Australian Federal Election 2013

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Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Caleb » 08 Sep 2013, 02:25

Australia just had a federal election yesterday. The ruling Australian Labor Party (centre left) lost government. Its primary vote is the lowest in over one hundred years. The Liberal-National Coalition (centre right) has a predicted 89 (vote counting is not finished in some very close seats) of the 150 seats of the House of Representatives. The Senate votes may not be finalised for a couple of weeks, but it seems unlikely that the Coalition will gain a clear majority. The balance of power will likely lie with the Greens and various independents.

Any thoughts from our other Australian commentators?

My personal thoughts are that the economy will probably do better (it's hard not to do better than Labor's mismanagement over the past six years), but that will also depend upon global factors. The Coalition, whilst more competent than the ALP, is still a tax and spend/welfare party. At some level, that is obviously what the electorate wants. The Coalition are still very much ALP-lite (or vice versa) as far as I am concerned on the economy.

Illegal immigration will probably get sorted out.

Other than that, at best, there will be a moratorium on the lurch to the left on most social issues, but there will be no reversal of most things. On certain issues, the horse has already bolted and the next time the ALP get in, those things will change.

A fair number of people on social media were throwing a massive tantrum about this last night. The twitter feed on the ABC's website was a case in point. I think it's a bit of a storm in a tea cup, really. For those of us on the right, the Coalition isn't actually that far right on most issues.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Mike » 08 Sep 2013, 06:09

Caleb wrote:Any thoughts from our other Australian commentators?


I'm hardly celebrating. Abbott is no real conservative - a populist, if anything. He's likely to be an embarrassment on a personal level (his foot-in-mouth episodes are legendary), and he will no doubt announce in the next few months that the grand plans that his party dreamed up when they were finally requested to present some policies, rather than just aiming soundbite bullets at the ALP, will be unaffordable.

Caleb wrote:My personal thoughts are that the economy will probably do better (it's hard not to do better than Labor's mismanagement over the past six years), but that will also depend upon global factors. The Coalition, whilst more competent than the ALP, is still a tax and spend/welfare party. At some level, that is obviously what the electorate wants. The Coalition are still very much ALP-lite (or vice versa) as far as I am concerned on the economy.


Exactly. Not much will really change. And Australia is hardly in as parlous a state economically as we are often made out to be - in fact, we were one of the few countries to emerge from 2008 fairly unscathed, mainly thanks to the ongoing Chinese demand for cheap energy.

Labor may have wasted a lot of money on hare-brained schemes over the past six years (mostly on Rudd's watch, incidentally, not Gillard's) but Australia's economy was robust enough to cope.

Caleb wrote:Illegal immigration will probably get sorted out.


I doubt it. Abbott frankly has no credible policies on this...some of the suggestions he's made (buying boats from Indonesia as a preventive measure?!?) are just laughable, in fact.

My money is on him sticking to Rudd's plan of threatening to settle them in PNG if they arrive by boat, and then claiming the credit for the drop in arrivals.

Caleb wrote:Other than that, at best, there will be a moratorium on the lurch to the left on most social issues, but there will be no reversal of most things. On certain issues, the horse has already bolted and the next time the ALP get in, those things will change.

A fair number of people on social media were throwing a massive tantrum about this last night. The twitter feed on the ABC's website was a case in point. I think it's a bit of a storm in a tea cup, really. For those of us on the right, the Coalition isn't actually that far right on most issues.


Pretty fair assessment.

It's not even about left or right for me, up to a point (in most modern democracies with a two-party duopoly on power, most of their policies are practically indistinguishable). It's more that Abbott and his frontbench are likely to be just as big a bunch of clowns as Rudd and his cohorts. It's simply a depressing time in Australian politics.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Elliott » 08 Sep 2013, 06:28

It's a depressing time in politics everywhere, Mike. (In Britain, our next PM is going to be either David Cameron (again), or the unbelievable Ed Miliband!)
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Grant » 08 Sep 2013, 09:09

Mike, while I've never been a dyed-in-the-wool Abbott fan he has shown tremendous control and discipline. I was impressed with Abbott's acceptance speech and think he understands the huge task ahead. He has proved many of critics wrong who said he was unelectable and could never win the support of colleagues. I have a feeling (a hope?) he will grow into the job and cope with the extraordinary demands the position entails. He is without doubt our fittest prime minister, putting many much younger men to shame. He is a classic example of the strength of the individual to make a difference through application and drive.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Caleb » 08 Sep 2013, 23:16

Mike wrote:
Caleb wrote:Any thoughts from our other Australian commentators?


I'm hardly celebrating. Abbott is no real conservative - a populist, if anything. He's likely to be an embarrassment on a personal level (his foot-in-mouth episodes are legendary), and he will no doubt announce in the next few months that the grand plans that his party dreamed up when they were finally requested to present some policies, rather than just aiming soundbite bullets at the ALP, will be unaffordable.


He is gaffe prone, but I think that is not such a mortal sin. It may be embarrassing, but at least it's not slimy like many modern politicians. Obviously, neither is good though. I think you're right about the affordability of policies. The new welfare for people with disabilities will become a massive scam within well under a decade. His plan for maternity leave is absolutely insane too. Women do need to be encouraged to have babies, but I would have greatly preferred it if they'd gone with a combination of means testing and tax breaks for the partner's income. They need to engage in a little social engineering. That would never get done though. It would be considered way too right wing, which is why I also think that he and his mob are not very conservative.

Caleb wrote:My personal thoughts are that the economy will probably do better (it's hard not to do better than Labor's mismanagement over the past six years), but that will also depend upon global factors. The Coalition, whilst more competent than the ALP, is still a tax and spend/welfare party. At some level, that is obviously what the electorate wants. The Coalition are still very much ALP-lite (or vice versa) as far as I am concerned on the economy.


Exactly. Not much will really change. And Australia is hardly in as parlous a state economically as we are often made out to be - in fact, we were one of the few countries to emerge from 2008 fairly unscathed, mainly thanks to the ongoing Chinese demand for cheap energy.


Debt levels (both public and private) are an issue, as are deficits. I'm much more bearish on the Australian economy for those reasons. The Chinese boom may well be over (or slowing). Australia doesn't seem to have much to show for it other than a lot of McMansions, big screen TVs and dodgy tattoos acquired in Bali.

Labor may have wasted a lot of money on hare-brained schemes over the past six years (mostly on Rudd's watch, incidentally, not Gillard's) but Australia's economy was robust enough to cope.


I think the issue is not if it could cope during the good times, but how it will cope when the inevitable bad times roll around.

Caleb wrote:Illegal immigration will probably get sorted out.


I doubt it. Abbott frankly has no credible policies on this...some of the suggestions he's made (buying boats from Indonesia as a preventive measure?!?) are just laughable, in fact.

My money is on him sticking to Rudd's plan of threatening to settle them in PNG if they arrive by boat, and then claiming the credit for the drop in arrivals.


Sure, but Rudd was basically just copying the Howard government policy, which Abbott was a part of last time around. I agree with you that they'll just keep the status quo.

Caleb wrote:Other than that, at best, there will be a moratorium on the lurch to the left on most social issues, but there will be no reversal of most things. On certain issues, the horse has already bolted and the next time the ALP get in, those things will change.

A fair number of people on social media were throwing a massive tantrum about this last night. The twitter feed on the ABC's website was a case in point. I think it's a bit of a storm in a tea cup, really. For those of us on the right, the Coalition isn't actually that far right on most issues.


Pretty fair assessment.

It's not even about left or right for me, up to a point (in most modern democracies with a two-party duopoly on power, most of their policies are practically indistinguishable). It's more that Abbott and his frontbench are likely to be just as big a bunch of clowns as Rudd and his cohorts. It's simply a depressing time in Australian politics.


I think that's also a problem with the electorate. There may not be many good politicians out there, but would anyone give any of them a fair shake even if there were? Out of the masses of comments I've seen on social media and various discussions with people on Facebook, I've only run into one person who seems to have any idea what's going on, which is why I created this thread. At least here people know what's what.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Caleb » 08 Sep 2013, 23:24

Grant wrote:Mike, while I've never been a dyed-in-the-wool Abbott fan he has shown tremendous control and discipline. I was impressed with Abbott's acceptance speech and think he understands the huge task ahead. He has proved many of critics wrong who said he was unelectable and could never win the support of colleagues. I have a feeling (a hope?) he will grow into the job and cope with the extraordinary demands the position entails. He is without doubt our fittest prime minister, putting many much younger men to shame. He is a classic example of the strength of the individual to make a difference through application and drive.


Let's hope the Greens' hold on the Senate does get broken and that the other Senators talk turkey then. Still, I really don't think Abbott is going to be able to advance any real kind of social agenda. As I wrote, I think that at best he will be able to hold the line on social issues. Then there will be drift to the left in 6-9 years. Actually, then there will be a massive swing to the left on social issues as there will be catch up with where society is at. Australia is, economically, relatively socialist. Socially, it's as "progressive" as anywhere else in the West.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Grant » 09 Sep 2013, 07:51

Caleb,
Not living in the teeming big cities of Oz, I still feel there has been a cultural tilt in this age of entitlement. Even the Labor Party was coming round to the notion that work gives self-respect and gives the individual some control over their lives. The latest election reinforces this belief. There has been a shift to personal responsibility rather than a reliance on what the state can do for me. I have a (maybe deluded) hope the tenure of Tony Abbott will serve to highlight the power of each person to chart their course in life without needing the assistance of a bureaucracy to decide what they can or can't do.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Mike » 09 Sep 2013, 12:41

Caleb wrote:I think you're right about the affordability of policies. The new welfare for people with disabilities will become a massive scam within well under a decade.


My sentiments exactly. The inner-city luvvies were cock-a-hoop over this, I couldn't believe the naivety. You just have to look at some of the people with disability parking permits here in Sydney to realise how corrupt the whole disability "industry" is. And it will no doubt be the few genuinely deserving ones who will miss out on the largesse.

Caleb wrote:His plan for maternity leave is absolutely insane too. Women do need to be encouraged to have babies, but I would have greatly preferred it if they'd gone with a combination of means testing and tax breaks for the partner's income.


Again, I agree entirely. That will prove completely unworkable, and they'll end up in a year's time saying that they never really meant it.

The NBN thing I can't quite make up my mind about. As a rule I'm cautiously in favour of that sort of public infrastructure, but the full-scale fibre-to-the-home option favoured by Labor relied to a very large extent on a market projection which is, in my opinion, far from certain. At the same time, Abbott's policy seems like a pointless halfway point to me. Why spend $30 billion putting in the new fibre infrastructure if you're going to leave the 90-year-old copper network in place?
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Caleb » 10 Sep 2013, 01:44

Grant wrote:Caleb,
Not living in the teeming big cities of Oz, I still feel there has been a cultural tilt in this age of entitlement. Even the Labor Party was coming round to the notion that work gives self-respect and gives the individual some control over their lives. The latest election reinforces this belief. There has been a shift to personal responsibility rather than a reliance on what the state can do for me. I have a (maybe deluded) hope the tenure of Tony Abbott will serve to highlight the power of each person to chart their course in life without needing the assistance of a bureaucracy to decide what they can or can't do.


I hope so.

Most of my (upper) middle class friends in Melbourne voted Bobo the Clown (Greens). That's a worrying trend, not quite so much because of the absolute numbers (though they could still hold the balance of power). What worries me is that it seems quite common amongst the upper class to upper middle class. Those people punch above their weight class because they have important professional jobs, often in things to do with policy.

Check this out. My parents' electorate is blue ribbon Liberal Party, but look at the Bobo primary vote! It's 16%. Last election it was also 16%. That's one in six people, and not far below the ALP primary vote, and twice the national Bobo average! So then look at the profile of the candidate. Local privileged girl returns to area and works as a teacher in upper middle class/upper class school and becomes a member of the Bobo Party, despite the fact that her own electorate will never get a chance to experience the "richness" of those Bobo policies because the median house price is well over $1 million and no non-blue bloods will ever be able to afford to move into the area and "enrich" it. Muppet.

Mike: I'll have to reply to you later as I'm on my way out the door.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Caleb » 10 Sep 2013, 04:26

Mike wrote:
Caleb wrote:I think you're right about the affordability of policies. The new welfare for people with disabilities will become a massive scam within well under a decade.


My sentiments exactly. The inner-city luvvies were cock-a-hoop over this, I couldn't believe the naivety. You just have to look at some of the people with disability parking permits here in Sydney to realise how corrupt the whole disability "industry" is. And it will no doubt be the few genuinely deserving ones who will miss out on the largesse.


That's because those clowns (like those who voted Green in my parents' electorate) extrapolate from their own lives to the entire population. Just because Marjorie doesn't have a disabled permit for her BMW and isn't playing the system, behaves herself and all the rest of it, she assumes that everyone will be like her. Then there are the young Greens, the sons and daughters of Marjorie and her ilk, or whose parents even vote Liberal, who live around Melbourne Uni. and love all of this because when it all gets too tough for them they can head off to Florence for a holiday with their parents anyway.

Caleb wrote:His plan for maternity leave is absolutely insane too. Women do need to be encouraged to have babies, but I would have greatly preferred it if they'd gone with a combination of means testing and tax breaks for the partner's income.


Again, I agree entirely. That will prove completely unworkable, and they'll end up in a year's time saying that they never really meant it.


I tried to explain the economics of this to one of my cousins, but she did not want to hear it. People think money grows on trees. They absolutely do. She does the books for her husband's business. At the same time, she's into a whole "keep your hands off my uterus, but give me a big bag of money, though don't tax me or my husband's business more to do it" line of thought. She supposedly votes Liberal too, though I can't figure out why. Then again, maybe there really isn't any difference.

The NBN thing I can't quite make up my mind about. As a rule I'm cautiously in favour of that sort of public infrastructure, but the full-scale fibre-to-the-home option favoured by Labor relied to a very large extent on a market projection which is, in my opinion, far from certain. At the same time, Abbott's policy seems like a pointless halfway point to me. Why spend $30 billion putting in the new fibre infrastructure if you're going to leave the 90-year-old copper network in place?


Infrastructure projects are good and necessary, but one of two things ends up happening. The budgets end up blowing out or they try to cut some corners and the whole thing ends up a waste of time, or both. I think the NBN was one of those sticks those on the left latched onto in order to beat the Liberals. Not that the Liberals have any idea, as you say, but it was one more of those issues where it was easy to just paint Abbott as some sort of dinosaur against "progress". A lot of people have a lot of trouble differentiating between something being good and good value (or affordable).
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Grant » 10 Sep 2013, 11:46

Regarding Abbott's paid maternity leave, I wouldn't mind putting money on it either being scrapped or altered drastically because of the obvious unease in the coalition and throughout the community. It is at odds with Liberal Party philosophy and weakens Abbott stance as an economic rationalist. It also places greater burden on business through an additional tax. It won't last.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Caleb » 10 Sep 2013, 13:33

Grant wrote:Regarding Abbott's paid maternity leave, I wouldn't mind putting money on it either being scrapped or altered drastically because of the obvious unease in the coalition and throughout the community. It is at odds with Liberal Party philosophy and weakens Abbott stance as an economic rationalist. It also places greater burden on business through an additional tax. It won't last.


Trying to help women have kids sort of makes sense from a conservative point of view. It's just that the way they intend to go about it is really silly from an economic point of view. Watch lots of women (including my cousin, I suspect) get in a huge huff about it getting dropped. They'll pull a double whammy of "hands off my uterus" and "show me the money", without noting the irony, of course.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Mike » 11 Sep 2013, 07:59

Ha...just found this:

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/inter ... bbott.html

Few doubt where Abbott’s heart lies, however. Educated at Oxford and a devotee of Margaret Thatcher he’s a monarchist and Eurosceptic. He reportedly hates Theodore Dalrymple’s books because he hates their gloomy portrait of a Britain that he so loves.
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Re: Australian Federal Election 2013

Postby Mike » 26 Nov 2013, 23:25

Update.

So then, what's been happening under our new leader?

As I suspected, the problem is not his domestic policies but his ham-fisted approach to diplomacy and foreign relations. The left-liberal press have been all over his flagged public service cuts, his refusal to back the ill-defined education reforms planned by the previous government, and his hush-hush approach to the overblown illegal immigration issue, but this was to be expected. They also lambasted him over his close co-operation with Sri Lanka ("Human rights! Human rights!!") over the said immigration issue during the CHOGM conference, and compared him unfavourably with David Cameron who had a mild go at the Rajapaksa government for their treatment of Tamils. In my view, Cameron was just grandstanding and Abbott was acting responsibly in his country's interest (the situation in Sri Lanka is vastly more complicated and equivocal than the usual left suspects have been claiming - the LTTE were/are a particularly vicious and merciless group and if the Rajapaksa government have been equally brutal in suppressing them, which is beyond doubt, this is largely to be expected).

But then came the revelation, via our friend Edward Snowden and the Guardian, that the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD - a bit like MI5 except probably even more incompetent) had been tapping the phones of the Indonesian President and his wife. Similar to the Angela Merkel situation. Now this step had been taken under the previous (Rudd) government and Abbott bore no responsibility for it, and good relations with Indonesia are particularly crucial at the moment due to the illegal immigrant issue (the vast majority of those arriving come by boat from Indonesia, and the two governments have been co-operating, to some extent, over the issue).

It was therefore politically and diplomatically expedient to give a vague expression of regret (such as Obama did with Merkel, hypocritical as it may have been), while privately maintaining an attitude of business as usual. Instead, Abbott thundered that he wasn't going to apologise in any way, that this was the nature of international relations, that everyone spied on everyone else, etc. Now in a sense you can commend him for his honesty (and his bipartisanship), but from every other point of view this was a colossally stupid thing to do. It has poisoned our relationship with Indonesia and put an end to any effective co-operation over the immigrant issue, which will now inevitably get a good deal worse. It's also resulted in Abbott, rather than Rudd, getting chiefly blamed for the whole embarrassment.

I should add in passing that the Guardian have been typically disingenuous and cynical over the affair. They knew for months about the snooping, but didn't release the information during the election campaign (when it would have damaged Rudd), instead releasing it at the strategic moment when it caused the maximum embarrassment for Abbott. They were joined in this by the ABC, and the Murdoch press (which is manically pro-Abbott) responded in kind with a non-story about the pay-packets of some on-air ABC personalities. The Oz press is completely polarised at the moment.
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