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Tag: Liberals

Liberals Still Need 20 State Election Candidates:  Incredible arrogance from Headless Chooks!

25 February 2023

It is mind boggling that 4 weeks out from the NSW State election the Liberals still have not selected candidates in 20 seats.  There are 93 lower house seats in the State.

The idea that a candidate comes from his/her electorate, knows it and is trusted by it seems a distant memory, perhaps a dream.  From the tiny numbers left in the major parties, a candidate will be selected by the factions, presumably depending on Party loyalty and their not having rocked the boat.  The voters are supposed to be pathetically grateful and vote them in with a rousing cheer about ‘stable’, (i.e. win every parliamentary vote) government.

Let us hope that the Teals change this script.

Liberals still need 20 candidates a month before poll

Alexandra Smith, Tom Rabe  SMH 25/2/23

The Liberal Party is scrambling to finalise candidates to run in almost 20 seats across NSW just a month out from the state election, including in the independent-held electorate of Kiama.

While Labor has a handful of electorates without a candidate, among the many seats the Liberals are yet to fill is the one held by former government minister-turned independent Gareth Ward.

Ward, a long-time powerbroker in his area, was suspended from the parliament and the Liberal Party after he was charged with sexual assault. He has denied any wrongdoing and remains before the court, where the matter is scheduled to be heard after the election. Ward is recontesting his seat.

The NSW division of the Liberal Party came under fire during the federal election campaign for delays in selecting candidates.

Premier Dominic Perrottet vowed that he would not allow similar delays to plague his campaign, but the party has struggled to find suitable candidates for many seats.

Labor wants to finish pre-selections for all 93 lower house seats by Monday, ahead of nominations closing on March 8. The Liberals, however, are yet to field candidates in a host of seats, including Auburn, Bankstown, Granville, Port Stephens, Rockdale, Strathfield, Wyong and Blue Mountains.

The Liberals hope to finalise some seats this weekend but will still have more than a dozen outstanding. Their Coalition partners, the Nationals, have had all candidates in place for some time.

Meanwhile, NSW Labor leader Chris Minns is backing a push to run former state cabinet minister Steve Whan in the southern electorate of Monaro, held by the Nationals.

Whan, who held Monaro from 2003 until Labor lost in a landslide in 2011, is seen by the party as its best chance to win the seat following former NRL Canberra Raiders player Terry Campese’s shock withdrawal as the ALP candidate. Campese quit after it emerged that he had attended a risque party while scantily clad.

The Nationals had identified Monaro, once held by former deputy premier John Barilaro, as one of its most at risk seats when Campese was running, and Labor is desperate to win it.

A captain’s pick is also likely in the safe Labor seat of Fairfield, as federal energy minister Chris Bowen moves to install his preferred candidate, former Australian Federal Police agent David Saliba.

A senior Labor source confirmed Whan and Saliba ‘‘both enjoy the support of Minns’’.

Asked when the Liberals would announce a candidate for Kiama, Perrottet said it was a matter for the party and refused to rule out preferencing Ward.

‘‘There’s obviously 93 seats to fill, so my expectation is as soon as possible,’’ Perrottet said. ‘‘I don’t set those arrangements, that’s a matter for the organisation. Obviously, the Liberals intend on running in all the seats that we have in the past.’’ He said both parties were working through their preselection processes and pointed out that the Labor Party had not yet selected a candidate to contest his electorate.

‘‘I am the member for Epping, Labor doesn’t have a candidate in Epping,’’ he said.

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The Myth of Liberal Competence- 2

19 November 2022

One of the concepts I tried to advocate while I was in NSW Parliament was ‘evidence-based’ legislation.  There were many cases when an anecdote was told, and the conclusion from it was ‘therefore we need this legislation.’  It was particularly the case where there had been some crime that was in the media and the penalties were being racked up.  Despite the fact that it had generally been shown that higher penalties did not change the incidence of crime, the same response always seemed to occur.

During one of these endless debates, I suggested that what was needed overall was evidence-based legislation.  Hopefully someone would collect facts as well as they could be ascertained and that would result in appropriate legislation.  One  might have even hoped that this was the norm.  My speech resulted  in hilarious laughter from the chamber, which was naturally not recorded by Hansard.  But it said quite a lot about how Parliament thought and acted.

Another unsuccessful request I made was that the Social Issues Committee of which I was a member, and Committees generally should either do ongoing research on issues or commission a neutral outside group, such as a university department to do longitudinal studies, so that the effect of social policies could be quantified and decisions based on real world experience.  This seemed particularly necessary on vexed questions like whether it was better to take children from dysfunctional families to foster homes or to try to support the children in situ.  It was pointed out that this would change the nature and need for funding  in the Parliamentary committee system, which was obviously true, but not a reason not to try to get better information on which to base legislation.  

Evidence-based legislation was famously attempted by Angela Merkel in Germany, who was a scientist by profession and also by one of the New York mayors, with excellent results so I was encouraged to find that there are now efforts to look at Australian legislation in terms of its evidence base, though an initiative, which uses the same survey method by both the Right-wing IPA (Institute of Public Affairs) and the progressive Per Capita Australia to assess legislation.  The criteria were developed by Prof Kenneth  Wiltshire at the Uni of Qld and then applied by both groups to 80 pieces of legislation with surprisingly similar results from the two groups.

Morrison’s government did slightly worse than the NSW, Victorian and Qld State governments.  His efforts worst were; to reduce the number of people necessary to register a political party; to allow new political parties to have names similar to existing ones; and to reduce fuel excise just before the election. 

Perrottet efforts to put extra changes on electric vehicles and to massively crack down on protesters also ranked a mention.

If you look at the website above, you will note that Labor fared only a little better.

The SMH gave some publicity to this, which is how I became aware of it:

Morrison, Perrottet made bad laws: report

Shane Wright, Senior economic correspondent SMH 19 November 2022

The Morrison, Perrottet and Andrews governments all delivered laws over the past year that followed ‘‘unacceptable’’ practices and helped undermine confidence in how legislation is put together, an independent analysis has found.

A report produced for the Evidence-Based Policy Research Project found laws that changed everything from the number of people a party needed to become registered to a crackdown on protesters failed to be properly debated, opened to scrutiny and considered against other options.

Every year, the research project uses a left- and right-leaning think tank to assess the creation, debate and passage of laws passed over the previous 12 months at the federal level and across NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

Experts from the left’s Per Capita Australia and the right’s Blueprint Institute bench-marked 20 pieces of legislation against 10 separate criteria.

They included whether there was a need for the law, its objectives, alternative options, how it would work, if a government considered all the pros and cons, parliamentary debate and the consultation process.

The worst-ranked piece of legislation by both think tanks was the Morrison government’s change to federal electoral law that increased the number of members a party must have to be registered to 1500, from 500. It also stops a party that has a similar name to an existing party from being registered.

Of the 10 criteria, Blueprint and Per Capita found the legislation passed just two – that it had set objectives and that the law was properly communicated.

Five other laws were ranked as unacceptable. They included NSW’s road user charges on electric vehicles and its new laws aimed at protesters who disrupt traffic.

Two federal laws, covering the sixmonth reduction in fuel excise and changes to foreign intelligence laws, were also ranked among the poorest of the past 12 months.

The chair of the project’s governing committee, former NSW Treasury secretary Percy Allan, said faulty decision-making processes at all levels of government contributed towards corruption, misallocation of resources and waste of public money.

‘‘Having auditors-general, integrity bodies and select committees of inquiry rake over failed policies and processes does not fix the underlying problem, which is that no government in Australia consistently addresses the above questions when making policy,’’ he said.

Western Sydney University chancellor and former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peter Shergold, said policy and lawmaking had to improve.

‘‘Having just completed a review of Australian governments’ response to COVID-19, I am utterly convinced that we cannot make good policy decisions in a crisis if we are not better practised at developing evidence-based legislation during more ‘normal’ times,’’ he said.

‘‘Assessing the diversity of short- and longer-term costs and benefits, based on… stakeholder consultation, is vital.’’

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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.

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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 ‘’ 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.

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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.

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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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