Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nationals go feral and a disgruntled Opposition and media

After hearing nothing from the National Party during the election, we have been treated to the unedifying spectacle of Barnaby Joyce and Warren Truss launching strident and savage attacks against the two independent MPs who decided to support Labor in a minority government.  This behaviour is quite inappropriate and demonstrates the worst of "politics as usual" by MPs who should know better.

Tony Abbott, to his credit, has attempted to reign them in but has not been able to do so.  So much for a "stable opposition".  We have also seen attacks on the minority government by Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne, who labelled it as "illegitimate".   This was also inappropriate and was just more attack-dog style politics.

We also see the Coalition (all 74 of them) now committed to more whining and carping and incessant criticism of the minority government.  Imagine trying to run a company where 49% of the workers were sitting back and doing nothing other than finding fault, often for no good reason, with the other 51% working for the good of the company!   There is certainly no new paradigm being displayed here.

The response from large sections of the media is also curious.  Some seem outraged by the lack of a "winner takes all" result and subsequent autocratic behaviour of a particular political party.

As many observers have noted, minority government and power sharing arrangements are the norm in most modern democracies.  There is nothing wrong with this, and there are several advantages as we have already seen - such as better decision making, getting a wider range of issues considered by government and parliamentary reform to improve its function to name a few.

I was impressed by Tony Windsor's and Rob Oakeshott's short speeches when they announced their decision.  They made several excellent points and also provided a clear and considered basis for their decision to support a minority government with Labor, the Greens Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie.

Bob Katter had his moment in the sun and predictably swayed in the conservative direction of his constituents in Far North Queensland to support Tony Abbott and the Coalition.   Even though he displayes a visceral hate for a couple of the current national party members.  But then he knew they were not going to form government.

Some other points of interest are:

  • Penny Wong may be replaced as the minister responsible for climate change by Greg Combet.  Wong has been a dismal failure in the role, but Combet has previously launched intemperate attacks on the Greens. 
  • Peter Garrett is missing in action.  Off to the back bench I think, never to be seen again.
  • Rudd looks like he will be the next foreign minister - he would be the best for this role and Stephen Smith has graciously stepped down to vacate it
  • Wilson Tuckey has lost his seat to an "independent National".  Bye bye Wilson.
  • Stephen Conroy seems to still be pursuing his ill-considered "clean feed Great Firewall of Australia" despite the fact he won't get support in either house for it.  Drop it Stephen.
  • I still think Malcolm Turnbull should be offer the job as Treasurer.  Wayne Swan really doesn't seem to know what he is doing.
  • What will be become of Martin Fergusan?  Will he retain his job as Minister for Coal and Oil?  He had a massive swing against him in favour of the Greens Alex Bhathal.
  • "Border security" and "the population debate" have both disappeared off the radar, and so they should.  If Labor and the Coalition ramp up this sort of dangerous and errant nonsense in future elections then the Greens will pick up even more votes and more will get elected.   No more dog whistles please.
Hopefully we will see a rejuvenated political system with less gumpf from the mainstream media and opposition, and we will at last see some positive steps to the future, including steps to transition to a clean and safe energy future.


gavgams said...

I agree... a fair summation.

I really dislike the crises-mongering, tear down everything approach of the Lib / conservatives.

Sorry you didn't get up in local gov... I guess Balwyn wasn't quite calling. Interesting you were beaten by a Bloom who works for a David (both probably Jewish background whose families would have been towed out to sea by the Hansonite illiberals of today).

Peter Campbell said...

I left indigenous affairs off my list of issues, so did the Gillard minority government apparently.

Balwyn was an interesting result, I won the primary vote with 35% to Bloom's 32% but he was elected on preferences.

I understand he works for David David MP and got a tap on the shoulder to run for the Liberals, who despite their claims, like to have control of Boroondara Council.

Next time maybe!