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#14582906
There are always plenty of occurrences within Australian politics that might not be worthy of a thread to themselves - or even if they are they don't end up getting posted anyway. As such, I thought I'd start a general thread that I would update periodically with news and issues etc. I encourage the handful of Australian posters (and others) to do the same.

First up, House speaker Bronwyn Bishop taking a helicopter to a Liberal Party fundraiser, because fuck Melbourne traffic, right? Oh, and there's the 300k of other people's money spent on overseas trips:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-spending-more-on-overseas-travel-than-former-speakers-20150715-gid424.html

Bronwyn Bishop spending more on overseas travel than former Speakers
Bronwyn Bishop spent more than $300,000 of taxpayers' dollars on overseas travel in her first year as federal Speaker, culminating in a $90,000 European trip partly aimed at securing her a plum new job abroad.

An analysis by Fairfax Media shows Mrs Bishop spent more on overseas travel in a 12-month period than any of her most recent predecessors – Anna Burke, Peter Slipper and Harry Jenkins.

Mrs Bishop spent $178,000 on four major trips in the first half of 2014 and $131,000 on two trips in the latter half — $309,000 in total. Only Mr Jenkins ever even came close to that figure, racking up $277,000 in 2009.

The final of Mrs Bishop's 2014 trips – to Italy, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland – has stirred particular controversy.

Mrs Bishop led a small parliamentary delegation on the two-week trip which culminated in a week-long meeting in Geneva of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, of which she was campaigning to become president.

Mrs Bishop lost the vote to Bangladesh's candidate – but not before racking up $88,084 in expenses.

The veteran Liberal warrior's latest six-monthly entitlements report reveals she and two staff members, spokesman Damien Jones and official Talitha Try, spent $25,400 on accommodation and food, $42,400 on airfares and almost $14,000 on ground transport over the fortnight. They also pocketed about $6000 in advances and for minor and related expenses.

Even taking into account the fact that she had accompanying staff, Mrs Bishop's spending dwarfs that of her four fellow delegates.

On the same trip, Liberal MP Nola Marino spent $21,300, while Labor parliamentarians Glenn Sterle and Tony Zappia spent $18,666 and $13,249 respectively. Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who only travelled to Switzerland, spent $10,178.

Indeed, Mrs Bishop and her staff spent vastly more than all four of the other delegates combined – their total expenses tally up to about $63,000. They each spent between $2000 to $3000 on accommodation and food and between $8000 and $15,000 on flights.

A source familiar with the trip said Mrs Bishop's bill was "gobsmacking".

"I just don't know how the hell she could spend that much," the source said.

Mr Jones said Mrs Bishop was entitled to take two staff members on the trip.

"It's the first and only time she has taken two staff," he said. "That was due to the size of the trip and the fact she was running for IPU president."

Mr Jones said that while Mrs Bishop was entitled to fly first-class she actually flew business class.

Mrs Bishop's entitlement report shows she also racked up a $43,000 bill on a trip through Asia.

The report also reveals she charged taxpayers more than $5000 to charter a flight from Melbourne to Geelong in November. Her office has repeatedly failed to explain why she needed to charter a helicopter for a trip that would have taken her about an hour in her much cheaper chauffer-driven Commonwealth car.

Labor has written to Mrs Bishop's office demanding answers.

Her total expenses for the period from July 1 to December 31, 2014, add up to just under $400,000, making her one of the biggest spenders in Parliament if you set aside once-off office fitout costs.

Indeed, the only MPs who spent more were Prime Minister Tony Abbott and five frontbenchers required to do a lot of travel.

Her expenses come on top of her $341,000 salary.


This is an ongoing problem with politicians from both sides of the aisle. Perhaps allowances and travel budgets should be organised and overseen by a body independent of parliament.

Also, I love how Mr. Everyman, Joe Hockey, has now declared an "end to the age of entitlement" in this regard


To avoid double posting:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-10/savage-union-royal-commission-starting-to-haunt-shorten/6535018

Union royal commission starting to haunt Shorten
The Trade Union Royal Commission may be more of a slow-burn than the Coalition had hoped, but the fall of one of Bill Shorten's factional allies in Victoria is a gift to Tony Abbott, writes Alison Savage.

It was always going to be uncomfortable for Bill Shorten when the Trade Union Royal Commission turned its attention to the union he used to lead.

But allegations that his hand-picked successor at the helm of the Victorian branch of the Australian Workers Union, Cesar Melhem, oversaw an agreement that robbed low-paid cleaning workers of their penalty rates have turned up the heat on the Opposition Leader.

Mr Melham, now an MP in Victoria's Upper House, denies the allegations put to him by the Royal Commission last week, but stood down from his position as Government Whip to avoid the issue becoming a "distraction" for the Andrews Government.

Whenever Mr Melhem's name has been mentioned at the Royal Commission, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews insisted the Commission "had an important job to do" and he was "not going to run a commentary".

But the tide turned last week when two of Mr Melhem's former union colleagues, including a former organiser now working in the Premier's office, threw him under a bus by directly contradicting his claim he knew nothing about questionable accounting practices that boosted union membership and the deal with a cleaning company that bargained away the penalty rates of workers.

The first to contradict Mr Melhem was John-Paul Blandthorn, a former AWU organiser now working in the Premier's office. The other was Mr Melhem's successor at the AWU, Ben Davis, who could barely conceal his rage when he described to the Commission the lengths he went to fix questionable union membership payments by a construction company that allegedly flourished under Mr Melhem's watch.

The evidence from former allies appeared to indicate that Mr Melhem has been cut adrift by the AWU.

Mr Andrews would not say if Mr Melhem jumped from the whip's position or was pushed, but the writing was on the wall when members of his own AWU aligned faction began publicly calling for him to step down from the role.

The scandal, coupled with the standing down of minister Adem Somyurek over bullying allegations, have made for a difficult few weeks for the Labor Government, just six months into its term.

Mr Andrews has been forced to defend his decision not to take action sooner, and faces ongoing questions about whether Mr Melhem's powerful position as factional "numbers man" offered him a measure of protection not afforded to Mr Somyurek, who was quickly stood down as soon as a complaint was made against him.

Mr Shorten has not publicly backed Mr Melhem since his fall from grace, saying he has "zero tolerance" for corruption, but he has not taken the opportunity to publicly distance himself from his friend either.

He has also refused to say whether he had any knowledge of the alleged practices detailed at the Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission does not hand down its final report until the end of this year, and Labor and the union movement have questioned its motivations and tactics.

But in Victoria at least, it has laid bare a fault-line within Bill Shorten's right faction of the Labor party, and has seen former union mates publicly turn on each other.

A Labor MP from Mr Melhem's faction said this week the former union boss had "stink lines" around him after the evidence at the Royal Commission.

Those "stink lines" are causing significant pain for the relatively young Andrews Government, and the Coalition is no doubt hoping the smell attaches itself to Mr Shorten


It's a little late in posting but an important development in the run up to the next election. Nothing has really stuck to Shorten but it might not need to to terminally damage his leadership. Even Justice Heydon gave Bill a slap down for jumping round questions and obfuscating, making it seem as if he had something to hide.

Is this the beginning of the end of Shorten or will he see Labor through to the next election?
#14582920
Politicians and allowances/expenses need a complete overhaul. There simile is no sanction what so ever for a wrong claim, they just pay it back if they are found out in the press and everyone moves on. There needs to be much better system, maybe pay them more and then no expense/allowances at all. The staying in canberra allowance that generally is just used to pay off a house in canberra is manifestly a massive rort.

The relations with lobbyists and directorships handed to politicians the moment they leave office or to the spouses, and the on going jobs for the boys/girls from their mates in parliament (ambassadorships etc). ICAC in NSW found what 10 NSW polls taking cash in envelopes from developers but is anyone in Jail? (I'm surprised just who cheaply they can be bought) Then there is Senator Sinodinos.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-03/s ... wh/5363408

IT's part of corporate culture in Australia and the Pollies are just joining in.

"Age of entitlement is over ". "Mutual obligation" words that pollies do not apply to them self. One thing I have learnt from history, is never in human history has a privileged group had any problem justifying those privileges. Without serious governance and oversight, which has serious penalties abuses will to continue both in government, in business, and in the union movement.


Shorten Appears damaged by this stuff. (for mine rightly so, but he's hardily an outlier in politics)

He's really struggled to be an effective leader. He may get replaced.

I'm amazed at the complete tripe routinely served up by Abbot and Hockey is just not laughed out of town,

Taxes and Charges up. Services and Benefits down, Budget deficit bigger. By any measure they are worse managers than the ALP.
#14582939
pugsville wrote:Politicians and allowances/expenses need a complete overhaul. There simile is no sanction what so ever for a wrong claim, they just pay it back if they are found out in the press and everyone moves on. There needs to be much better system, maybe pay them more and then no expense/allowances at all. The staying in canberra allowance that generally is just used to pay off a house in canberra is manifestly a massive rort.

The relations with lobbyists and directorships handed to politicians the moment they leave office or to the spouses, and the on going jobs for the boys/girls from their mates in parliament (ambassadorships etc). ICAC in NSW found what 10 NSW polls taking cash in envelopes from developers but is anyone in Jail? (I'm surprised just who cheaply they can be bought) Then there is Senator Sinodinos.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-03/s ... wh/5363408

IT's part of corporate culture in Australia and the Pollies are just joining in.

"Age of entitlement is over ". "Mutual obligation" words that pollies do not apply to them self. One thing I have learnt from history, is never in human history has a privileged group had any problem justifying those privileges. Without serious governance and oversight, which has serious penalties abuses will to continue both in government, in business, and in the union movement.


It's scary to think that the NSW Liberals could lose 10 MPs and a Premier to corruption charges and still be comfortably returned to power because the alternative is rightly seen as worse than that. So you're right that the problem absolutely is endemic.


Shorten Appears damaged by this stuff. (for mine rightly so, but he's hardily an outlier in politics)

He's really struggled to be an effective leader. He may get replaced.


It might be the best thing that could happen for everyone this stage. Except for the Liberals, of course.

Taxes and Charges up. Services and Benefits down, Budget deficit bigger. By any measure they are worse managers than the ALP.


In fairness there is a clear declining revenue problem that isn't really the fault of the government. Having said that, they have indeed been poor economic managers.
#14584594
The hole gets deeper for the pitbull with lipstick.

http://www.news.com.au/national/taxpayers-cop-800000-bill-for-bronwyn-bishops-2014-expenses/story-fncynjr2-1227448509491

SPEAKER Bronwyn Bishop cost taxpayers $811,857 in expenses last year.

The hefty travel bill for the member for the Northern Beaches electorate of Mackellar does not include two extra charter flights to Young for another fundraiser — just days after her $5227 Geelong helicopter trip — and Nowra for two seniors forums.

A Daily Telegraph analysis of the speaker, who has rapidly lost the confidence of the government front bench, has revealed the enormous expenses the politician costs Australians.

It has also been revealed Mrs Bishop’s trip to Young was just five days after she racked up $5227 for an 80km luxury helicopter trip between Melbourne and Geelong for a party fundraiser.

It can be revealed that in 2014 Mrs Bishop claimed;

●$309,581.99 in overseas trips

●$47,086.14 in domestic trips

●$32,471.12 in limousine travel

●$350,909.63 in office costs

The Department of Finance did not declare her two extra charter flights because they were close to the reporting deadline last year and will be included in the next set of expense claims to be released at the end of the year.

The Young Witness newspaper reported last year that Mrs Bishop received a “rock star” reception at the fundraiser in Novemeber. She told the outlet she discussed her role as speaker.

Former colleague and treasurer Peter Costello yesterday joined the chorus of condemnation for Mrs Bishop, declaring talking about parliament did not justify claiming a travel expense.

“The rule can’t be that you can just turn up somewhere and talk about parliament and then it’s justified,” Mr Costello told The Bolt Report.

“I could wander up to someone at a birthday party and say, ‘look, I’d like to tell you about the parliament’ and they’d probably walk away from me as they normally do at birthday parties.”

Mrs Bishop attended two seniors forums on November 22.

Despite her position becoming increasingly untenable Mrs Bishop retains the absolute support of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Parliament, which is in winter recess, does not resume until August 10 and Mr Abbott is banking on a Labor bloodbath over asylum seeker and carbon policy at a national conference this weekend to divert attention from the speaker.

Mrs Bishop yesterday made her second public appearance in as many days, joining NSW Premier Mike Baird at the unveiling of plans to redevelop the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

She again defended her travel expenditure, but conceded the trip to Geelong was an act of “grandiosity”.

“It was done within the entitlement,’’ she said.

“The fact is when I saw that figure I thought it was too large.

“The taxpayers’ money has been repaid and that’s why I did it and it is very much the best form of apology.”
Mrs Bishop addressing the travel expenses issue during a press conference. Picture: Adam

Mrs Bishop addressing the travel expenses issue during a press conference. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: News Corp Australia

Mrs Bishop remains convinced party fundraisers are within official duties.

“I find it absolutely unconscionable to think that you would think that there are certain people in the Australian community not entitled to hear from members of Parliament.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Abbott had to ask a defiant Mrs Bishop to resign as speaker.

“Tony Abbott has to ask Mrs Bishop to stand aside,’’ he said.

“This is now a test of his leadership. Does Tony Abbott have the strength of character to do what everyone thinks should happen and ask Mrs Bishop to stand aside?”



ANALYSIS: BY SIMON BENSON

BRONWYN Bishop should know she has no choice but to resign as Speaker. And Prime Minister Tony Abbott should know this, too.

Continued and indefensible resistance to this reality will simply cause the Abbott government unnecessary political damage.

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s admission that her extravagance at taxpayer expense doesn’t pass the sniff test is dead right.

It doesn’t because it appears to be a habitual offence rather than a solitary error of judgment, as she claimed.

Hockey, of all people, would be acutely aware of the gross hypocrisy he himself is now exposed to — that the end of the age of entitlement is not at an end for some.

He can no longer expect ordinary families to tighten their belts when MPs are loosening theirs.

Politicians have privileges that would exceed most people’s imagination. They get driven to work in taxpayer-funded limos, eat and drink for free at work and pocket unspent travel allowances.

These curiously labelled entitlements would exceed the ordinary worker’s salary. Bishop has demonstrated why they should be abolished.

But her handling of it and apparent indignation at having to be made accountable for it added another dimension to the political problem.

Her petty retaliatory attack on Hockey showed even less regard for the impossible situation now confronting the PM. Abbott is now at risk of being exposed as lacking the capital to act against a key figure of the party’s Right when he knows it would be the right and astute thing to do


The love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop is in a tight spot. He wants to protect her and is admittedly quite loyal to his supporters, but the longer he drags on the longer his credibility is undermined and the longer attention is diverted away from a flailing Bill Shorten. The timing couldn't be more perfect for Labor.

Bishop should go. 800k of other peoples money that was clearly not for essential expenses is disgraceful, and is compounded further by her excuse - "it was within the entitlement" (!)

"Hey, I know you guys only earn 65k a year and that I claimed 800k of your money, but I am entitled to do it, so what are you all complaining about?
#14585319
Apologies for the triple post, but since no one else will contribute

http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/why-reclaim-australia-is-on-the-rise-and-how-we-can-stop-it/story-fns0jze1-1227450646363

Why Reclaim Australia is on the rise and how we can stop it
GROUPS like Reclaim Australia don’t just rise up from nowhere, they have a long and disturbing history in this country.

As anti-Islam rallies were held around Australia on the weekend, some may have been surprised at the violence and interest they inspired.

But professor of sociology, Andrew Jakubowicz said it was important to look at the tactics and ideology of proto-fascist and neo-fascist groups like Reclaim Australia, which had existed in Australia for about 90 years.

“They are constantly probing for opportunities ... they look for disruptions in the operation of wider society that they can prey on,” the University of Technology Sydney professor said.

But the question of why racist groups have suddenly emerged again can be traced back to the current government which has provided the ideology for them to flourish, he said.

“In the Australian context, in a sense, the ideology is provided in a very messy way by the current government, which is unplanned but nevertheless quite potent,” he said.

Prof Jakubowicz said groups like Reclaim Australia were helped by the political debate which constantly blamed a particular group in the community for issues that people were living with.

The government had also provided ambiguous leadership that did not seem committed to questions around social cohesion and the importance of having civil conversations.

Instead they seemed to justify the right to bigotry, Prof Jakubowicz suggested.

Prof Jakubowicz contrasted the current situation with how former prime minister John Howard handled the emergence of former Liberal candidate, and One Nation founder Pauline Hanson.

“John Howard took a principled stance that Pauline Hanson had no place in the party ... and set Tony Abbott on her ... this time around unfortunately the Prime Minister and Attorney General have given the green light to that part of the political party which is most attracted to an extremist position.”

Prof Jakubowicz said essentially people were “sniffing the wind” and looking for signs – the “nod or wink” – on the government’s stance on racism, or whether there was genuine opposition.

“The important thing during the Hanson period ... John Howard stood up very strongly against the sorts of values Hanson stood for. There was a lot of debate because at times Howard didn’t do this, but most of the time he did,” Prof Jakubowicz said.

This essentially created a line in the sand that people in the Liberal party understood would not be tolerated and if the line was crossed they would have to leave and join One Nation.

“Under Tony Abbott that line has been pushed much further to the right. People in the past who would have joined extremist parties are now finding certain comfort in mainstream political parties. Some key spokespeople like (coalition MPs) George Christensen and Cory Bernardi have made no secret of their values and their right to hold them.

“In the past they might not be as encouraged as the way they are currently.”

Whether groups like Reclaim Australia gain a further foothold in Australia will depend on public political leadership.

“If key people say this has no place in Australian society then it will drop back, if there is ambiguity and the rhetoric is ‘everyone has a right to be a bigot’, these groups will increase.”

In response, groups against Reclaim Australia will also increase and then the conflict will grow.

“The social media tactics of the extreme right are not dissimilar to those of any extremist group, you’ve got to make a fuss for people to notice. People like Christensen by speaking at the rally are essentially doing their work for them,” Prof Jakubowicz said.

Those groups will become more edgy and having civil, inclusive conversations will become more difficult.

“The emotional way of dealing with issues goes up, and the rational, intellectual way of dealing with issues goes down,” Prof Jakubowicz said.

“The more that self righteous bigotry is seen as the right way to behave ... the more that groups like Reclaim Australia will flourish.”

One of the interesting things that Prof Jakubowicz has noticed is the way that Reclaim Australia has modelled itself on the Australia First movement from the 1930s and 1940s, which was pro-Japanese and pro-fascist.

The original Australia First movement, which should be differentiated from the current party of the same name, had a list of 50 principles. Reclaim Australia has 24 principles, many of which look very similar, Prof Jakubowicz said.

The rise of a social movement, like Reclaim Australia, relies on three elements. This includes a feeling of disengagement or disenfranchisement from politics, a set of demands that the government seems unwilling or unable to respond to, and an ideology that explains all this and mobilises people.

“People feel a sense of distress about the way the world is working and pick on the nearest target,” Prof Jakubowicz said.

Islam has become the scapegoat recently, with concern that Reclaim Australia is using this, along with the principle of free speech to get attention and attract more supporters.

Prof Jakubowicz said this could be seen in the different types of people who had attended the Reclaim Australia rallies on the weekend.

“They ranged from real fascists — the United Patriots, skinheads, those vicious, angry groups — through to people who are very suburban but can’t find a way to deal with their unease what is going on in the world except in a simplistic way,” he said.

While groups like Reclaim Australia do support freedom of speech in the short term if you looked at their wider aims, they ultimately believe in an authoritarian regime.

Traditionally, fascists believe in “one truth”, which concerns the ethnic identity of people. They believe one nation should only be one culture and “multiculturalism is the enemy, they believe in one set of ideas, one set of values”.

Prof Jakubowicz said that while it was not possible to get rid of racism, you could reduce it. It depended on what kind of society people wanted to live in.

“If we want society to be cohesive, for people to respect each other and get along with each other, then we shouldn’t dealing with these issues using violence,” Prof Jakubowicz said


I'm not sure about this, has the resurgence of publicly voicedanti-Islamic sentiment in Australia been driven by the Abbott government? I think it is the other way around - The govt has jumped on a bandwagon that was already there to score some cheap points and reinforce their agenda.

I think this has stemmed more from the whole media narrative of the "death cult" ISIS and things like the Lindt cafe siege. When you have the newspaper with the largest circulation in the country running the headline "DEATH CULT CBD ATTACK" the day after a lone nut holds a people hostage in a cafe, of course people will grab that and run.
#14585628
WELCOME TO THE ORNATE PLACEBO MONOLOGUE THREAD!

In today's episode: Bill Shorten and boats!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-22/bill-shorten-wants-labor-to-adopt-asylum-boat-turn-backs/6640990

Bill Shorten wants Labor to adopt boat turn-backs under party's asylum seeker policy
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he has had to face the truth that turning back people smuggling boats has saved lives, confirming he wants Labor to change its asylum seeker policy and support turn-backs.

The move is expected to be met with fierce opposition by members of the ALP's left faction at its national conference this weekend, but Mr Shorten said a turn-backs policy was needed to save lives.

"Labor wants to defeat the people smugglers and we want to prevent drownings at sea," he told 7.30.

"Therefore one of the options which we believe has to be on the table, if we're given the privilege of forming government, has to be the option to turn back boats.

"It's not easy, though, because it involves the admission, I think, that mistakes were made when Labor was last in government," he added.

"And for myself, if I want to be the leader of this nation, I've got to be able to face the truth and the truth for me is that if we have policies in place which gives sustenance and support to people smugglers to exploit vulnerable people, where they put these vulnerable people on unsafe boats and then people drown at sea, I can't support any policies which do that."

News of the move was revealed in an opinion piece Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles wrote for the Herald Sun newspaper.

"Despite best intentions, a terrible loss of life took place on Labor's watch," he wrote.

"We did not get it right then but we are very clear now about making sure we don't repeat those mistakes.

"Offshore processing and regional resettlement together with the Coalition's policy of turn-backs is what actually stopped the boats.

"I believe, provided it can be done safely, a future Labor government must have the option to undertake turn-backs."


This is a major about-face by Labor. Ultimately it's probably a lose-lose in which Labor will either alienate their base on the left or the swinging centre. This might well be serious trouble for Shortens leadership, too.

With each passing day any lingering ideological divide between the two major parties is disappearing. Not that there was much left anyway.

There is the 50% renewable energy target Labor will apparently hope to aim for, at least...
#14585632
This is amazing. I haven't been following Australian politics much since I moved out so this is very shocking to me. I've always thought of Shorten as an opportunist rather than an ideologically-driven or even an altruistically-driven person, but I don't understand his strategy here. I can't decide whether he's trying to improve the legitimacy of the Labor party by adopting a policy considered to be successful by most Australians, or whether he genuinely believes that this is a successful policy.
#14585894
Well I would say that this is opportunism, there's an election around the corner. There isn't a need to decide between your two options as they are both correct - the Coalition's policy is absolutely a successful policy, in that it has achieved exactly what was intended (moral claims aside). Shorten can't claim, as he did in 2013, that "there’s no doubt in [his] mind that the Coalition’s boat person policy is absolutely not working."

In an election run-up the ads against Labor would be pretty simple: BOATS BOATS BOATS. CARBON TAX. DEBT. TERRORISM. That is pretty much all the Coalition would need to run, and whether it is right or not, a fairly large portion of the population are terrified and/or angered by the idea of "boat people" flooding the country So Shorten is taking a risk in order to try and mitigate the damage from one of Abbott's few strong suits.

I think a passage from Mark Latham's dairies was pretty telling on Shorten's opportunism:

“Little Billy [Shorten] was in my ear about the [free trade agreement with the United States], telling me the party has to support it,”

“I said that I thought both he and his union were against it, to which he responded, ‘That’s just for the members. We need to say that sort of thing when they reckon their jobs are under threat. I want it to go through’.”




Also, this isn't some political "forum" where you can come in and ruin someones monologues by trying to have a conversation! I'm trying to post in peace here.
#14585918
Ornate Placebo wrote:Well I would say that this is opportunism, there's an election around the corner.

At least a year to go though!

Ornate Placebo wrote:There isn't a need to decide between your two options as they are both correct - the Coalition's policy is absolutely a successful policy, in that it has achieved exactly what was intended (moral claims aside). Shorten can't claim, as he did in 2013, that "there’s no doubt in [his] mind that the Coalition’s boat person policy is absolutely not working."

In an election run-up the ads against Labor would be pretty simple: BOATS BOATS BOATS. CARBON TAX. DEBT. TERRORISM. That is pretty much all the Coalition would need to run, and whether it is right or not, a fairly large portion of the population are terrified and/or angered by the idea of "boat people" flooding the country So Shorten is taking a risk in order to try and mitigate the damage from one of Abbott's few strong suits.

I don't think it is a huge risk as we have mandatory and preferential voting, so instead of first preference Labor, it would be second preference Labor. Labor might not control the Senate but if it *does* manage to win votes from the centre (I doubt it), it may be able to form government if enough people switch over.

Ornate Placebo wrote:I think a passage from Mark Latham's dairies was pretty telling on Shorten's opportunism

Wow. That's almost as bad as Stephen Conroy and Nicola Roxon on Kevin Rudd.

Ornate Placebo wrote:Also, this isn't some political "forum" where you can come in and ruin someones monologues by trying to have a conversation! I'm trying to post in peace here.

#14586242
Shorten's turnback policy may backfire on him doubly. He thinks it will neutralise the issue - but we are seeing with Dutton's trolling yesterday, it may do the opposite. The liberals are now fine-tuning their line that says "labor want to copy us - but they will always be a poor second when it comes to being tough on boats". And they're probably right - if labor try and copy liberals hard-line approach, I don't think they can do it as well - in which case the libs will always win. And whats more they will also end up losing more left votes to the Greens.
#14586309
Rejn wrote:At least a year to go though!

Yeah but what they decide on will be carried through as intended policy.

I don't think it is a huge risk as we have mandatory and preferential voting, so instead of first preference Labor, it would be second preference Labor. Labor might not control the Senate but if it *does* manage to win votes from the centre (I doubt it), it may be able to form government if enough people switch over.

Which is why this is indeed, as we have said, a strange choice strategically - as it will not win Coalition voters but will frustrate left-leaning Labor voters. I guess you're right though, they will get the votes back on preference anyway...

GandalfTheGrey wrote:Shorten's turnback policy may backfire on him doubly. He thinks it will neutralise the issue - but we are seeing with Dutton's trolling yesterday, it may do the opposite. The liberals are now fine-tuning their line that says "labor want to copy us - but they will always be a poor second when it comes to being tough on boats". And they're probably right - if labor try and copy liberals hard-line approach, I don't think they can do it as well - in which case the libs will always win. And whats more they will also end up losing more left votes to the Greens.


Yeah, it will alienate the left in an attempt to win over people that will vote for the Coalition anyway.
Speaking of alienating the people you need voting for you:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-national-conference-tanya-pliberseks-gay-marriage-vote-threatens-bill-shorten-20150725-gikega.html
Labor national conference: Tanya Plibersek's gay marriage vote threatens Bill Shorten

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/ ... z3guCIZAzH

Bill Shorten has made a last-ditch appeal to his colleagues not to adopt a binding vote on same-sex marriage amid renewed speculation he could be defeated on the issue on the floor of the ALP national conference.

It's believed the party's Left faction, led by Mr Shorten's deputy Tanya Plibersek, intends to push ahead with a plan to amend the Labor platform so that MPs would be forced to vote in favour of same-sex marriage in Parliament.

Currently, they can vote according to their conscience but under the proposed change they could face expulsion if they deviated from the party line.
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Sources on both the Left and Right say the vote is likely to be extremely close and neither side is taking a win for granted.

Mr Shorten believes adopting a binding vote would be a mistake. He wants to keep the pressure on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow his team a free vote and believes Labor adopting a binding vote would undermine that effort.

"I believe a binding vote for Labor in favour of marriage equality risks the Liberals re-binding against marriage equality. It lets Tony Abbott off the hook," he told Fairfax Media on Saturday.

"But I understand that not every Labor MP or party member feels the same way. Some, particularly people of faith, take a different view. I respect this. It's why I support a free vote on marriage equality.

"I know we can achieve marriage equality by the power of our arguments."

Mr Shorten said "marriage equality has been a marathon effort and I believe we're only a few hundred metres short".

Ms Plibersek has been largely silent on the binding vote issue since first flagging it in April. But sources say she will advocate for the amendment on the conference floor on Sunday.

Fairfax Media understands the amendment is likely to keep the conscience vote status quo in place for the current Parliament and only impose a binding vote after the next federal election, if the reform has not yet passed.

"We don't want to give Abbott any excuse to squib it," a Left source said.

It's understood Labor Senate Leader Penny Wong is also likely to back a binding vote. But another prominent member of the left, Mr Shorten's one-time leadership rival Anthony Albanese, will vote against the amendment


It seems like a poor strategic move to me - forcing Abbott into the fray on the gay marriage issue would be more advantageous to Labor than letting him stand aside and let it play out through a conscience vote, IMO.
#14588493
Good news! Sort of...

http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/trade-minister-andrew-robb-confirms-australia-will-not-sign-trans-pacific-partnership-deal/story-fnu2pycd-1227465915303

Trade Minister Andrew Robb confirms Australia will not sign Trans-Pacific Partnership deal
AUSTRALIA will not sign up to the trans-Pacific partnership trade deal in the current round of talks.

A spokesman for Trade Minister Andrew Robb confirmed that a conclusion will not be reached on the $200 billion deal during the latest round of negotiations.

“Australia had made some excellent progress but unfortunately some difficult issues were not resolved,” he said in a statement to AAP on Saturday.
Mr Robb said Australia had made progress on sugar and dairy, but discussions were yet to be finalised.

He rejected suggestions he’d negotiated trade-offs on intellectual property in return for market access.

“You are looking for a balance,” the minister told reporters in Lahaina, Hawaii


It's probably only delaying the inevitable, but anything that slows the scourge of rampant neo-liberalism is a bonus.

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) aspects of the TPP are one of the most abhorrently insane things you could think of for a state to sign. I can't believe politicians would seriously be willing to sign something that allows foreign investors to sue governments if legislation is passed that happens to hurt their bottom line - even if the legislation is designed to protect the community or the environment.

and what is the result? This http://aftinet.org.au/cms/isds-sue-governments-tpp-2013
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) US corporations have used ISDS to sue governments for tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars over legitimate health and environment legislation. Currently, the US Lone Pine energy company is using ISDS provisions in NAFTA to sue the provincial government of Quebec for $250 million because it suspended shale gas mining pending an environmental study in response to community concerns.
#14590002
Hopefully, if nothing else, the public outrage the whole Bishop thing has sparked will stop them from, or at least discourage from, claiming in these "grey" areas. Ultimately he probably couldn't have admitted fault because there would be too many colleagues guilty of the same thing.
#14592976
Yet more murmurs over Abbott's leadership. Yet another week of the Coalition failing to capitalise on Shorten's ineptitude. Abbott truly is a lame duck and we would all weep for the state of Australian Politics if we hadn't become so cynical.

In other news, the consequences of this drama surrounding Dyson Heydon as head of the Royal Commission into trade union corruption could have profound effects on federal politics in the lead up to the next election. If he stays, Labor will decry the findings of the commission as biased and discredited; if he removes himself as Commissioner then the entire process up to this point will look as if it lacks credibility. Either way, trade unions and Labor will exploit this to their benefit and the great detriment of Abbott - he desperately needed the blowtorch applied to someone other than himself. It had the potential to damage Shorten irreparably. It hasn't - and now it most likely won't.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/royal-commission-admits-email-error-as-dyson-heydon-ponders-his-own-fate-20150821-gj4wm4.html

Royal commission admits email 'error' as Dyson Heydon ponders his own fate
The head of the royal commission into trade union corruption Dyson Heydon will ponder his own fate over the weekend before delivering his final judgment on whether he will disqualify himself from the inquiry as early as Tuesday.

The royal commission was accused during its Friday hearing of failing to release all relevant information commissioner Heydon received from the organiser of a Liberal Party event he had agreed to address in Sydney next week.

Mr Heydon adjourned the hearing until Tuesday on the question of whether he should disqualify himself from the inquiry.
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Speaking outside the royal commission ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said unions were not given a full set of documents they requested and were promised on Monday.

He said it was not until Friday morning that the ACTU learned Mr Heydon had received an invitation to a Liberal Party event on two occasions, and not just once, as disclosed on Monday.

Mr Heydon said he "overlooked" the Liberal Party connections to the Sir Garfield Barwick Address event and cancelled his appearance last week after he realised it was a fundraiser. He said he had not read an attached donation form and flyer he received in June.

John Agius, SC, the barrister representing the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in an application for Mr Heydon to disqualify himself from head of the royal commission, made an explosive allegation that an email released by the commission on Monday might appear to a hypothetical person to have been "doctored".

But he later appeared to back away from that accusation after counsel assisting the royal commission explained to him that the emails were part of a chain and that the reference to the attachment did not appear because attachments automatically drop off return emails.

The barrister representing the ACTU, Robert Newlinds, SC, expressed concern that he had not received all relevant documents on Monday as promised.

"Boy, you've got to be confident when you tell someone that they've got all the documents and you were wrong when you told me that, and there's no explanation for how that could have happened," Mr Newlinds said.

Senior counsel assisting the royal commission, Jeremy Stoljar, SC, said an electronic copy of emails should have been given to the solicitors for the ACTU and the Australian Workers Union.

"By oversight of commission staff it was not, that was an error," he said. "There is no basis whatsoever for the serious allegation that the version … produced by commission was altered or doctored in any way."

Unions have made an application for Mr Heydon to stand aside from the inquiry because of an alleged appearance of bias after he accepted an invitation to a Liberal Party fundraiser, as revealed by Fairfax Media.

"Our submission is that in agreeing to do the speech ... is such as to associate yourself with the Liberal Party. And if I can put it bluntly, people don't speak at fundraisers of a political party unless they believe in the cause of that party, and they certainly don't speak at fundraisers of a political party if they support the other side of politics," Mr Newlinds said.

Mr Newlinds said the result of the inquiry "will have no credibility to anyone if it comes forward in the context that there's a finding that it was a biased hearing".

He said if the report was to be used for a beneficial purpose "it has to be unimpeachable and it can't be allowed to happen that people can just walk around after reform and say, 'Don't worry about that report, that was old Mr Heydon' ".
#14661894
is it good for democracy that we see marathon sittings in parliament like we have over senate reform.


i think senate reform is a good idea, but rammed through by government in the shadow of an elections hardly the environment for good legislation.
#14666458
The only possible reason is they know the donations were illegal. It is pretty much an open secret that the Free Enterprise Foundation was a conduit for funneling illegal donations.

The hypocricy here is breathtaking even for the standards set by the libs: here we are on the verge of a double dissolution election triggered by libs feigned outrage over union corruption, all the while the liberal party itself is under a huge corruption cloud, and moreover while the libs refuse to even consider the establishment of a federal ICAC, which is the only sensible way of approaching the union issue. Why have a body that chases after union corruption only and no one else even as we know that there is a huge amount of corruption in the corporate sector, including serious allegations related to liberal party fundraising.

I hope to God this election is fought on the ABCC DD issue - because the hypocricy of the libs on this is so brazen that it would be impossible for them not to be burned from it.
#14666564
Gandalf, I completely agree with your post here. Unfortunately, I can't think of any solution at all because the Liberals could kill and eat babies and still find a way to spin their way out of it.


Just to make the second line ... I think that in an ideal world Arthur Sinodinos and Eddie Obied could share a cell, but in the real world, they are both above any laws.
#14714499
Interesting opening to parliament a few highlights....

back bench unrest with Corey Bernadi launching campaign to allow racial abuse against the wishes of his prime ministers, the looney right are very uneasy and are seeking to dictate to Malcolm.

Labor senator Sam Dastyari firmly in the sights for Chinese linked company paying some of his expenses. It;'s bad look and there is a lot of Chinese money in canberra (both sides). Foreign money should be banned totally. The whole political donations badly needs an overhaul.

Labour won a few votes late in the day as Government members left early and had to scrabble back before Labour really did something. Goes to show the Government will need to be on it toes.

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