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

political balance: a coalition « Previous | |Next »
July 4, 2011

Moir's cartoon is misleading as Gillard's political tightrope in the current Parliament is one in which The Greens in the Senate are balanced by the country independents in the House of Representatives. It is not as one sided as Moir represents. What we have in effect is a coalition government between Labor, The Greens and the country independents.


Things will not necessarily return to normal at the next election for the ALP as coalition may well be the future for the Labor party, given that the pattern of it's primary vote ( around 38%) is just not enough for it to form Government in its own right.

The conservative response (ie., that of Liberal /National coalition) to this situation has been that the Gillard Government provides weak leadership because it is beholden to the Greens and to the Independents, and so the Labor government is always giving the appearance of constantly compromising.

Thus Kenneth Wiltshire in Appeasing minorities keeps Julia Gillard off message in The Australian says that he government and its governance:

is not assisted by ministers having to bend to demands from independents and Greens: witness the costly mess that is the NBN and the revival of a telecomminications (sic) monopoly in Australia, in part at least because of the independents' demands for instant broadband in every nook and can voters know where Gillard stands, and trust her judgment, when they can see that she is constantly swayed to and fro by her partners in these pacts?...Gillard needs to form a true minority government, develop Labor policies with Labor politicians alone and stand by them, and take them forthrightly into the parliament.

The NBN is a Labor policy that is supported by the Country Independents and opposed by the Liberal/National Coalition.

Secondly, one of those leaks---upon which journalism thrives---about the details of the forthcoming agreement on the carbon tax within the multiparty party committee indicates that the Greens are having to give ground --eg., there is to be no carbon tax on petrol for households, tradies and small businesses. The Greens had wanted petrol covered because transport causes around 17% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. They lost. So they cannot be calling the policy shots.

Mungo McCallum at The Drum says that though the Greens have become the dominant minority group in the Senate, replacing the DLP and the Democrats, and look set to hold that position for some time, that's where it begins and ends. he adds:

The Greens are certainly an interesting and dynamic development and will have considerable influence on the future direction of politics in Australia. But under our present structure, within the formal process of government they will seldom have more than nuisance value.

They may be a genuine minority party - but they are a minority, for without the support of one of the major parties they can achieve precisely nothing.

McCallum assumes that Labor can govern on its own in the future. It is that assumption that is questionable.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:50 AM | | Comments (5)


Abbott is the human slogan. He has a slogan a week. This week its 'mandate'.

The big policy shift on energy is starting. There is a long way to go.

This report shows that the world consumed 13.2bn tons of oil-equivalent from all sources in 2010: 33.6% from oil, 29.6% from coal, 23.8% from natural gas, 6.5% from hydroelectricity, 5.2% from nuclear energy, and a mere 1.3% from all renewable forms of energy. Together, fossil fuels – oil, coal, and gas – supplied 10.4bn tons, or 87% of the total.

That energy mix is going to be hard to change.

When the Greens began negotiations with the government and rural independents they insisted petrol be subject to the carbon price. They met strong resistance from Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott. Windsor said he would not support a scheme that increased petrol costs for country people.

The leaks says that the Greens have negotiated a fund to invest in renewable energy which will be paid for from the proceeds of pricing carbon and worth up to $2 billion a year.

the rise of the Greens has see the ALP increasingly move to the right. They've been in step with the LIberals in an attempt to hold onto its working class base through polling and focus groups.

Consequently the future for the party is bleak as a stand-alone party.

I just noticed something quite odd!

This morning... the day after 9 Greens gathered in the Senate... the sun came up as usual. It doesn't seem at all like the End of Days.

That said, I suspect that it's NOT a coincidence that yesterday was 4th of July!