption and nepotism there is a very shallow talent pool.  The colourless Jodi Mckay seems to have had no impact on Gladys Berejeklian, despite scandals about sex and asset misallocation, and personal deliberate ignorance.  McKay had apparently cobbled together the numbers to survive, and people moved against her.  The plausible Chris Minns looked likely to be standing up, but John Barilaro, himself no stranger to questionable land deals in Queanbeyan, released a ‘dirt file’ to stop Minns’ ascent.  The file was called ‘Why Chris Minns and Jamie Clements can never run the NSW Labor Party’.  Jamie Clements was accused of sexual assault by a former staffer, and of taking improper donations from a Chinese property developer, Mr Huang.  Presumably there was also something in the file of substance about Minns also, as he resigned from Shadow Cabinet.  It might be noted that he was Shadow Transport Minister yet has not had his voice heard despite the fact that the Liberal strategy of funding underground freeways and selling them as monopolies to the private sector seems to have come from the Los Angeles town planners of the 1960s who recommended getting rid of trams to have private cars as the main means of transport, with a dash of Thatcherite privatisation thrown in. 

Labor’s corruption scandals have sapped their talent and seemingly discouraged good people.  Carmel Tebbutt, John Watkins and Graham West were very good people who resigned before they might have been expected to. 

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Medicare- Did the Liberals try to abolish it?

21 June 2016 This is a current question with Shorten claiming that the Liberals are trying to privatise it and Turnbull calling this a Labor lie. What is the truth?  The answer is in the history of Medicare funding.  Medibank was set up by the Whitlam government and the bulk billing frees were set at […]

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