Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

things stall « Previous | |Next »
August 5, 2004

I've just returned to Adelaide from the Canberra hothouse to find that the storms have passed and it has stopped raining for the moment. Even with a bit of rain on Monday and Tuesday Canberra was still very dry compared to a soggy Adelaide.

Parliament was strangely quiet during the day--everybody was living in a shadow land waiting for the Mexican standoff to finish. Few paid attention to the empty polemics in the House of Representatives.

Still the ALP felt good. As they understood it, the tables had been turned. They were no longer on the political rack having their internal contradictions around the FTA stretched. Howard had to swallow a bitter pill. It was a moment to savour.

Bill Leak

You can see why those connected to the ALP are feeling good. They escaped the trap set by Howard. They cannot be accused of being deeply anti-American anymore. They are now the defender of the PBS, a mainstay of Australia's "universal" health system. Whilst the Labor protects cheap medicine for Australians the Government caves into the multinational drug companies. Health has become a mainstay election issue, and the great political divide on the US alliance has been successfully fudged.

Nobody is sure how the domestic political stand-off will end, when, or how. Or even when the election would be called. Everything has stalled. But you can sense the momentum building for a September 18 election to be called at the end of this session of Parliament.

The upshot of all this is that we had three days of parliament and no legislation was passed in the Senate. No legislation was even considered by the Senate, apart from the enabling legislation for the Free Trade Agreement. The three days were devoted to campaigning by the political parties even though an election had not even been called.

It is a strange political moment to be living in. A shadowland world.

August 6
The news this morning suggested Howard is moving towards accepting the ALP ambit under the cover of lots of political noise. He has little choice, if he wants to continue with his campaign to push Labor and Latham back onto the political ropes. The energy levels of the ALP are up. Chris has a bounce in his step. Guido recognizes the tactic employed from way back.

Maybe there will be some legislation passed in Parliament next week now? And we won't get real policy debate in Parliament next week over free trade. It, and the media commentary, will be on short-term political gain.

But you can bet a dime that the ALP will remain silent on the intellectual property provisions in the enabling legisation and the text of the FTA. They reckon that Mickey Mouse should get ever more protection under the guise of free trade deal.

Oh, it has started raining again in Adelaide. Pouring down.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:54 PM | | Comments (0)