Victorian election candidates: anti-muslim rants, date rape rapping but hey — who cares?

November 20, 2018

Having a plan to make a difference

I live in the safe Labor seat of Ivanhoe and, unlike the socialist foot soldiers who’ve descended on neighbouring Preston, nobody’s tried to doorknock my place, even though I am home most days and evenings. I did see the Liberal candidate, Monica Clark, in my street on a supervised walk-around, but maybe, after my side-eye glare as I pulled up to the kerb, she figured talking to me would be a waste of time.

What I have noticed though, is that many candidates, particularly from the major parties, are reluctant to put their party affiliation on the ubiquitous core flute posters. Instead, they rely on anodyne, ultimately meaningless slogans. Everybody is “Making a Difference”, or “Has a plan,” what they don’t tell us is what kind of difference will they make, or what their plan is supposed to achieve.

There was one exception I saw in the bayside suburb of St Kilda in the Albert Park electorate. There, the local Liberal candidate, Andrew Bond, has a plan to make the streets safer. He even managed to get a few lines of specific policy onto his roadside banner. He will install more street lighting and “engage with the community”. I only hope this guy gets a licensed electrician to install the new street lights at busy intersections because he doesn’t look fit enough to climb a light pole. No doubt it will make the street girls and the cruise-by punters on Carlisle street feel much safer knowing there’s enough light to record their movements and car number plates. Maybe he’ll wait and engage with local residents first; they might just tell him his plan sucks and he can save himself the bother of having to traipse around Elsternwick in a hi-viz vest carrying a ladder and a box of LED light fittings.

I’ve seen very few core flutes on my travels around the suburbs of Melbourne, but if the sheer number of posters and door-knocking volunteers is a guide to winners and losers then the Victorian Socialists’ candidate Stephen Jolly should easily win an upper house seat in the Northern Metropolitan division of the Legislative Council.

Unusually, the Victorian upper house has multimember electorates (divisions) and so there are five seats up for grabs in each electorate. The race in Metro North division – like most upper house contests – is likely to result in status quo in terms of the first four seats decided and the fifth seat is predicted to be a contest between Stephen Jolly and the incumbent, Fiona Patten of Reason (formerly the Sex Party). It is impossible to know how this will go because ten other minor party candidates are also running, and so preference swap deals could be crucial to the final outcome.

As it stands, Jolly and his team of enthusiastic young volunteers have been campaigning across a huge area of Melbourne that starts in the trendy inner northern suburb of Northcote, extends through the extensive migrant belt around Coburg and then out to the recently-settled northwest where farmland has been replaced with vast dormitory suburbs, many of which didn’t exist at the last election in 2014. The Victorian Socialists have had hundreds of volunteers out canvassing votes every weekend for at least the last six weeks and they’re confident of having about a thousand people on polling day to cover the 106 voting places across the electorate. On the other hand, Fiona Patten has a high profile, she is the incumbent and she is more palatable to the liberal media than a real socialist.

Every promise kept and a free set of steak knives

Now that the campaign is nearly over, the party promises have also become more niche, even approaching the level of ludicrous. The Liberal-National coalition has promised to give low-income households free televisions and cheap fridges if they upgrade to more energy-efficient models; but at the same time, Matthew Guy has promised to build a big new shiny (and presumably “clean”) coal or gas-fired power station to guarantee the generation of electricity to hospitals and schools. I wrote about energy policy a couple of weeks ago and most experts agree the COALition plan is backward-looking.

For its part, Labor has made the sensible promise to supply free sanitary products in the state’s schools.

Of course, there are some bigger issues in play too and some other candidates with plans that haven’t been going exactly according to plan.

Read the rest of this piece at Michael West’s news website.
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Is the Wentworth by-election result the middle of the beginning of the end for Skid?

October 21, 2018

I woke up this morning with a slight headache. Maybe it was the blackbird singing outside my bedroom well before dawn; maybe it was a disturbed sleep because the cat kept jumping on my head.

Nah, it was the celebration of the middle of the beginning of the end of  Scott Morrison’s interim occupation of the Prime Minister’s comfy leather couch.

 

I admit it. I probably had too much to drink, but who didn’t?

COALition supporters were either drowning their sorrows or drinking angrily whilst plotting revenge against someone — anyone really — on the other side of the factional fence.

Labor supporters were celebrating their guy losing so convincingly in a winning kind of way; while the Greens will find an excuse to drink at any time.

Kerryn Phelps deserves to nurse her own hangover this morning too. She has woken up to the aftermath of a political tsunami that rose up out of Double Bay on Saturday morning and came crashing down along the sandy coastline from Bronte to the Sydney Heads in the evening twilight.

It feels delicious to write this morning that Skid has led his tory scum to their worst EVER defeat in a by-election. It is historic and has captured attention from the international media.

Wentworth Nightmare

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Malcolm Turnbull 30 days on #Newspoll death row

April 9, 2018

Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is safe for now. However, as political editor Dr Martin Hirst reports, he is forever stained by his 30th Newspoll loss in a row.

Published on Independent Australia

MALCOLM TURNBULL increasingly looks like a very worried man.

It’s not surprising really; last weekend he was at an AFL game in Sydney and when his face was projected onto the big screen, the crowd let out a mighty roar.

Well, it was a sustained booing noise really and the Fizza looked very, very uncomfortable.

Today he is looking – and no doubt feeling – a lot more uncomfortable. It’s easy enough to shrug off a few, perhaps light-hearted boos at the footy; it’s a lot harder to ignore your 30th Newspoll loss in a row. Hard indeed, when your initial claim to the prime ministership was that your hapless predecessor had reached that magic number. But that is indeed the precarious position that Malcolm Turnbull finds himself in this week.

This week, Turnbull closed the gap a little on Shorten, but really only within the statistical margin of error. The ALP still holds a four-point lead – 52-48 – over the COALition. The shift in Turnbull’s favour is not enough to overcome the ALP’s substantial two-party preferred lead over the COALition.

He’s safe for now. But, not, perhaps, for much longer. According to reported comments, the main leadership contenders –Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop – have spent the last few days pledging their loyalty.

And we all know what that means … the leadership speculation will continue and so will the internal plotting against Turnbull.

Now, he’s also facing the difficulty of having a formal faction of backbenchers – the so-called Monash Group – who will be meeting regularly to agitate against the Government’s coal and energy policies. It’s not difficult to believe they’ll also be discussing Malcolm’s failures of leadership too.

Je ne regret, rein?

In late 2015 Malcolm Turnbull cited then Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s 30 Newspoll losses in a row as one of the reasons he launched his challenge. Now he is rueing the day. In the lead up to his 24th consecutive loss in the poll numbers, Turnbull was widely quoted as saying he regretted making the 30-loss issue so prominent.

“I do regret having said it,” Turnbull admitted today during a live internet radio interview with News Corp columnist Miranda Devine:

“Only because it allowed people to focus on that, rather than the substantive reasons [for my challenge]. The substantive reasons that I stated were related to economic leadership and governance.”

Instead, Turnbull has claimed that his challenge to Abbott was based on the latter’s poor communication practices and his failing economic policies. That was in December last year. Now he has added to his tally of failures and equalled Abbott’s disastrous record.

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Iran update #1: Real revolution will not be taking the bus either

June 23, 2009

Mousavi suporters have called for a general strike to begin in Iran today (Tuesday Iran time). This is the way forward. In 1979 it was the industrial working class and in particular the oil workers who led the revolution until it was hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists.

This could be the beginning of a new uprising of working class anger that is secularist and organised. It is, in my view, the most significant working class action since Solidarity in the 1970s and could trigger a wider regional revolt against regimes that have given support to the Iranians over the past few years.

I was talking to an Iranian protester in Auckland yesterday. He was quoting Jean Paul Satre, not the Qu’uran. That is significant too. Secular Iranians don’t want Islamic fundamentalism, but where will their political leadership come from. Hopefull from comrades like these brave Iranian bus workers.

This is a statement the bus drivers’ union issued on the weekend. Full link is at Narcosphere

The Autobus Workers Union of Iran (Sendikaye Sherkat Vahed, in Farsi)

In recent days we have witnessed the passionate presence of millions of women and men, the old and the young, and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, people who want their government to recognize their most basic right, the right to freely, independently, and transparently elect, a right that in most societies around the world is not only recognized officially but for whose protection no effort is neglected.

In the current situation, we witness threats, arrests, killings, and naked persecution, which threaten to grow in dimension and lead to the shedding of innocent people’s blood thus bringing a rise in popular protests and not in their decline.

Iranian society is facing a deep political and economic crisis. Million-strong protests, which have manifested themselves with a silence that is replete with meaning, have become a pattern that is growing in area and dimension, a growth that demands a response from any responsible person and organization.

The Autobus Workers Union in an announcement issued before the elections declared, “in the absence of the freedom for political parties, our organization is naturally deprived of a social institution that can protect it.”

“Workers of the Autobus Workers Union consider their social involvement and political activity to be the certain right of each member of society and furthermore believe that workers across Iran as long as they submit the platforms of presidential candidates and a practical guarantee about campaign slogans can choose to participate or not participate in elections.”

The fact that the demands of the vast majority of Iranian society go far beyond those of unions is obvious to all, and in the previous years we have emphasized that until the principle of the freedom to organize and to elect is not materialized, any talk of social freedom and labor union rights will be a farce.

Given these facts, the Autobus Workers Union places itself alongside all those who are offering themselves in the struggle to build a free and independent civic society. The union condemns any kind of suppression and threats.

To recognize labor-union and social rights in Iran, the international labor organizations have declared the Fifth of Tir (June 26) the international day of support for imprisoned Iranian workers as well as for the institution of unions in Iran. We want that this day be viewed as more than a day for the demands of labor unions to make it a day for human rights in Iran and to ask all our fellow workers to struggle for the trampled rights of the majority of the people of Iran.

With hope for the spread of justice and freedom,

Autobus Workers Union