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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

biopolitics « Previous | |Next »
November 4, 2004

I reckon that if Australian citizens had realised that there was a real possibility of a Coalition Senate majority, then they would have probably have changed their Senate votes, whilst continuing to vote for a Liberal government in the House. Andrew Norton over at Catallaxy concurs with this judgement.

But no-one was aware of that possibility, least of all the ALP. I had naively assumed that the Australian Greens would pick up the Democrat pieces and then hoped that the Greens would gain the balance of power in the Senate.

Charles Richardson says that "because of six-year terms, the Coalition will retain its majority until 2011, unless it does exceptionally badly at the next election, since it only needs to hold three seats in each state."

For some conservatives that means power with responsibility in contrast to 'responsibility without power', which they say, has been the scourge of the Australian political system. Now that Howard has control of the Senate so he has the power to exercise the responsibility he's been given.

What for? To achieve what, apart from a backlog of bills? And a rollback of environmental legislation to satisfy the Van Diesel diehards in the National Party?

A suggestion. The new conservatism means a Senate being used as an instrument of government to promote conservative values. It means using government departments to promote a conservative biopolitics.

CartoonPryor6.jpg
Geoff Pryor

Richardson says that the independence of the Senate may come from people voting Labor next time around, thereby reintroducing the dynamic of a government with an opposition-controlled Senate.

I reckon the best strategy is to increase the presence of the Greens in the Senate. Initially, it is to enable the Greens to obtain 5 senators and so obtain party status; then to help them to obtain the balance of power. A green Senate.

My reason?

The ALP is not enough as an opposition. They wilt too easily when it comes to confronting conservative biopolitics. They can toss liberalism away, just like that. Or their liberalism is pretty reactive and reconciled to conservatism these days. Many conservatives in the party are already calling for the ALP to blur the differences between themselves and the Coalition. They desire to close the cultural gap by opposing abortion and gay rights. They want to cave in on the moral issues and ease up on the criticism of Israel.

Let's call them on the buckling because they can't stand the heat.

In the meantime we have to rely on the High Court to defend constitutional liberalism, safeguard democracy, ensure the responsible use of political power by an overweening executive, and to keep the checks and balances in play against the trigger happy cowboys who desire to remodel society.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:59 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

"I reckon that if Australian citizens had realised that there was a real possibility of a Coalition Senate majority, then they would have probably have changed their Senate votes...."

I suppose this could apply to any voters anytime. Perhaps we should hold 2 elections over successive weekends, so that voters get to see how they would have voted first time round. Then they can choose more wisely the second time. Of course the inevitable might occur as voters realize they can fox the first round vote and get a second crack at it.

Observa,
I do think that a lot of ALP votes would have been very happy with all their preferences going to elect Family First.

Nor would I think that a lot of social liberal women in the Liberal Party would have been happy with a conservative Senate that would use the Senate to continue the culture wars against women's bodies.

I reckon people in the middle were scared off by a Green dominated Senate.