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

Andrew Wilkie plays a cool hand « Previous | |Next »
August 31, 2010

Whilst conservatives rediscover the liberal principles of federalism and continue to denounce green populism the Independent member for Dennison, is talking good political sense.


Andrew Wilkie says that his core position is that wants Tasmania's only acute care hospital (The Royal Hobart) to be refurbished and the laws governing poker machines reformed. He adds that in the last few months the Labor government has been neither stable, competent or ethical and he's yet to be persuaded that the opposition can do any better. They must do better.

These are not the words either the ALP or the Coalition would want to hear from Wilkie, who seems to be modeling himself on Brian Harradine's conception of the role of an Independent.

On Wilkie's interpretation, that role of Independent does not include using the levers of power to push for root and branch parliamentary reform, which would include a Parliamentary Budget Office. He is more interested in policy than trying to break down the procedurally corrupt two party system of governance in order to strengthen the Parliament and allow it to act as an effective check on the Executive comprised of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Wilkie does spell out his criteria for support:

If I decide to support the ALP or the coalition parties, then that support, in essence, will only extend to a commitment to not block supply and not to support any reckless no-confidence motions.I will fiercely defend my right to vote on any piece of legislation on its merits....They will know they will have to negotiate with me on every piece of legislation and I'll have to be convinced on the merits of that legislation...If a no-confidence motion is brought to bear with substance, if someone has acted dishonestly or grossly unethically, of course, I will vote to bring down whoever that is. I will always vote to bring down people who are dishonest, grossly unethical and who are letting the people of Australia down.

Ethical government is a bit left of field for both Liberal and Labor, both of whom will be gunning for his seat in the next federal election.

As expected The Greens have formally sided with Labor. In return Labor has offered

the formation of a climate change committee
a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan
a referendum on recognising Indigenous Australians
restrictions on political donations
legislation on truth in political advertising
the establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Committee
a leaders' debates commission
a move towards full three-year parliamentary terms
two-and-a-half hours of allocated debate for private members' bills
access for Greens to various Treasury documents.

The Greens don't seem that interested in pushing for substantial parliamentary reform so that Parliament acts as a check on executive power.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:30 AM | | Comments (8)


Perish the thought there should be acountability and transperancy.
The majors, across all three tiers, have fought the above principles, and themselves,and the country, to a standstill over it.
With the inability of labor politicians to keep their factions and the vested interests sheltering amongst those in check, we are condemned to at least three years of Abbott and his big end mates- what damge he will do we canonly speculate upon, but from where I stand, it looks potentially disastrous.

everybody is now in favour of reforming Parliament after the 3 country independents let it be known that this was a key concern. The two majors are falling over themselves in establishing their deep desire to reform Parliamentary procedures.

Looks like the media is getting bored with the situation and is finding other things to report on. Parlimentary reform isnt going to sell Toyotas. Unless someone gets some footage of one of the indies counting 250,000 in his hotel room I'd say it will be all over by the weekend.

Please Gary don't do that again.
After I visited the second of your links, the ultra right business one, I had to go and have a shower to get rid of the foam and fleck of the ravings of whoever it was that wrote that stuff.
I was chortling away reading his diatribe when I looked down and saw the spray of his bile all over my shirt.
Tsk tsk.
I must confess I didn't know people still wrote that sort of thing anymore.

Michael Stutchbury, the Economics editor of the Australian, has been pretty awful in his negative commentary ever since the global financial crisis and the stimulus package. Free markets forever kind of stuff with poor economic analysis.

I didn't bother linking to Stutchbury's commentary before but things have changed in their eyes eg.,

Yes, modern Labor has degenerated to the point where the Treasurer allows the prospect of protectionist horse-trading to be part of the equation for forming Australia's next government. And so Australia's political deadlock threatens to encourage the rise of a new industry protectionism driven by the anti-capitalist Greens in cahoots with left-wing trade unions and rural populism.

Stutchbury is linking Brandt and Katter to Labor around protectionism even though Gillard has rejected raising tariffs.

Stutchbury is missing the stronger or deeper linkages between Brandt and Windsor around climate change, water and sustainable agriculture because of his idea of climate change being a Trojan horse for nationalisation. He says nothing about The Greens trying to protect agricultural land from encroachment by the coal industry.

On the other hand, we have an interesting book on the struggle over old growth native forests in Tasmania.

I can't say that the Canberra Press Gallery is proving much of a guide to what is going on in Canberra.

Andrew Wilkie is not impressed with the ALP's written response to the list of issues he had raised. The response was unacceptable.

Does that mean the ALP wasn't prepared to buy into pokies reform despite making sympathetic noises? Wilkie had said that poker machine reform, specifically $1 maximum bets and losses of no more than $120 an hour, was one of his top ''priorities'' in his negotiations with the political leaders about forming a minority government.

Where to now. Wilkie is waiting for the Coalition's written response. That reply will probably receive a similar response from Wilkie.

He is right about the poxies. They are an evil dumb people don't need.
The best reform you could have would be to go back to having to use 20c peices. In those days people had to go up to a window and change their money to a cup full of coins. Now we have a situation where people can just put notes in a silently lose hundreds.
I dont put money in them but I do notice that pokey rooms are no where near as busy as they used to be. Partly due to the anti-smoking laws and partly due to economic times.
I have always been concerned at the lethal combination of alcohol and pokies. Is it right to get people tipsy/drunk then steer them toward flashing lights that say WIN WIN WIN ? Perhaps the reform needs to be there too?