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Does honesty matter? Labor still supports the Carbon Tax – Nothing has changed: WA Senate election

Posted By Joanne Nova On April 4, 2014 @ 8:24 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

UPDATE: 50% counted so far, likely result = Lib 2 | Lab 2 | Greens 1 | Pup 1 [ABC tally]  (This page says all 6 seats are “elected” yet only 50% is counted. Can someone explain? – Jo]

The WA re-election of six senators runs tomorrow. The carbon tax lie is still here, the zombie law dead, but living.  The Abbott government can’t get the legislation through the Senate to bury it.

It’s been a novel political strategy by the Labor Party: make a definitive commitment to voters, win by the skin of your teeth, then do the exact opposite. Get caned in the next poll, lose resoundingly. Then stick with the commitment you promised you wouldn’t commit too. Apparently, at the core of the Labor Party philosophy — Truth Is Optional. Changing the weather is more important than being straight with the voters. It’s how you serve them, right?

Ponder the ambition. Gillard declared  “there will be no carbon tax” then chose voluntarily, in full view, and with no gun to her head, to break her commitment. She hoped perhaps the Australian people would a/ forget, b/ say thanks, or c/ be understanding — after all, She Really Really Wanted To Be PM. (It could happen to anyone.)

Alas, it didn’t work. Nor did the propaganda. The public didn’t like being deceived, and they don’t want climate action much either. They twice voted not to be carbon taxed. Having suffered a bucketing, Labor’s new strategy is to do “more of the same”.  Could voters make it any clearer?

The question no one seems to be asking the Labor Party is whether being honest matters — they got rid of Gillard but kept fighting for the proceeds of her crime. Many of the MPs still here today were accomplices in voting the deceit in, and as long as the Tax is still here they are still endorsing the tactic.

This is a matter of principle that ought to trump any policy. Without trust, we have nothing. What does an election campaign or a democracy mean if politicians can promise one thing and do the opposite?

Armchair critics will protest that “all politicians lie!” But this lie was a Richter-scale-10.  Politicians have always overpromised and underachieved, they’ve always said “we’ll build a bridge by January then cure unemployment” and failed. We can debate whether they knew beforehand that their promise was or was not achieveable.  But when a politician says “I will not do X” and then does exactly X, what’s left to debate? It crosses the line in the direction of fraud and deception. Could there be mitigating circumstances? Sure plague, war, mass death, maybe mental illness. Gillard’s excuse was that she didn’t know a “hung parliament” could occur when she made the promise. Bollocks. The hung parliament changed nothing. Except that her government won by the tiniest of margins and had a nano-thin-mandate. It was legally real, but popularly-not.

The result turned on a mere 400 voters in Corangamite (and those two independent unrepresentative members). How many voters would have voted the other way if they had known Gillard was going to do the opposite of what she and Swan were saying loud and clear? A friend urged me to vote Labor back then, saying it would be ok because Gillard and Swan were promising not to introduce a carbon tax.If Labor had been a moderate, centrist and sensible government, as befitted its oh-so-tight win, it might still be in power.

The only way to show that the Labor Party or Bill Shorten are honest, and care about honesty, is to axe the Carbon Tax. Lies for the environment are not OK. The ends does not justify the means.

If the case for a carbon tax or trading scheme is real, urgent and obvious. Then after removing the carbon tax, gaining respect and regaining trust, the Labor Party will be in a much better position to explain the overwhelming case for Climate Action and the people will vote for them in  2016.  This would be the honest approach, the one that shows respect for the voters.

There are many in the Labor Party who are dismayed at the continuing rot within the party.

The media support the big party machines

Once again in the media run up to an election, what I haven’t seen is any realistic effort by journalists to tell us about the minor parties. The ABC did token efforts on the Hemp Party, and Wayne Dropulich got a small mention, but there was next to nothing on any other contenders.

If a brilliant, honest smart person ran for government in Australia with a minor party they might as well wear an invisibility cloak — the public would never know. What this means is that anyone from outside the big party machines has to resort to playing preference games, setting up front parties — each party carrying a one line bumper sticker message of their policies. It’s a messy way to do it, but that’s the only way to get their message out.

After this election the smaller parties will find it even harder. Soon parliament is bound to vote to change the current Senate rules and raise the bar to entry. That would be fine if the media gave the minor parties a chance, but I can’t see that happening.

How to Vote?

I’ll be voting for minor parties. Boringly, taking the time to number one to 77 below the line. Does it matter? Apparently only 14 votes changed the direction of the preference flow in the 2013 election, so yes, yes, and yes. Do make the effort.

What to do? Current rules mean non-West Australians can stand to be a West Australian Senator. But they are the rules, just this one last time. Sigh. I wish my favorite candidates were from WA, but ask whether  it’s possible that a non-West Australian might serve your needs better in the Senate than plenty of WA candidates. It could be.

  • The Liberal Democrat Party has a philosophy that is hard not to agree with (don’t hurt people, don’t take their stuff). They are running two candidates: Jim Fryar, and Neil Hamilton.
  • The No Carbon Tax, Climate Skeptics Party has renamed itself the Freedom and Prosperity Party, they have two candidates, Bill Koutalianos, and Leon Ashby. Anyone who wants to help hand out flyers for them should call WA Property Rights Association – 10 Kearns Crescent, Ardross. Ph 0409 082442

Election information

  • List of Candidates AEC
  • Group voting tickets are here  (for people who want to vote above the line and know where there votes are going.) The Freedom and Prosperity Party (Climate Skeptics) tell me their preferences are Minors, LDP, Palmer, Nationals, Libs, Labor, other minors, Greens last.

Preferences: Which minor parties are on which side of the fence?

Inasmuch as the party preferences can tell us anything about the philosophy of the candidates, there are only a few minor parties who have put Labor ahead of the Libs. Those are: Sustainable Population, The HEMP Party, The Secular Party, The Sex Party, and the Socialist Alliance. Katter has split the ticket.

Every other minor party has put the Liberals ahead of Labor. For whatever that is worth…

To answer Ian in comments: The ALP are preferencing the Greens at 17, far ahead of the Libs. The Libs have put the six Greens last, bar two unknown independents.

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