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Tag: Liberals

Stacked Tribunals- the Liberals’  legacy

10 April 2022

There is an election on May 21.  The Liberals are likely to be decimated.  So what is their response?  To stack mates into as many tribunals as possible.

The Fair Work Commission has been totally underfunded by the Liberals, as with the deliberate demise of the Unions it was the only hope for some sort of wage justice and an unsuccessful enforcer against wages theft. Obviously if Labor comes in, it is likely to boost its resources and appoint more judges. So what do the Libs do at 5 seconds to midnight?  Appoint a resource industry human resources manager as Deputy Commissioner.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association CEO, Andrew McConville was made head of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

A Josh Frydenberg minder has been made a commissioner in the Productivity Commission.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has become immensely busy due to people having to appeal for NDIS resource allocation decisions and in the absence of resources, its waiting times have blown out.  It was very involved in the early Robo-debt cases.  M Attorney-General Micaela cash has appointed 19 new appointments and extended 26 others. Six of the 19 were not in the ‘expression of interest’ register, so effectively they are Liberal recruits.

There needs to be an impeccable neutral process for the appointment of judicial officers and members of significant QUANGOs. The abuse of office in appointments to the US Supreme Court are a major issue in terms of long appointments, dictating conservative policies for years. The Liberals seem to be taking a leaf from the US Republicans’ playbook. The question is whether Labor will fix the system, or just tit-for-tat put in their people when the time comes.

www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2022/04/09/coalition-stacking-liberals-across-the-boards/164942640013668

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Liberal Preselection problems are significant in a Binary System

10 April 2022

Now that the election is called, progressives might delight in the bad publicity associated with the Liberals pre-selection battle.

The Saturday Paper had 3 articles yesterday, a front page about Morrison’s personal pre-selection scheming double-cross, an article about ‘How Morrison became a tin-pot dictator’, by Stephen Mutch, a moderate Liberal who was a NSW State MLC and briefly member for Cook, and a comment by ex-Federal leader John Hewson saying that Morrison’s willingness to ride roughshod over constituent processes shows total disregard for rank and file members.

In the immediate term of this election, it may hurt the Liberals, though 6 weeks is long time in politics so many people will forget. In my own experience door-knocking in the North Sydney by-election when Treasurer Joe Hockey resigned to go to New York, a Liberal told me that the local branch had pre-selected a candidate with 36 votes out of 40, and Trent Zimmerman had 2.  But Head office and the branch both had 40 votes, and put in Zimmerman with all their votes, giving him 42.  The local branch members were disgusted and did not help hand out.  Liberals came from other areas to staff the booth; it was a blue ribbon seat and a predictable victory.  Zimmerman is a moderate and the branch had a harder Right candidate, so head office favoured the moderate, who is now asking us to vote for him so that there are some moderates left in the Liberal party.

Similarly, Felicity Wilson, a moderate was parachuted into the State seat of North Sydney against the branch’s desire and against the branch’s more Right-wing candidate. 

Craig Kelly was kept in his seat when the branch wanted to dis-endorse him before last election, but were over-ruled by Morrison’s intervention.  What a success he turned out to be; anti-climate change, and then an anti-vaxxer.  The Libs stuck with him as they needed his vote only to be rewarded as he became an independent and now fronts Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

According to Mutch a ‘troika’ determines pre-selections in NSW; Morrison, Perrottet and he does not name the third person.  The question must be asked, what would happen if the troika did not control the numbers.  Who controls the branches and who would control the pre-selections if it were democratic?

Morrison has claimed to be a moderate, but Alex Hawke, Morrison’s hatchet man as the minder of David Campbell an evangelical Liberal right-wing numbers man in the NSW Upper house in the early 2000s, and was then given a safe seat.   The Right are in control.

The US Republican Party is completely out of touch with the common person in the US and acts in the interests of banks, big business, the gun lobby, fossil fuels, voter restriction and gerrymandering to maintain power.  They seem totally beholden to Donald Trump.  This has happened in about 15 years.  In their campaigning and some of the philosophy the Liberals follow the Republicans closely.  We must ask, ‘Who is joining the Liberal party?’  Fewer and fewer people join political parties, so they are correspondingly easier to stack or influence.  Lobby groups work on politicians, but if they can have members beholden to them for their pre-selections, it would make their lobbying much easier.  The Liberals are perceived as very right wing and very influenced by the right-wing Christian lobby.  Why would anyone else join?  And if they don’t, who will be left to control the grass roots?

In an article in the Sun Herald today (‘Infighting could cost seats: top Liberals) Liberal Federal Vice President Teena McQueen said that sitting members like Trent Zimmerman and Katie Allen could lose their seats but ‘with a couple of lefties gone we can get back to our core philosophy’.

This may not matter for 6 years if Labor wins and gets a second term, or even 9 years if they get a rare third term, but in a binary system the Libs will win eventually, which is why the nature of a major party membership and their pre-selection processes are of interest.  If the Liberals go the way of the US Republicans we are in danger.

Australians generally are sick of the two major parties and their capture by their lobby groups.  The High Court declining to intervene to support the branches was on the ground that political parties are Private entities.  They are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution so have become almost privatised lobbies.  Labor have declined to release many policies to remain a small target because negative campaigning is more cost-effective than positive ideas. The question is whether Labor will actually do the right thing when they get in, or will they be conservative, do very little and leave things as the Liberals have made them in order to stay in power?  Pundits have described the ‘right-wing ratchet’ where the Conservative parties privatise and increase social inequality and the Progressive parties make noise and minor changes, but never actually undo what the Right has done.

The Independents are a fresh start, and the negative campaigning does not work as well against them.  There is a website ‘notindependent.com’ that is owned by the Liberals asking which party the independent will support? This of course tries to turn the whole thing into a binary contest again and the Independent effectively into a major party backbencher.  They also want the Independents to have a comprehensive set of policies, as if the Liberals do!

In the medium term, it may be reassuring to think that if a tradition of Independents can be established the major parties will not have it all their way, but this does not solve the problem of a Republican-like Liberal Party.

My own answer is a major change to the constitution with citizen-initiated referenda at 3 levels of government able to overturn Parliamentary decisions, part-time politicians limited to 2 terms so that politics is not a career and there are no significant party hierarchies to climb, multiple political parties so that no single one ever has an absolute majority and the members’ retirement plan is their current job.  This will take years of campaigning to achieve, so we’d better get on with it, or the increasing power and vulnerability of a private political party will have us following the US model, just a few years behind. 

www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2022/04/09/how-scott-morrison-became-tin-pot-dictator/164942640013667#mtr

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NSW By-Elections:- Greens Hand Willoughby and NSW Parliament to the Libs

13 February 2022

There were 4 by-elections on Saturday. The Liberal vote fell, which is normal in by-elections, especially with a Federal government as hopeless as this one and the NSW pork-barreling reports, iCare incompetence and dodgy rail entities to dress up the books.


In Willoughby the Liberal primary vote fell 14.65%, from 57.03% to 42.38% (in the count so far). But what is interesting is that the Greens have given the seat to the Liberals by not allocating preferences. At the latest count, the Libs got 42.38%, Larissa Penn, a credible independent got 31.36% (up from 9.91% when she stood last time) and the Greens 11.64%.


Note the maths: Independent + Greens = 43.0%. Libs= 42.38%


Larissa Penn, the leading independent has stood before and would appear to be a considerable improvement on a right-wing Liberal who also ensures continuing Liberal dominance in the Parliament. A lot of votes are still not counted and it is not certain that she would have won even with Green preferences, but it certainly would have been a line ball. The other candidates who together got 14.62% may well have favoured a progressive independent over the status quo. William Bourke of Sustainable Australia got 3.44%, Penny Hackett of the Reason Party (previously called Voluntary Euthanasia Party) got 5.97% and even the LibDems at 2.67% may well have favoured an independent over a Lib. This is what preferential voting is for. I do know that a bigger cross bench makes for better legislation.


The major parties introduced optional preferential supposedly to make it easier for voters who didn’t know about those little parties and were in danger of voting informal. In reality they did it because if preferences exhaust it becomes ‘first past the post’ which favours those with big primaries. The big parties can (and have) put in a few dodgy independents to soak up the primaries of other independents and win even though a majority of people did not want them. Minor parties should stick together and allocate preferences. It is most irresponsible of the Greens not to do this. I wonder if they are scared of ‘like-minded independents’ and would rather have just the major parties and themselves than more diversity in Parliament Their long-term voting strategy of frequently exhausting their preferences rather than numbering all squares would support this proposition. In this case they numbered no squares themselves but put ‘VOTE 1’ then the lame recommendation ‘then number the other squares in order of your preferences’. Perhaps this was a sop from head office to the candidate, and perhaps the swing was bigger than anticipated and if they thought the Liberals were beatable they may have done differently. Perhaps, perhaps, but the Libs will keep a seat that may have changed hands, sent a big symbolic message and changed the parliament significantly. Silly Greens. The Libs should be very grateful to the Greens but will hope that no one will notice that the anti-democratic fiddle of optional preferential has really helped them this time.


In Bega the Liberals had a 13.46% swing against them (48.91 to 35.45%) and Labor picked up 11.93% (30.59 to 42.52%) and gained the seat. The Greens dropped 2% and the Shooters entered the fray and picked up 5.47%. We may have had a COVID and pork-barrel election up here, but down there where the bushfires wiped out whole towns and numbers of people were huddled on the beaches and rescued by the navy the government may have been in trouble for different reasons. But the swing was still very similar to Willoughby.


In Strathfield, Labor held on, but did not look too flash considering the mess the Liberals are in. Their primary vote fell from 44.30 to 40.07% (4.23%). The Liberal vote fell from 38.89 to 37.24% (only 1.65%). The combined major party vote fell from 83.19 to 77.28% (5.91%), and the Greens fell from 8.79 to 5.94% (2.85%). This was probably due to Elizabeth Farrelly, the well-known SMH journalist who is stridently in favour of better town planning and was sacked by the SMH when it was revealed that she was a member of the ALP. She stood as an independent, got 9.28% and did not direct preferences, giving her almost no chance. The Labor candidate Jason Sun-Yat Li is a good person, but did not live in the electorate, which is a bad look. He will, however, be an asset to the somewhat talent-poor NSW Labor Parliamentarians.


In Monaro, which the Nationals retained after the retirement of leader John Barilaro is likely to get little attention. The National’s primary vote fell from 52.31 to 45.48% (6.83%) which was similar to what Labor gained 27.16 to 33.04% (5.88%). The Shooters did not stand in the by-election adding their 7.78% to the pool, but an Independent who got 5.93% took up much of this and the combined major party votes only fell from 79.47 to 78.52% (0.95%).As the percentage of postal and early votes continues to rise the margin of error of these figures is increased but the sample size is large enough for the results to probably stand, (unlike in the Hunters Hill local elections where the pre-poll and postal vote varied significantly from the polling days votes, probably influenced by an anonymous defamatory leaflet which was miraculously delivered to the whole electorate on the Wednesday night, favouring the Liberals. The change in the voting pattern gave them the mayoral election.)


The NSW Parliament will have one less Liberal, so the numbers will be Liberals 33, Nationals 12 (=Coalition 45), Labor 37, Greens 3, Shooters 3 and Independents 5. With a total of 93, it takes 47 votes for a majority, but the Coalition 45 can still rely on two of the independents, John Sidoti and Gareth Ward as these two were elected as Liberals. They both resigned from the Liberal party but not the Parliament after allegations were made against them, Sidoti from ICAC re property development in Fivedock and Ward after allegations of sexual violence. It is interesting that both our Federal and NSW state governments rely on people who left their party for embarrassing reasons to survive.


Business as usual. Thanks Greens.

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Government Scandals

28 March 2021

James Dupres has put together this interim list of scandals by this Federal Government. It is still expanding, but a valuable resource for those who want to recall what has been happening. We look forward to his articles.

May be an image of text that says "In Alphabetical Order. AdaniRail HawaiiHoliday AgedCareCss HelloWorld APSOutsourcing HillsongFunding Funding Asylumgate Icaregate AuPairs IndueCard BankingCommission JobkeeperKept BarrierReefgate Juvenilel Detentio BrittanyRape MurdochPayout BushfireAbandonment NBNgate Cash4Visas INTGrants Chinagate Paladin Chris tianPorterGate PalmerJetGrant Parakeeliagate QAnonConnection RoboDebt RubyPrincess SercoFraud ServeGateCharity SportsRorts StafferAbuse Submarinegate Taylorgate Vaccine VaccineBotched Botched Watergate [Firesga Furnitur Grants GrassLandsGate GrassLan Can't for the life of me figure out why the LNP are not long dead and buried by all this?"

Here are the references for the topics!

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The End of Scomo?

26 March 2021

We have heard so many stories about bad treatment of women in Parliament, that each one now becomes just become one more and focus has shifted to the government’s response.

Prime Minister Morrison has been hugely criticised for his response, which now belatedly includes thanking rape victim Brittany Higgins for bring up the subject.  SMH 26/3/21.

Having protected Christian Porter he is now considering a cabinet reshuffle, which supposed moves Porter but does not sack him.  This is unlikely to placate criticism, and the criticism may eventually threaten his own position. SMH 26/3/21

The talent pools seems quite shallow with over-religious people, but Treasurer Josh Frydenburg seems the most likely and is apparently replete with ambition.  He has experience in banking, law, and international relations.  A son of Jewish post-war refugees, he was educated in Jewish private schools and is very pro-Israel.  It is rumoured that Lachlan Murdoch would like to see the change from Morrison to Frydenburg, which may give the Liberals a better chance in next year’s election. 

Morrison has concentrated all the attention for this government on himself, so it he goes the Libwrals can pretend that there have been big changes.  There is a lot of precedent for this as a successful tactic.  When Abbott won the 2013 electi0on and quickly became unpopular, he was replaced by Turnbull, who managed to turn the tide just long enough to win the 2016 election.  Turnbull was powerless within his party and when this was perceived, the Liberals again crashed in the polls, but Morrison replaced Turnbull and they won again in 2019.  Now if Frydenburg replaces Morrison, Labor remains lack-lustre, COVID recedes helping an unexpected recovery, can they win a 4th time?  No doubt that is the Liberals hope.

Morrison’s track record may come back onto focus.

www.michaelwest.com.au/scott-john-morrison-where-the-bloody-hell-did-he-come-from/

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Truth in the COVID-19 Era: Australia

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is perceived to have done well in managing the COVID-19 crisis as, smarting from his bushfire debacle, he took expert advice.  He has used the crisis to shut down Parliament and with his use of State Premiers as a sort of wartime Cabinet he has bypassed the Labor opposition.  Now he […]

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Charity, Government and Institutions

27 May 2020 The comedian Celeste Barbour set out to raise $30,000 for fire relief and people gave $51 million. She was going to give it to the Rural Fire Service. It turns out that the. RFS is basically a government-funded body which buys fire equipment, and had received rather less than recommended in the […]

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Government Steals Clean Energy Finance for Fossil Fuel Development

4 May 2020 Angus Taylor, the Energy Minister has announced a $300 million new hydrogen project, but has not specified that it be powered by renewable energy and he wants to use gas to produce the hydrogen. There is fine rhetoric about trying to get the cost of hydrogen to $2 a kg, but the […]

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Welfare- the target of the conservatives.

2 November 2016 They can spend a fortune on Joint Strike Fighters that the Canadians have abandoned as a bad joke. They can spend $50 million putting diesel engines in French nuclear submarines. They can spend more being cruel to refugees than the entire UNHCR (Commission for Refugees) budget, but they still claim to be […]

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