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Showing posts from August, 2013

Political hipsters

There was conservative glee yesterday, because Kevin Rudd went to the Northern Territory and announced that he supports special treatment in tax and economic policy to boost development there. This is a policy that belongs to Australian conservatives: the IPA is a long-time supporter, Tony Abbott had a thought-bubble about it, and Gina Rinehart is a big fan, to the extent that she included it in her famous poem. ("The world's poor need our resources: do not leave them to our fate / Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late" is its final couplet!)

So this is being seized on as a recognition by the ALP that, despite the scare campaigns and the high-octane rhetoric, Tony Abbott and the Coalition are actually right about policy issues. There was a similar sort of reaction when Kevin announced his new refugee policy - in fact, every time in the last four years the government has made its policy harsher - and when he announced the faux…

Scott Morrison In 'Basically A Racist' Shock

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Well, this happened. My mum went into a spin last night when she first heard about it. Initially I thought she was being a bit unreasonable. But having read about it this morning, I can confidently say that the Coalition's new policy is nonsensical and xenophobic.

Here's what's happening: Julia Gillard last year announced the Houston Review, in classic get-the-military-involved-in-refugee-policy style. The end result of that review was that there should be a "no advantage" policy, under which coming to Australia would not get you settled any more quickly than waiting in a UNHCR camp. So there are quite a lot of people in Australia who basically aren't getting their claims processed, in order that they don't get any advantage. These people arrived over the last year, before Rudd's policy switch. They are now here. Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott are now saying that they will never get permanently settled in the country.

Tony Abbott and the conscience vote killed marriage equality

This is infuriating.

Last night, Kevin Rudd promised that if re-elected he would bring on a vote on marriage equality within the first hundred days of his government. That is good, and it's fantastic to see that the ALP believes marriage equality is a vote-winner worth making a campaign issue out of.

Rudd remains committed to a conscience vote. The result of the last vote was a 42-98 defeat, with ALP members voting their conscience and the Coalition voting in a bloc against. So the contours are fairly clear: if the Coalition doesn't give its MPs a conscience vote, there will be no marriage equality; if it does, the odds are somewhere round even.

Why didn't Tony Abbott give his members a conscience vote? Well, we know he is a devout Catholic who opposes marriage equality himself. But the reason he gives is this: the issue wasn't on the radar before the 2010 election, and to the extent that it was, the Coalition's position was to oppose marriage equality, so it's…

Julia Gillard and the media

There's a book out fairly recently called 'The Stalking of Julia Gillard', about Kevin Rudd's long-term campaign to regain the Prime Ministership and the role played by the media. I have only read the first two chapters, and to be honest it seems fairly boring. The book is a kind of diary-style recount of The Saga of Julia and Kevin and the media's treatment of it, though unfortunately it ends in March 2013 and so doesn't quite get to the tale's conclusion.

Anyway, maybe it's interesting, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend reading it. In particular because I think the most important point is made by the Appendix, which I'm going to write out here. The Appendix is a chronology of predictions and assessments by journalists - not all journalists, just a select few - about the Labor leadership. It leaves out, also, all the critical commentary that was written about things not strictly related to the leadership: the carbon tax, mining tax, Malaysia…