Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Election 2013: Day 30 (or, let’s go on a mandate)

So last night Kevin Rudd on QANDA was good. Real good. Sort of, where the bloody hell have been for 4 weeks, good.

The questions were decidedly not soft ball ones. There was some if not angry, pretty miffed people in the audience and they wanted their say. He also had Tony Jones sitting next to him. And I don’t know if Rudd once ran over Jones's foot in the ABC car park or something, but Jones didn’t seem particularly enamoured with Rudd.

And then Rudd talked about same sex marriage.

No doubt you’ve all seen it, but here it is anyway:

Now you can say, sure Rudd was a bit West Wingish, but I think it was a pretty instinctive response from him. The questioner was pretty much suggesting Rudd was not a Christian. To say to someone who considers themselves a Christian “if you call yourself a Christian why don’t you believe because the words of Jesus in the Bible” is pretty strong stuff. I’m not surprised Rudd answered the way he did. It’s pretty much how I would’ve answered.

Rudd could have played it easy and blathered about “broad church” blah blah. But he didn’t. Now you can argue the theology of his statement about the Bible considering slavery a natural condition. But it’s no easy thing for a politician to essentially call someone a bigot.  And Rudd was also pretty well saying, if that’s what you believe then don’t vote for me.

Maybe if he was ahead in the polls he would not have been so bold.


Today the National Press Club debate was on asylum seekers. It was tough watching for those who were eating lunch, but at least it confirmed that Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott are complete cowards on asylum seekers.

Morrison confirmed that they would not automatically announce if any asylum seeker boat came into our waters. Morrison in a typically pathetic move announced it would be up the “the three star general” in charge of the brain dead “Operation Sovereign Boarders”.

Yeah, it’s really a national security issue. From the bloke who has trumpeted loudly every boat arrival for the past 4 years like he is doing PR for people smugglers for the past 4 years, this policy shows Morrison is not just a hypocrite, but a gutless one at that.

It’s also dumb. There is absolutely no doubt the information will leak. All Morrison is doing is forcing the military to have to consider whether or not to appear politicised.

Morrison is the type of person whom those in the army would call a waste of rations.


Today the narrative seemed to be about what will happen after the Liberal Party wins the election. Mark Butler on Fran Kelly this morning was pretty much asked nothing but. Tony Abbott is running hard this week on the carbon tax.

It’s an odd choice because despite what he would like to believe I don’t think it is much of a vote changer now. I think more he is doing it to try and really lock in the sense that he will have a mandate after the election to get rid of it.

But mandate are always more in the eye of the beholder than others.

Take Tony Abbott two weeks (!) after the 2007 election writing in the an op-ed in the SMH:

[Brendan] Nelson is right to resist the intellectual bullying inherent in talk of “mandates”. What exactly is Rudd’s mandate anyway: to be an economic conservative or an old-fashioned Christian socialist?

The elected Opposition is no less entitled than the elected Government to exercise judgement and to try to keep its election commitments. In opposition between 1983 and 1996, the Coalition made two big mistakes. This time, there is little danger that the Liberal Party will repudiate its former leadership or its achievements in government.

Tony Abbott may be about to reap what he sowed.

The ALP are going to an election to block any attempts to repeal the price on carbon. So too are the Greens. If they roll on this they will be giving up any reason to think them worthy of your vote. A party needs to stick to its principles (such that they are) even when in opposition.


Was there any new policy today. Nah. If there was anything good left to announce it would have already been announced. Rudd was in Tasmania to deliver a greatest hits of things the ALP has done for Tasmania. Abbott meanwhile was in Adelaide talking about the carbon tax.


Today the RBA announced no change to interest rates. This was no shock whatsoever. Tomorrow the GDP figures come out. Always fun for econ nerds, but I don’t think there will be too much that is newsworthy in the headline figures. A slight fall perhaps, but a longer run of years with a fall in GDP will continue.


Anonymous said...

Thanks again Greg. I live overseas so am spared much of the rubbish. Your nightly dose of rational comment keeps me up to date with what I need to know.
Re Rudd on Q&A last night - I watched it on Australia Network and could only wonder why he didn't go on there at the start of the campaign - it would have given him a flying start.
And Abbott chickening out, yet again, indicates we are about to get a very secretive government which will not do well under scrutiny. With any luck, the media (I don't count Murdoch as the media anymore - it is a propaganda factory) will continue using the same blowtorch it has been using for the last 6 years.

Craig Thomler said...

Hi Greg, no-one in the media has either called the parties or commented on how the refusal to release policies early disadvantages people who are prepolling or postal voting.

I though it might be worth a passing mention at some point that Australia's politicians seem to feel OK about people voting on incomplete information, making our electoral system even more about style than substance.

Or are we past the point of no-return already?

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Fran Kelly on Radio National has questioned Coalition MPs a few times on the issue of people prevoting without full knowledge of policy costings and we got the usual waffling answers. And also to be fair, every opposition has done the same at every election. It is time we have legislation that requires election policy costing be available at the exact time the policy is annouced.

Ross Chapman said...

I'm still laughing at the title of this post. Absolute genius.

I've never understood this concept that the opposition should respect the mandate of the government on all things. Even is Abbott wins, more than a 3rd of the population of the country will have voted for the ALP, almost half will have considered them the least un-preferable (should that be an actual word, which I severely doubt.) Parties have obligations to vote in accordance with the wishes of those who elect them, not those who elect the other side. You can't argue it's political suicide do vote against repealing carbon pricing, as all the people who didn't want it voted for the other guys anyway. If anything, it's actually standing for principle.

Besides, if I was the ALP after the last 3 years, and the LNP wanted me to back some rubbish that I disagreed with, I'd stop, look them square in the eye, and tell them to get f***ed. The LNP wouldn't support them on policy ideas they actually AGREED with, so why should the ALP make it easier for them. Lets see if they'll actually rush to a DD... (And by rush, I think they are underestimating the constitution. Pretty sure they can't go to a DD till the new senate sits in July next year anyway, which means it won't be till at least Sep 14. Probably later. Pretty sure Antony Green did some analysis on this.)

Anyway, another great post. You've been missed for the last 4-5 days.