Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


THE VERDICT: Federal Election 2016

*Pic: Flashback to an earlier election night … 2010, and Dr Kevin Bonham is hard at work …

There’s only one place to go on Election Night. The website of the nation’s foremost psephologist, the peerless Dr Kevin Bonham, HERE. Kevin’s already done a pre-poll roundup: Final poll and campaign roundup, HERE

• Ed: This item is now open for comment … that is, general comment … Comments relating specifically to Dr Bonham will not be published; other than on his website, HERE


• If you have pics of polling booths, election posters etc, whack ’em to editor@oldtt.pixelkey.biz

*Lindsay Tuffin has been a journo since 1969, mainly in Tassie …

• John Hawkins in Comments: I think that it would be safe to say that Abetz has cost the Liberals government in Australia with the loss of at least three seats in Tasmania. Why? Abetz Number one on the Senate ticket a serious turnoff for many in the electorate. Abetz as the senior Liberal not allowing any women candidates. A Liberal Party in the thrall of the extreme right under Abetz and Nikolic. Well done Tasmania … Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall of blue.



  1. John Hawkins

    July 2, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I think that it would be safe to say that Abetz has cost the Liberals government in Australia with the loss of at least three seats in Tasmania.


    Abetz Number one on the Senate ticket a serious turnoff for many in the electorate.

    Abetz as the senior Liberal not allowing any women candidates.

    A Liberal Party in the thrall of the extreme right under Abetz and Nikolic.

    Well done Tasmania … Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall of blue.

  2. Tim Thorne

    July 2, 2016 at 11:27 am

    It is time we had electronic voting. I was prevented from voting by the combined incompetences of the Australian and Italian postal services.

    I was notified by the AEC that my ballot papers had been posted on a date which should have ensured that they reached me in Italy with enough time to get them back inside the limit to be counted. As of election day they had not arrived.

    In 2016 this is just not good enough. I am grateful that the result in Bass is not close enough to have been affected, but the Senate could be another matter.

  3. Mike Adams

    July 2, 2016 at 11:45 am

    I suspect that many like myself were appalled at the contrast between the buckets of money that the Liberals obviously spent on advertising and the penury they preached to the rest of us.

    A friend noted that if Labor got in he’d start doubting the power of money. I think his doubts are stirring…

  4. Pete Godfrey

    July 2, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    #3 Mike I too was appalled by the money spent by the LIbs. They had posters everywhere a long time before anyone else. I looked at their website and they said please donate to us as we don’t have access to the wealthy unions that the ALP have access to. Well they sure had plenty of money, and after reading about the Parakeelia scam we know where a lot of it came from.
    We are so lucky in Australia that the people are not fooled enough by political rubbish to give one party total control. In my opinion a hung parliament is the best outcome for all.

  5. Simon Warriner

    July 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Over a cup of tea with a couple of friends yesterday the subject of the Exclusive Bretheran owned businesses came up. We listed the number of Bretheran businesses we knew about on the NW Coast and it is an impressive list. We know that this cult are very generous donors to the Libs, and that Mr Abetz is a prominent link in that chain. We know that they claim to be a religious organisation.

    What we don not know is to what extent those businesses are owned by the church within its structures and to what extent they are relying on the tax exempt status afforded religious organisations.

    Perhaps some brave journalist might like to follow this up while they keep track of the pedophilia allegations revealed in the Mercury a couple of weeks ago……

    ON a happier note, I see that the Australian voters have rejected Turnbulls appeal to fear and his demand for an absolute majority.

  6. Andrew Ricketts

    July 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    What has occurred? Regardless of the final outcome of this trumped up double dissolution election, at the minimum:

    1. The Liberal’s mandate has gone.

    2. The people of Australia are not overly concerned about stability.

    3. The people of Australia clearly want both fairness and a cooperative parliament where their views and concerns are both represented and pursued.

    4. No more mantra, bullshit, disadvantage or marginalisation can be tolerated.

    Last night Turnbull’s veneer cracked – Underneath, seething arrogance remains. The Liberal’s seem unlikely to learn.

    When it all comes down to it the Liberal’s remain committed to pillaging the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged.

  7. Studler van Surck

    July 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Those three amigos were certainly profitable suckers for the corflute industry. More than an estimated 6.5 hectares of it printed with 450 litres of blue ink. Here is hoping that there is a bit money left over to remove the damn things quickly.

  8. Homeward Bound

    July 2, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    It was with great joy and glee that Abetz went on at #58. I cheered loud hearing about Nikolic’s loss, which turned into riotous laughter with the one-by-one toppling of the “Three Amigos”. Seeing the front page of the paper today just cemented my humour.

    Congratulations Wilkie, extending a now insurmountable margin. I’m proud to support you.

  9. TGC

    July 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    #8 Andrew Wilkie- and the 4 Labor MHR’s may prove to be political eunuchs. Why should a Coalition Government love those who hate it?= and please don’t clap-trap about ‘elected to serve everybody regardless of political colour’
    Who the hell ever did that?- certainly not Andrew Wilkie.

  10. Casey

    July 2, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Oh how sadly I have missed Bob Ellis’ pen these past weeks!


  11. William Boeder

    July 2, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Meanwhile the majority of Tasmanian citizens are reconciled with the fact that you Mr TGC are accorded the same support as shown to the Three Amigo’s and their Coach Erich Abetz.
    It bothers me that you are so supportive of the Brett Whitely type of government minister, I am yet to discover any personal or even Liberal party achievement that can be attributed to this grinning footpath pounder in the Braddon electorate.
    Arguably you Mr TGC disagree with the popular following by the people of Tasmania that is being accorded to Mr Andrew Wilkie, then you will disagree to the expulsion of Andrew Nikolic, (he who demanded the respect and admiration that is often given to worthy persons) however the Tasmanian citizens are proudly pleased with the trouncing of that lack-lustre effete burden upon Tasmanian society.

    Mr Nickolic impressed me in the way that he could cope with the task of becoming the personal batman of his mentor, Erich ‘of the Exclusive Brethren’ Abetz.
    The Abetz days in the sun seem over, replaced with the days of gloom and misery upon their iniquitous Tasmanian Liberal selves.
    The cost to Tasmania to host this party of pretending government ministers has been high, the returns to Tasmania being low, almost to the point of invisible to the naked eye.

  12. TGC

    July 3, 2016 at 12:44 am

    #11 Actually…”No”! or maybe “Yes”!

  13. Peter Maddox

    July 3, 2016 at 12:51 am

    #9 “Why should a Coalition Government love those who hate it?”….. Exactly, and this is precisely the reason they were absolutely smashed at the polls yesterday.Turnbull’s post election speech last night had to be seen to be believed. In many respects it was quite sad to see an articulate, well educated man reduced to a pathetic, babbling idiot. I still think the best is yet to come though…..watching the Liberals do what they said they would never do……squirm and grovel to those they have absolutely nothing in common with just to cling on to the last vestiges of power.

  14. William Boeder

    July 3, 2016 at 2:05 am

    I refer to my comment at #11, many of Tasmania’s people would not be familiar with the term of ‘batman’ as this was the term given to describe the personal servant that was available to military officers of substantial rank.
    I understand that Andrew Nikolic had risen to the rank of Brigadier at some point in his military career, that rank would have provided him with a personal servant, hence a ‘batman.’
    In all likelihood this terminology may have had some forum attendees baffled and causing some level of confusion.
    Other than this anomaly in my comment at #11, the comment at #12, “Actually…”No”! or maybe “Yes”!
    Would be consistent with a reply from someone not comprehending each or both of his own ‘ambiguities and ambivalences.’
    Does this help you TGC?

  15. TGC

    July 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    #14- Same as #12

    #13 In fact I think it would be a good thing if Bill Shorten can become PM in a minority gvernment.
    On his own admission he has brilliant negotiating skills and would be confident of uniting an absolute rabble of contradictory Senate ‘Independents’ into one strong unifying cause in order to enable the passing of legislation.

  16. Brian Austen

    July 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    One thing that strikes me is that Bass has been searching for but not so far found, a Barnard. Lance and his father seem to me to be the personified expression of Bass. Lance, who I knew a little, continually met with the ordinary voters often at their workplace and whether they voted for him or not. He was humble and loyal, consistent and honest. He became Deputy Prime Minister but never sought power for himself.

    The new member might be an adequate replacement. If he is, he will be returned.

  17. Lyndall Rowley

    July 3, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Ah, victory. Pardon me while I wax lyrical and contemplate.

    So, the pox the Lib-nats said was afflicting the Lab Rudd-Gillard-Rudd houses is now fully matured and manifest in the Lib-nats house for all to see. How ironic. And even more so in light of the shrill warnings of an unstable and dysfunctional government if people dared vote for that growing cast of impudent outsiders who have the gall to put themselves in the same league as the tag-team duopoly that is the Lib-nats/Labs.

    The 20th Century political paradigm of the duopoly’s idyll just split open. The lazy politics of majority and sameness has been torn asunder, and in both houses. Trouble is, the big-boy politicians and most of the political media can’t or won’t see and acknowledge what just happened. The people aren’t happy; and the duopoly has become increasingly irrelevant and self-obsessed. We had to look elsewhere.

    After the people’s message landed, and the unfolding numbers were revealing the reality late into the night, I watched the two leaders each claim victory as well as being self-congratulatory for their successful respective campaigns. The most denial came from Malcolm Turnbull who was somehow quickly rewriting his own pre-election day rhetoric to fit the new scene. Victory? Success? But isn’t his party’s reduced numbers and more independents and micro parties the very thing he was dreading and warning us against only 24 hours earlier? Somehow the foretold chaos, dysfunction and instability had evaporated from the victorious narrative for his assumed future government.

    No doubt the phones were running hot during the night from the two ‘I’ll never make a deal with x to form government’ leaders who are now both desperate to win over support from others to gain the numbers to form government – just in case, that is…

    It’s now several hours later and everyone has had time to settle and look at this in the cold light of day. But there is only continued blaming and limited comprehension of the situation. Even many journalists are blinkered and passing judgement on the petty minutia and outcomes rather than examining the much deeper and significant causal factors. I couldn’t believe the political analysis and commentary this Sunday morning on ABC Insiders when the host quipped “putting a circus tent up in the grounds of parliament” in reference to the new emerging senate. Then other denigrating journalistic references followed like “the bar scene from Star Wars” etc cetera towards the ilk of anyone other than the duopoly plus the Greens in the senate. Next, Nick Xenophon was then interviewed, and he first flatly but defensively started with “there are no circus animals here” before answering any questions. Not good. ‘They’ are dismissed as feral and considered disruptive to government, and by implication, illegitimate and not worthy.

    The major parties, of course, don’t really want these interlopers in power with them. They much prefer exclusive territory and absolute control. That’s why we were frequently fed the fallacious declaration that a hung parliament and/or a senate “full of ferals” will result in dysfunction and instability. But that’s just self-serving propaganda. The state of dysfunction and instability is not an intrinsic quality of a hung parliament or a cosmopolitan upper house; these are only potential outcomes and a result of defective and uncooperative interactions between the politicians. If we elect high-quality politicians who are willing to work collegially with mutual respect, open minds and altruistically, then we get a more fully representative and stable government.

    An effective government which acts with integrity and intelligence and serves in our best interests is what is most important to all of us. Choice of government should not be determined (manipulated) by last-minute propaganda, spin and misinformation such as ‘Medi-scare’ or accusations of ‘phone calls to poor pensioners in the dead of night’, or even who said what, who’s a liar or who’s wrong. This tactic is an insult to our intelligence and shows complete arrogance. We should decry and reject these confected dangers, false priorities, white noise and red herrings. We want the facts to make an informed decision; and we will judge you on your past performances as well as your leadership and vision for a sustainable future, sound policies with reasoned argument, and responsible behaviour.


  18. Lyndall Rowley

    July 3, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    No wonder our country has been stuck in a downward spiral of deteriorating government and governance. Our standard politicians seem more interested in perpetually chucking rocks at each other rather than being adult, working together and just getting on with running an effective government for our country. All the while we have a media which is mostly more than keen to feed into this unproductive political mire of irrelevance and personal attack. So it’s no surprise we’ve lost respect for, and trust in, politics and politicians; and it was no surprise people were keen to find alternatives on July 2, 2016. We just want our government to do their job – to run the country for all of our best interests and take care of the day-to-day issues (e.g. efficacious health care system) as well as the bigger picture for a sustainable future (e.g. addressing climate change). It’s simple really, and not much to ask.

    Just look up and beyond to see what’s really developing here and can be seen around the world (e.g. the Trump phenomenon or even Brexit lead-up). The people, for various reasons, individually or in groups, feel that they are not being listened to or appropriately cared for by their government, and the country is not being run as it should. In frustration, disgust or even desperation people turn to someone else to represent them in government, e.g. to those supposed ferals and hangers of parliament.

    I think we should remove our gaze from the smaller day-to-day issues (though important) and interpret this astonishing election result in two ways. Firstly, as mentioned above, the change in voting pattern is a sign of discontent and the result of frustration and dissatisfaction with the current political duopoly. The aggrieved voters had no alternative but to vote for someone else to create a more representative government. This is simply democracy at work; not an aberration to be feared and something to be rectified. In fact, we should all sleep well in our beds tonight knowing that the system is working. Only a well-functioning democratic system such as ours could produce such a result.

    But secondly, be warned. If a general state of discontent within a population remains unaddressed by any government for too long, it can lead to the emergence of simplistic ‘quick-fixers’ promising the (practically impossible or implausible) solutions to all of our problems (e.g. fix ISIS). This can result in a more extreme form of government which is likely less democratic in practice and even potentially dictator-like and dangerous. Our major parties should wake up and out of their political ménage, take a much broader view beyond self-interested politicking, and take heed. There’s a much bigger picture with much bigger things in play and at stake. We need our government to do their job properly domestically and globally. If the USA, with its very similar social mores to ours, is on the cusp of voting in Trump as President, then I think we should regard this as a portent of Australia’s possible state in the future… Is that what we really want?

    So yes, this election is a victory for us, and we can breathe easy for the moment and feel satisfied. But there is still much to do after many wasted years of myopic and self-interested politicians, policies and direction. This election was just the reset for a new beginning; as to what effect, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  19. Pete Godfrey

    July 3, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    What happened to the promise Mr Turnbull made to treat the people with respect and to talk to us as if we were adults. He promised to end the bullshit, to be straight and not to take us back to the bad old Abbott days.
    Well he must have forgotten.
    The Mediscare campaign was pretty spot on, ever since Medicare was brought in by Gough Whitlam the Liberals have been trying to find ways to destroy it.
    They tried by all means, cutting rebates, wanting to add in co payments ( it will only cost the same as a Schooner, I think they meant a large yacht there), charging more for services and then they decided to shove as much work towards the private sector as they could. (well the private health providers do fund them a fair bit).
    They encouraged as many people to take out private health insurance as possible, making rebates available so that we would move away from medicare.
    So what was left to destroy, Oh that is right hospital funding, make the university courses for doctors and nurses much more expensive.
    With all that they claim they were not going to cut health funding. Labor were right they were just going to send more of the share of the funding to private health carers and less to the public system.
    Why should anyone be surprised, it is Liberal party policy to support the rich at the expense of the poor, to privatise everything that the taxpayer funded (Qantas,Telstra,Roads,Electricity, Rail transport,Pathology, hospital laundry etc.)
    I am very glad that the people of Australia woke up and saw that the demise of our country that was seriously started by the Lying Little Rodent was going to continue if we let it.

  20. Simon Warriner

    July 3, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Lyndall, there is much you have stated that I agree with, especially the future that is possible if those elected choose to ignore the implicit message being sent and fail to change their attitude to the electorate.

    Unfortunately I do not see that happening in the major parties or even in the Greens. The dominance of party hacks, whose existence in the halls of mirrors that is politics and the political media endows them with a special ability to plumb the depths of public sentiment without need to get their feet wet, pretty much guarantees that normal people have stopped engaging with the parties and no longer put themselves forward as representatives. That, and the conflicted interests the job demands are an anathema to anyone with a functioning moral compass.

    There is hope though. The independent/other vote is steadily growing and indicates the conditions being ready for a more robust promotion of the value of independents and a wide discussion of how that role is best performed. The quality of representative attracted to that role is, in large part, going to be determined by the way that role is perceived and promoted. Currently there is a vacuum in that space that needs filling.

  21. TGC

    July 4, 2016 at 1:11 am

    #20 Terifically good news for Australia that Independent Pauline Hanson has been elected- together with another oustanding Independent thinker- Jacqui Lambie – supported by Derryn Hinch- there’s no stopping the electoral tide away from the Liberal/Labor/Green shambles and towards a more cohesive and progressive government.

  22. TGC

    July 4, 2016 at 1:24 am

    #17 “If we elect high-quality politicians who are willing to work collegially with mutual respect, open minds and altruistically, then we get a more fully representative and stable government”
    How do we know that before the event?. We don’t (generally) elect ‘politicians’ first off- we elect
    men and women we think/believe may make good politicians meeting the criteria mentioned above.
    Fortunately now, with ‘politicians’ like Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch and Jacqui Lambie- not even to mention the NXT we can be confident the aspirations in #17 and #18 will be met.

  23. Philip Lowe

    July 4, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I am pleased for Tassie.Light is at the end of the dark tunnel.Is it a train coming the other way?TGC,mate you come across as bitter.Who are you?front up mate.

  24. John Hawkins

    July 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Before the start of counting today the votes cast total:

    Labor 3,925,860
    Greens 1,101,152

    Total 5,027,012

    Liberal 3,151,041
    Liberal National 921,645
    Nationals 548,268
    Total 4,620,954

    On these numbers Labor must team up with the Greens to govern in the interests of the people.

    The extreme right wing of the Liberals under Abetz could never do a deal with an intelligent and honourable Green.

    These Liberal creeps are the brain dead only and rarely motivated by the thought of keeping their snouts in the Canberra trough.

    Getting elected has nothing to do with the interests of the people,they promise, they lie, they cheat and they rarely if ever after the event deliver.

    When all is said and done it is a highly paid job with no job interview and the winner takes all.

  25. Pete Godfrey

    July 4, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    #22 TGC you are hilarious. “First off we elect men and women we think/believe may make good politicians”
    That is the best laugh I have had for ages.
    What we elect is those who are pushy, egotistical enough, or rich enough to get themselves moved up through the party ranks. Who will do anything to push themselves to the front of the line.
    Those who join the party, move to a place where the local branch is weak and put themselves in control.
    We never get to vote for those who we think would make good politicians, only those that the party machine tells us to choose from.
    Except of course those few independents who are actually altruistic and community minded enough to spend their own money to get elected.

  26. Lyndall Rowley

    July 4, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    TGC #17. Yes, poorly written sentence that was ambiguous; I should have said “candidates” rather than “politicians”, so please interpret that way for this article.

    I don’t assume to have the answer to the ‘how’ in knowing a candidate’s abilities to work collegially with mutual respect and so on. Nevertheless, I think you’d agree that these qualities are essential for a well-oiled and productive government. My point about politicians is that part of their actual job is to work productively with others, all of whom have the ultimate responsibility to ‘run’ government on behalf of the people. The aforementioned attributes, as well as possessing the emotional intelligence and well-developed skills of effective communication, critical thinking, conflict resolution, and so on, are essential for this job.

    If we treated political candidates (or wannabe candidates) to the same sort of scrutiny as a person applying for an executive position in a large corporation, wouldn’t the employer (us) want them to possess the attributes listed above that are essential to do the job well? The very nature of government is people-based with the various viewpoints and priorities that people bring; and being in government is the ‘top job’ in the public sector. So I think it’s a no-brainer to expect (akin to essential selection criteria for a job application) a very high standard and capability in people-skills of any political candidate (having to deal collegially and altruistically etc with inevitable diversity of views, priorities, agendas and personalities).

    But I’m guessing that all too often the more ambitious, assertive (sometimes aggressive), egotistical, self-opinionated, manipulative (even socio/psychopathic) and controlling types are attracted to a career in politics, most possibly disproportionately due to these same attributes. Consequently, we have an in-built propensity for dysfunction and instability within government, regardless of any presence of independents or not. Just look at the major parties – any party – and see how internal factions and smaller groups/cliques are formed based on their differences, which periodically cause break-outs of instability and dysfunction within the party. ‘Rudd-Gillard-Rudd’ governments and ‘Malcolm-Abbott-Abbott-Malcolm’ leadership and PMs round-about – are all manifestations of internal opposing views and unresolved conflict (i.e. despite being the same party, and supposedly all standing for the same things).

    If political parties can’t even resolve their own internal issues to the point of consensus or reluctant acquiescence for the sake of unity, why do we expect they’ll have the skills or will to work productively with independents and micro-parties? It seems they can’t (or won’t); and the only time there is a more co-operative behaviour is when someone is holding a balance of power. So even then, the interaction is not necessarily genuine and conducted with mutual respect and understanding.

    With demonstrated poor people skills (e.g. can’t/won’t work with elected senators of ‘feral’ origin), ongoing intra- party conflicts, and obsessive, aggressive concentration on blaming and deriding opponents, we can thank our lucky stars we’re not on the brink of war with another country. Meanwhile, while this childish and politically-motivated, non-productive conduct continues, the government (with its core business, i.e. the thing we elected politicians to do) is in virtual stasis… no vision or goals, no strategic planning or bold reforms, no agility and innovation, can progress under such conditions. And the wasted months and years roll on with the country running on idle while the rest of the world changes around us.

    I don’t see how our democracy and Australia’s future can become better-functioning and more sustainable without critically examining the engine, i.e. government, and evaluate its component parts, i.e. politicians, for functionality, effectiveness and productivity as per the attributes listed earlier. The standard, skills and conduct of politicians influence the running of the government engine, and if any parts are faulty, need to be replaced. This is already done, but only superficially, every three years or thereabouts in elections; but voters’ preference for party rather than candidate, and the fact that the candidate has already been pre-selected, does not allow for informed public scrutiny (i.e. do they meet the essential criteria for the job) or choice. Ultimately, however, it would be in our (and the country’s) best interests and far more effective to apply a high benchmark to all potential political candidates in the first place. How to do this; I don’t know. But isn’t it reasonable to expect the ‘best of the best’ to represent us in the top political positions for the privilege (as they oft say) of governing our country?

  27. TGC

    July 4, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    #25 “Except of course those few independents who are actually altruistic and community minded enough to spend their own money to get elected.”
    I guess Pauline Hanson fits into that category

  28. TGC

    July 5, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Referring to #26 and some previous:
    New (probable) Senator Derryn Hinch has said
    “they can all go f. k themselves.” of other politicians who might try to frustrate him getting a six-year term.
    Ca we be confident of a co-operative approach to major issues?

  29. Ben Cannon

    July 5, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I find any journalist trying to predict senate preferences and final quotas laughable.

    Under the new system you don’t have to vote for any of the majors at all. I didn’t put labor or liberal anywhere in my 6 above the line preferences.

    So how can someone assume that Derryn Hinch of Jacqui Lambie, for example, couldn’t get to 14% with preferences. There’s a high chance Labor and Liberal might only have 2 senators from each state serve 6 year terms under either the count-back or order-elected systems.

    Giving NT statehood would make things interesting as well. Instead of one each of lablib, they’d have possibly two greens and a rise up thrown into the mix.

  30. Lyndall Rowley

    July 5, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    TGC #28. No, not confident but, not due to Derryn’s remark, nor because of the makeup of this new government per se (i.e. micros and independents being a part).

    New/re-emergent parties such as DHP and PH 1Nation are simply (imo) symptomatic of long-unaddressed concerns within the community. Both major parties/governments are responsible for this. If government was functioning well, these community concerns would have been recognised and brought to some sort of resolution or agreed understanding well before these protest parties had to form. I’m not presuming to have the answers to everything – these can be complex and difficult issues to deal with successfully (i.e. many are wicked problems e.g. refugees), but this is the contemporary reality, and the responsibility and business of government.

    Ultimately, if successive governments don’t deal satisfactorily with outstanding issues, community discontent/unrest increases and the ground is made fertile for messianic or quick-fixer types (e.g. Trump), which is potentially dangerous and does not bode well for a healthy democracy.

    Take heed Lib-nat/Lab duopoly, emergence and popularity of new ‘single issue’ parties is a sign that government has dropped the ball!

  31. TGC

    July 6, 2016 at 12:11 am

    *29 “I didn’t put labor or liberal anywhere in my 6 above the line preferences.” – that’s because you are a chaos theorist.

  32. Brian Austen

    July 6, 2016 at 1:52 am

    Quite frankly I find it difficult to understand why anyone would use above the line. Helping to perpetuate party control, be it majors or minors, won’t improve matters.

    And still on the polling booth gauntlet. With all the cross party connections having been displayed, surely some positive moves can be taken to address the issue legislatively.

  33. Ben Cannon

    July 6, 2016 at 4:16 am

    #31 Sounds like you’ve bought Malcolm’s (or whoever pulls his strings) conspiracy theory hook, line, and stinker. Which would actually make you the chaos theorist.

  34. TGC

    July 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    #30 “Take heed Lib-nat/Lab duopoly, emergence and popularity of new ‘single issue’ parties is a sign that government has dropped the ball!”
    There will always be ‘single issues’for individuals to develop into causes worth chucking into the electoral ring- and given the generosity of Australia’s electoral system they will always have a chance of achieving a level of representation where it counts.
    But in pursuing their ’cause’ they will generally be prepared to ignore both other ’causes’ and the ‘greater good’- not easily defined.
    That in this last election only two ‘Independents’ have been elected to the Reps- no change from the previous Parliament- may indicate that ‘Independents’ are not the force some insist and they may well become as frustrated by ’causes representatives’ as do the three majors.
    (The Senate is a different kettle of fish altogether- Keating was quite right…”unrepresentative swill”

  35. Lyndall Rowley

    July 6, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    TGC #34. Setting aside the muddying influences of flow of preferences and the care (or not) that voters take beyond #1 to reflect/maximise their views… (and also remember the new senate voting system is now more representative and less able to be skewed. Keating’s quote may no longer apply?).

    Do you agree that serious concerns within the community are the business of government? If so, do you agree that (theoretically) if these concerns are left unaddressed and allowed to fester publicly (and possibly grow in support as well as frustration), that this could lead to people having no option but to form a new party? In addition, worst-case scenario, do you agree that community discontent, if not dealt with by government, could grow into more serious civil unrest?

    My main point is two-fold. Government’s business is to represent and take care of its people. Therefore, any legitimate community concerns should be handled in a consultative and resolution-seeking manner by government.

    Extremely difficult problems such as Pauline’s paradigm of immigration/refugees/demographic change/job-robbers/muslims vs christians/sharia law/mosques need to be unpacked, analysed critically and dealt with rationally, not ignored. The longer left to fester, the more opportunity for these discontented people (often viewed & dismissed as just malcontents) to spread possible misinformation and misunderstanding and build fear in the wider community. Brexit & Trump are products of these types of disquiet that have been ignored by government and allowed to fester to breaking point.

    As for the independents and micro politicians themselves: I come back to my original point that ideally we should only elect people that have the skills and capability of being consultative, co-operative, open-minded etc and be able to represent their constituency with strong but fair and reasonable advocacy.

    Did I make sense?

  36. TGC

    July 6, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    #35 “As for the independents and micro politicians themselves: I come back to my original point that ideally we should only elect people that have the skills and capability of being consultative, co-operative, open-minded etc and be able to represent their constituency with strong but fair and reasonable advocacy.”
    Ok- but how is that determined-? for good- now and again for ill- the Party system via its pre-selection processes- does the interrogating for us- interrogating which is more difficult to do with ‘Independents’/Micro’s. Some of those pre-selection processes leave a bit to be desired but al least ‘candidates’ undergo some cross examination and a -sort-of- democratic process filters for the larger democratic.
    For the Labor Party there’s a tendency to reward union service and/or electoral office experience rather than giving open slather to persons wishing to give it a shot.
    Both- indeed the three- major Parties publish much of their policy platform somewhere- not always easy to find- but not many- if any ‘Independents” do- or at least not much more than a brief statement of some/few items that tickle their fancy.
    Take Catthy McGowan- probably a good Member- but she doesn’t need to have policy statements other than- ‘I will vote on each measure as it arises’
    That’s not too helpful if an elector is seriously juggling choices.

  37. Ben Cannon

    July 6, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    #36 You forgot to mention that in the Liberal party it is Eric Abetz who decides, and if you voted for Malcolm in the leadership spill rather than Tony the darling of the far right, you get dropped down the Senate list.

    Cathy McGowan released a policy paper called “Putting Indi First” on the 6th of June – plenty of time before the election. While much of it is related to her electorate – as it should be given that’s technically who she is supposed to represent – there are also some broader policies, especially related to rural and regional Australia.

    Alternately liberal policy for Indi seems to depend on whether their own candidate wins, rather than on whether they form government. Is this the new politik? Vote for us or you’ll get no hospital funding.

    And how does the pre-selection process of independents leave anything to be desired? There is no pre-selection. They present their credentials to the electorate, and are voted for by the electorate. Or do you have a problem with direct democracy or the ability of the people to form an opinion of candidates themselves? Are only party endorsed candidates worthy of consideration?

  38. Lyndall Rowley

    July 6, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    TGC #36. Again, I reiterate by saying I haven’t got all of the answers. From my own observation, I simply suspect there is a problem with the ‘types’ of people attracted to politics which may consequently select against character traits I’ve already listed as desirable e.g. consultative. (Just imagine a meeting with half or even a third of those present being Alpha types. i.e. all wanting to be the pack leader, competitive, aggressive, trying to take control etc. It’d be a fairly hopeless, disruptive and unproductive meeting. Don’t you agree?).

    Therefore, yes, party pre-selection stage is about as early you could test… just like a job interview with the party having already determined the skills they’re wanting (e.g. according to my list) and the ‘applicant’ already knowing what’s needed/required to be a successful contender for party pre-selection. There are various tests for ’emotional intelligence’, ‘communication skills’, ‘active listening’ and so on and so forth… lots. So it shouldn’t be difficult to actually evaluate as part of an ‘induction’ into possible pre-selection.

    As for non-party candidates, like you said, there’s no system for pre-selection; so no opportunity for a selection filter.

  39. Brian Austen

    July 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    #35. The party does the selection. So what did Lisa Singh do wrong, or Richard Colbeck?

    And who selected Eddy Obeid or Craig Thompson? We could go on.

    If we want things to get better we have to curb the party power.

    Getting rid of above the line voting, and how-to-vote cards would be good for a start.

  40. William Boeder

    July 7, 2016 at 4:42 am

    TGC, the original date references for the Westminster system of parliament is best suggested to be 1603.
    The number of persons attending parliament as independent representatives totalled 462.
    The rise of so many likeminded individuals was to herald the notion of these persons that were viewed or considered as a ‘party’ of persons.
    As time transpired there were more and more independent representatives that aligned themselves with the various small group parties, this has since became the fore-runner in how we today now have 2 major political parties in Australia, hence the Liberal party and the Labor party.

    Notwithstanding that the Liberals under Howard were poaching the National or as it was formerly known the Country party. Their last leader being I seem to recall a Doug Anthony.
    Various splinter group parties were formed such as the democrats (using the words of their first leader Don Chipp, he claiming they were a necessary party to keep the 2 bastards in the major parties in government honest.)

    I guess it was during the Howard years that dishonesty became entrenched in the Australian Liberal party (remember John Howard backing out of political promises by separating his electioneering polices and promises as either core promises or just ordinary lesser important promises) now we have a Liberal party that doesn’t give a toss about party promises.

    This is the meat in the argument of today with regard to honesty in politics as we know it should be, but it is no longer important as to the spin, the lies, the broken promises, they are all part of the game today.
    My concern is that when you can no longer trust a particular political party that this signals that they should be revoked and or disbanded, jailed for conspiracy among other deserving criminal charges.
    Australia does not want or need a political party that has no hesitation to lying their guts out.
    Nor does Australia need a political party, Labor, blowing the arse our of Australia deficit.

    Whom do you suggest is the better party or if there is a definite need for a goodly number of independents in the Australian Senate?

  41. Lyndall Rowley

    July 7, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Brian #39. I agree with you that party politics (numbers, factions, power etc) play a part and is not a fair system that treats all equally and simply on merit. Presumably Lisa and Richard have fallen victim to the party system. I have no doubt that ‘good’ people in politics can be kept back and sidelined within their parties because there are simply too many ambitious others building their own careers, à la Machiavelli.

    But that also demonstrates what I’ve been (unsuccessfully) trying to suggest in this thread. If we want to change the prevailing nature of politics (e.g. brutal, antagonistic, ends justifies the means, internal power games, and captive to the dogmatism of factions), then we need to change the type of people that become politicians. (Hence my rambles about treating possible pre-selection candidates as job applicants, and testing/interviewing them for positive traits and skills in human relations and collegiality). If we could get a predominance of ‘good’ politicians (like those you mentioned?), then ultimately we would gain far better functioning governments.

  42. Andrew Ricketts

    July 7, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Colbeck appears to have been on the side of nature destruction for a long time.

    His former forestry advisor is now installed in the Forest Practices Authority.

    I believe his bigoted hatred of conservation attempts is clearly expressed.

    You may need to query what constitutes “good” and what is undeniably, as well as arguably in the public interest.

    What would happen if they got into trouble for saying things they knew to not be true?

  43. TGC

    July 7, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    #41 One of the factors that determines a good Party member- or member of any organisation- is their capacity and willingness to be rejected on ideas or policy matters – and still stick with the group.
    Lisa Singh has indicated she will do that without animostty- good on her- and the Liberals should hop Richard Colbeck does te same if…
    There are some ‘Independents’who have left a Party because they couldn’t get their own way- They will, generally- make poor ‘Independents’.
    Other ‘Independents’ woud never join a party because they can’t take too well to discipline.
    They also should be avoided.
    The ‘Independents’ who are left- well- as mentioned somewhere- their number didn’t increase this timme around.

    #37 Whilst an MHR should strongly represent their electorate it should be on the basis of considerable national interest- this must-perhaps regretably- involve not pushing the local barrow as much a represent might wish- after all, there are State Governments with localised representatives into that for the ‘nuts and bolts’ of satisfying electors demands.(I agreed absolutely with a critic who wondered what the devil a national government was doing promising to build netball courts in a (wealthy) electorate- this example could be multiplied)
    And, clearly, if an electorate votes against a Party it is also voting against (at least some of) its policies-and therefore its promises. Tough- but that’s politics.

    #40 “Whom do you suggest is the better party”
    the elctorate makes a decision about that- and it is variable.

    #40 “or if there is a definite need for a goodly number of independents in the Australian Senate?”


  44. Lyndall Rowley

    July 7, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Andrew #42. Thanks for the context. I live elsewhere, and do not know the 2 Tasmanian politicians named by Brian. But going by your description of Colbeck and his/her environmental credentials, this is someone I’d not personally support.

    I was simply agreeing in principle with Brian’s point that the parties play a part in the pre-selection process, and that the political machine which allows people like Eddie Obeid through (and then allowing to build a power base and control) is flawed and can reward the ‘wrong’ people. (Hence my reference to Machiavelli and character types attracted to and perhaps predominating in politics).

    So I think we perhaps need to rethink on the types of people we currently regard as leaders of the community who, as politicians, fill the halls of power. The party pre-selection process needs review and a new set of selection criteria needs to be developed. (This rethink should apply to other types of leaders as well e.g. councilors. As we all know, behaviour amongst councilors in council chambers is often inharmonious and can be very dysfunctional. Local government is often regarded as the political nursery and holding pen for learner politicians.).

    I was googling for something to support my awkwardly-expressed thoughts and I came across this keynote presentation about companies and their leaders, and which offers an explanation for some of the disastrous corporate scandals in the USA:

    ” Many boards of directors have chosen the wrong leaders to run their companies. …
    After interviewing 125 corporate leaders and observing many more during three decades in active corporate leadership, I believe the root cause of the leadership crisis is using the wrong criteria in choosing new leaders. Selection committees often emphasize charisma over character, style over substance, and image over integrity. When leaders are chosen for charisma, style, and image, why are we surprised when they turn out to lack character, substance, and integrity?” (Of character, substance and integrity: Why companies need authentic leaders and not charismatic stars at the helm by Bill George, THE FOCUS VOL. XII/1).

    I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to look at government and its politicians (each being a leader for their constituency) and compare to corporations and their leadership. As the above statement highlights, we currently select on the wrong criteria.

    We need to dig deeper and ensure that our government representatives are capable of working together for a productive,fully functioning government that is free of party politics and self-serving politicking.

    I hope this makes sense…

  45. TGC

    July 7, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    #44 It may make sense as a theory- but it is entirely impractical- in almost every human activity there is ‘competition’ and ‘clash’ of ideas. It would be interesting to have even one example of a unity government formed from ‘competing ideologies/parties that has seen the day out.

  46. Andrew Ricketts

    July 7, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    How would one define a “Unity Government”?

    Is it not like trying to define certainty?

    Certainly with the Liberals and the Nationals, they cannot even commit to a unified set of names for the coalition partners across the various states, even in the Federal context.

    In such a context they only survive by way of applied pragmatism. “Pragmatism (in politics) rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality.”

    And that would appear to be the nub of the problem for the Liberals, TGC.

    What about, if like cats, we microchip the politicians? And then become able to keep tabs on them? The chip could also record what they say and upload it to the Internet.

  47. TGC

    July 8, 2016 at 12:00 am

    #46 must be said -especially of some minor party folks -they already have a chip on their shoulder.

  48. Simon Warriner

    July 8, 2016 at 1:13 am

    #44 … there are governments all around the world that are comprised of competing interests that work very successfully, and some far more successfully than the coalition right wing parties he supports.

    The “clash of ideas” meme is brought to human interaction via the ignorant attitude of at least one participant. It is not a given, it is not mandatory, and it certainly is not helpful. There is an alternative approach, the agreement to pursue the greatest common good, and recognition that there are as many perspectives on that subject as there are participants. Start from that point, work in a cooperative manner aiming to resolve difference, and all things are possible. It is not a zero sum deal!

  49. phill Parsons

    July 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Bonham notes the rise of the vote for Other Parties in the Senate Election with 31.5% in Queensland. Part of this phenomenon is the lower threshold in a Double Dissolution election.

    If Senate elections return to half of them facing election every three years the quota goes up to 14.29% of the voters after preferences and surplus are distributed and, unless they have a patron the smaller groups will either disappear or gain a limited vote for a message with a small appeal assisted by media bias toward the old parties.

    Election reform cries out, not only on the technical side but also in the equality of campaign coverage for all the policies.

  50. TGC

    July 8, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Does #49 have any suggestions for alternative voting systems that would represent “reform” as against ‘and now for something different’ and which “reform” will bring a ‘more democratic?’ outcome.?

  51. Simon Warriner

    July 8, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    re 49, 50.

    Not sure that it is the voting system that needs reform, so much as the idea that micro parties campaigning on single issues needs to be scrutinised against the task our electoral system requires of senators. The same applies for those parties, small and big that exist to push a particular ideological barrow.

    The senate was originally intended, as I understand the constitution, to be the place where legislation promulgated in the House Of Reps was scrutinised to ensure that it did not infringe upon states rights, unfairly advantage one state over others or unfairly disadvantage particular groups. If it is comprised of “groups” then those groups should be based on state lines or on common interests shared by groups of states. Any senator that is part of a group voting on any other basis is arguably breaching the trust of those they have been elected to serve. Lots of Labor, liberal and green senators are guilty of that.

    I fail to see how single issue and party representatives in the senate address that task. Would it not be better to have individuals in that role who dealt with the issues on their merits and demonstrated an ability to balance competing demands and to recognise and pursue common goals? Rather than knowing what they claim to stand for would we be not be better informed if we interrogated their ethical standards, their past conduct, and their ability to represent and discern complex issues?

    That outcome does not require electoral reform, but it does require an intelligent conversation among the community about what our representatives need to do and how well suited the candidates are to the task. In that respect the media have one hell of a steep climb out of the rut they have dug for themselves if they are to participate in any meaningful way.

    Yes we need change, but the change required is achievable without changing the electoral system.

    The mainstream media, on the other hand, requires far more than reform.

  52. Andrew Ricketts

    July 8, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    That is a very good point TGC.

    The chip should not go on the shoulder. Absolutely.

    I gather then you would be in favour.

    But tell me how would we prise it off Tony Abbot’s?

    The number of reforms, which might be applied to our political system, should be discussed but what would be a fair process for considering the options and then moving to some plebiscite over the agreed short-listed ones?

  53. Brian Austen

    July 8, 2016 at 10:42 pm


    Do away with a Senate election entirely. We could arrange for the election of Senators by randomly selecting 12 (or 6) for a period of say 12 months from a list derived from the voting roll. The Greeks had something similar.

    This would enable the Senate to be returned to its intended function. And one further change. No Senator should become a Minister.

  54. Catherine Cramer

    July 9, 2016 at 3:30 am

    A former contributor to Tasmanian Times, probably a right-to-lifer, has been advocating on Facebook that Eric Abetz, our German-born Tasmanian Senator, should be the leader of the Liberal Party.

    I think he got the message from Tasmanian Times and doesn’t seem to contribute any more. But he seems to be welcome now on Facebook. How can anyone in their right mind advocate Senator Abetz as the best candidate for the Liberal leadership and potentially Prime Minister?

    Don’t tell me it can’t happen. Remember John Gorton? He was supported by the Herald and Weekly Times newspaper group for Prime Minister after the death of Harold Holt in 1967. He was a Senator. He contested a by-election for the blue ribbon Liberal seat of Higgins, created by the death of Mr Holt, which he duly won. He became Prime Minister while a Senator, and after his resignation from the Senate he was Prime Minister without a seat in Parliament, which is authorised under the Constitution for up to three months. The by-election result in Higgins confirmed his right to be Prime Minister as leader of the Liberal Party and the Coalition government with the Country Party.

    My suspicion is that the former Tasmanian Times contributor and sycophant of Mr Abetz is promoting him in the same way that certain media interests promoted John Gorton in 1968.

  55. TGC

    July 9, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    #53 has some merit- but obly in theory- not likely to come to pass. More possible- but not by much- that the original idea of the Senate be reinvigorated- others on TT make the same point-
    so that the Senate acknowledges it is not- nor was ever meant to be – a policy forming place.

  56. Simon Warriner

    July 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    re 54, Catherine, that’s great. The more exposure Abetz gets the better. If he gets to run the libs, better still.

    One of the more common mistakes made by those in charge is to double down on failing tactics. The quicker the failure that is party politics vanishes out the S bend of history be sooner something that builds on the lessons learned can be tried.

  57. TGC

    July 9, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Bill Shorten has conceded- and is nw trying to work out how to present the relatively dismal Labor primary vote as some sort of triumph.
    Just as well the Labor leadership is ‘locked in’ due to a pretty dodgy system- otherwise there is no doubt Bill Shorten would be facing a strong challenge.
    And how soon will it be before -co-operation for the sake of the country’ becomes- ‘there’s no way we will allow that to pass’?

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