18 Comments
Apr 10Liked by Tim Dunlop

Enjoyed your article immensely TD, and 99.99% in agreement. Lots of things stand out by the para:

'The bottom line in all this is that whoever ends up in power is going to have to realise that the job is serving the people, not pandering to special interests and entering politics merely to be part of the staffer-advisor-safe seat candidate-junior ministry-minister-corporate lobbyist gravy train.' is true especially for the likes of the old guard of Albanese, Dutton & co. I can only presume there'll be more Teals/Indies like Zoe Daniels and Monique Ryan. Re: Zoe Daniels, I can absolutely not take any credit for her election to parliament, but I recognized early on after she retired by ABC and started tweeting & writing short articles that she had great intellect, a sense of fairness and world experience and might be angling for a move to something expansive. I can say I encouraged this by reading, commenting and retweeting to all 1000 or so followers (whoopy do) and she often replied. It was fantastic to see her nominate as an Independent and go onto win Goldstein. I can only say if anybody sees a person like Zoe Daniels who gives off 'vibes' that they might be putting their hand up for election, go ahead & give them encouragement. Cheers

Expand full comment
author

The beauty of the community independents methodology is that it allows candidates like Daniels to emerge. They are not imposed from above. Thus the uniformly high quality of the indies unearthed by the process.

Expand full comment
Apr 10Liked by Tim Dunlop

Another great article Tim. Proportional representation is rarely discussed in the mainstream media (no surprises because it helps to mask the general unpopularity of both major parties).

Although I don’t see Australia likely embracing a completely party list proportional representation, I do think something like New Zealand’s MMP system with local members and List MPs being adopted. Alternatively a nation-wide system of multi member electorates could produce better outcomes. Either or it’s far better than the current system of single member electorates which see the ALP and Liberals forming large majorities with less than 40% primary vote.

Expand full comment
author

The Ben Raue piece is worth a read.

Expand full comment

Hi Tim, the footnotes at the bottom of the article have been excellent to follow up on. Will definitely take a look at Raue’s article.

I note how sinister it is for Resolve Strategic to be putting out the idea of Optional Preferential or First Past the Post as a more efficient means of voting. Anyway to try and trick an apathetic public into literally throwing away their vote.

If we are to stick with single member electorates then full preferential voting is key to ensure a clear majority is needed and not one built on huge numbers of exhausted ballots, or a mere plurality. If anything could improve the current system, open primary elections could be an innovation in order to have better preselection contests rather than the embarrassing spectacles we normally get where the ALP or LNP candidate gets 30 votes of the 50 branch members they can scrape together on polling day. Somehow 30 people will decide the likely MP to be foisted on 110,000 people? It just isn’t representative. Yes the current system we have avoids run-offs, but we have less control over the candidate quality.

Expand full comment

The political class has managed to adapt to the idea of a minority government, negotiating with independents and small parties in both houses. For example, the reliance of the Minns government on independent support hasn't attracted much attention. For some time to come, we're more likely to see a gradually expanding crossbench. As long as one party has a clear plurality, things will go smoothly. It's only when the numbers are very tight, as in Tassie, or when the crossbench gets large enough that its members can demand ministries, that we'll see a really big shift.

Expand full comment
author

So maybe change keeps happening "organically", without the need for formal intervention? I definitely think the only way we get movement (federally) is to actually deliver the crossbench balance of power, and maybe that happens at the next election. PS: Hope you write something about Labor's new industry policy, "interventionist" as Michelle Grattan calls it.

Expand full comment

I should get on to industry policy. I'm mostly thinking in post-industrial terms these days, but it's good to see the end of free-market dogma.

Expand full comment
author

That would be a good piece imho: why people like you have moved postindustrial while people like Labor cling to it. I mean, I can imagine a broad answer to that, but it would be good read something more detailed.

Expand full comment
author

Also, the whole policy seems to be built around defence industries, perhaps as a way of making the "interventionist" aspect more palatable to various power brokers inside and outside the party. Surely, if they really wanted to reembrace direct govt "intervention" we would be better off with investments where the government retains/rebuys ownership (even partial ownership) and that is focussed on services around health and education?

Expand full comment

It's complicated. In the case of AUKUS for example, Labor's decision to embrace it was driven by the fear of looking weak on defence. But the absence of any sayable strategic rationale (the real one being to take part in a nuclear war with China), Labor fell back to job creation, which is Albaneses's comfort zone.

Expand full comment

PJQ - 'really big shift' to what exactly? Forgive my ignorance, I'm new to political study. Cheers

Expand full comment

Thanks Tim. I read Dutton's speech. As always, he was playing to the lowest common denominator.

Have a listen to Simon Birmingham's interview on RN yesterday, where he claimed "Penny Wong has announced the end of our Bi-Partisan policy on Israel."

The major parties have bi-partisan policies on foreign affairs, defence, security and everything else that Labor don't wish to be any different on. That's how we end up with Aukus .

Australian governments copied Thatcher and opted out of public housing, flogged off most of the stock and left the provision of shelter to the market. It took 40 years for the leaders of the nation to understand that the market is owned by developers whose interest is maximising shareholder returns rather than providing shelter for Australians in need. One would think a working class bloke like Albanese, who politicised his social housing upbringing and his welfare dependant mother, would make a difference for the homeless, but no, the Labor party he leads is more interested in the continued financialisation of everything and chose to establish a fund.

He has nothing meaningful to say to the 100,000 Australians sleeping rough now. A number that will get a lot worse before it gets better.

When Labor came to power, one of the first promises Albanese attended to, was the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The libs had reneged on this promise for years, and rather than stand on Duttons neck and destine the conservative parties to the dustbin, Albanese invited Dutton to negotiate the formation of the NACC, and so another bi-partisan policy established the commission without public hearings. It must be that way, lest we shame the powerful.

Tim, I was reading the latest polling the other day, the Libs lead Labor who've gone backwards, as have the Greens, One Nation is on the rise.

How will it be when Australians in their droves decide that neither of the major parties give a genuine stuff about them, they gave Labor a chance and discovered they are led by neocons, so give the balance of power to the likes of Pauline Hanson? Its happened across Europe!

On every issue, that I believe is important for the nation, there is little difference between the actual policies of the two major parties. What is the point of Labor?

As I wrote earlier, at elections we should vote for the BEST government, not the nicest.

Expand full comment
Apr 10Liked by Tim Dunlop

Young people are absolutely furious and severely disillusioned with the major parties. They're quite aware of how badly they're being served, and they are hungry for alternatives. This won't go away, won't be resolved, there's no return to normalcy, they've already jumped out of the plane.

Expand full comment
author

Key point, yes. And we are seeing its relevance in the fact that younger voters are not voting conservative even as they get older: seems to be a trend that is holding, whatever Holly Valance thinks.

Expand full comment
Apr 11Liked by Tim Dunlop

The old saying that people get more conservative in their old age is not happening as much.

I've always been a solid lefty and wanted left wing governments to actual govern to look after people but these days I am getting more anarchic. I believe the established conventions need to be ignored and different forms of government are essential. Less centralised decision making. Labor are now too establishment and have lost their zeal in their embrace of 'pragmatism'.

Peoples' well being should be more important than gains on the stock market or real estate investments. The markets are a subset of the environment, they should take a distant second place for continued 'civilisation'. Desperate people can get suckered by glib populists and vote against their own best interests.

Expand full comment

To borrow from Audre Lorde, The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master's House Tim. It's all about POWER to the major parties, and careers for the party apparatchicks.

The leaders of ALL the western powers have failed to take genuine action on climate change and instead keep the corporate world happy by investing in preparation for the inevitable wars over scarce resources.

At election time we should be voting for the best government NOT the nicest. When push comes to shove Labor is little different to Dutton's mob. The last six months has proven that beyond doubt.

Expand full comment
author

I disagree that there is little difference. As deeply disappointing as Labor have been, there is a level of seriousness about them that the Libs have completely abandoned. Dutton's latest speech underlines the fact that he has nothing to offer. But yeah, I'd still like to see Labor in a minority government.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/apr/10/something-is-rotten-in-the-state-of-australia-peter-dutton-blames-police-and-labor-for-rise-in-antisemitism?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Expand full comment