Tuesday, September 07, 2010

So it's Gillard

Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

I was hoping during the election campaign that the result would be close. That way the major parties could not so easily afford to ignore public opinion on key issues.

My wish came true but with unexpected results. Neither party achieved a majority, so Abbott and Gillard were forced to negotiate with the independents. Unfortunately only one of the independents, Bob Katter, is in any sense conservative.

It wasn't fun observing the rural independents using their immense bargaining power to push politics leftward. Someone described one of these independents, Rob Oakeshott, in a comment at this site as a "closet lefty". I disagree. He is openly left-wing.

At his website he describes his achievements as follows:

Along with a Labor MP (Graham Perrett MP) and a Greens MP (Senator Sarah Hanson-Young) I have helped re-establish the Parliamentarians Amnesty International Group ... I am also currently serving as the Australian Parliamentary Representative on the all-male ... Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Group of the United Nations Development Program that is working on strategies to minimise violence against women and girls within the region - from a male perspective. This has come about due to my involvement as a White Ribbon Ambassador within Australia ... and a belief that it is men who have to “man up” on matters in relation to domestic violence

(For the political bias of the White Ribbon campaign see here and here).

His comment on population policy is not entirely discouraging, as he believes that there are population pressures in parts of his electorate which need to be addressed. But he's coming at this issue from the left:

And specifically on immigration policy, I know there are many people who worry about issues in relation to asylum seekers, refugees, ‘illegal’ immigrants, ‘boat people’, or whatever descriptor you might currently be using. Being a recipient of most emails on this topic, and listening closely to ‘street-talk’, I am aware of a lot of incorrect information that is making its way into people’s ‘in-boxes’ on their computers, or is being sold as fact in the local pub.

I genuinely ask anyone who wants to get to the bottom of this challenging policy area, to contact our office ... for detailed information that might help with personal views. We have a number of factual resources that can help clarify a lot of the language used in this policy area (there really is no such thing as an ‘illegal immigrant’, or a ‘boat person’, for example), the true statistics, and the options that all policy-makers from all political persuasions are wrestling with.

He knows that his electorate is concerned about the illegal immigration issue but responds with the claim that he has "factual resources" which show that there "really is no such thing as an "illegal immigrant," or a "boat person."

It strikes me that although he might be independent in the sense of not belonging to a party, he is anything but independent when it comes to politics. He is very much embedded into the political class and its orthodox beliefs.

Nor is it at all surprising that he's installed Julia Gillard and the ALP into power. Isn't it predictable that someone from the left of politics would opt for the ALP?


  1. "Independent" always means Leftist.


  2. Apart from the acknowledgement issue which has already been raised I think Katter did his job in this process fairly well. His primary intent was to overturn the green wild rivers legislation to allow economic development in his electorate and Labor's failure to move on that ensured his vote. He was also very vocal in his support of tarrifs and in the defence of the more traditional big three industries, manufacturing, agriculture and mining.

    This was an interesting election for me. The first I've been actively involved with and the first outside of the Leftist heartland in Canberra. It was also very interested to see the priorities of voters, especially white working class voters. Also to see if there was a ground swell or desire for conservative politics in the public.

    It seems that basically people vote along money lines. The nice areas vote Liberal the less nice Labor and the aspirational or middle areas swing. Cultural issues are important too but it seems that services and money issues are paramount in determining people's vote.

    I spent a lot of time on the central coast. Which was very interesting for me because this is very much traditional Australia, a monoculture and generally fairly socially conservative. This area swung to Labor this election. It is hard to know how much of it was due to local factors such as local campaigning, for instance Labor substantially outspent the Liberals, or national factors. When talking to people in doubt I'd pull immigration or boat people eventually, especially with the men. That always worked well because the population there are generally horrified to see what's going on in Sydney. The thing is they're also laid back so while things like that are an issue for them its not necessarily a priority.

    Generally if they' were more working class they'd have a general pull to vote Labor. The workchoices legislation at the last election ignited class concerns a fair bit and there was a bit of tie over from that. The working classes and aspirational voters there seem quite attached to big labor, big industry and big government services. All of which were the staples of Australia up untill the 70's. After that time we've seen pushes for economic "flexibility" etc from both sides of government. These being more willingly adopted by the Liberals. Katter is very much an example of the older school type pushing for greater industry protection and
    government services.

    So which way should the working class/aspirational voters vote on economic workplace issues? Workplace and economic "flexibility" has lead to greater emphasis on individuality and undermined society to an extent. However, these industry changes were brought in in the 70's and 80's because the old school ways of doing things were becoming economically unsustainable.

    We all know the cultural reality of Labor and left wing politics at the high end. However at the coal face end Labor are associated with workplace security, generally the more traditional working class industries and services for the working classes. These issues have strong pulls on white working class voters.

  3. I'd be interested to know how many kids of each sex the 3 independents have got.

    The reason I say that is that I have a theory (which is probably completely wrong) that the two independents who supported Labor might have more female children than Bob Katter.

    My theory here is obviously that those two would have felt sorry for Gillard becoming Australia's shortest serving PM in history and they didn't want that to happen because they feel an enhanced sympathy for women in general, something which is encouraged by having daughters.

    How does that theory stand up?

  4. I managed to predict this outcome, but geez I wouldn't like to predict what is going to happen next, depending on a range of factors this government could last 3 years or six months.

    Working class voters are worried about traditionalist issues, they just dont hear anyone talking about them seriously.

    Someone needs to do something to reach out to these households. Every little bit helps.

  5. Anyone else listen to that idiotic left wing "conservative" deliver a sermon on the mount?

    Thats a half hour of my life I will never get back, he even quoted the great 1986 Sci-Fi movie "Highlander".

    The journalists would have lynched him if he had tried to drag it out much longer.

    What an ego on that man!

  6. If they are not illegal, they must be legal. Everyone who makes it to Australia is a legal immigrant. No sovereignty for you Australia

  7. Westieboy I saw a little bit of it with the sound off. I couldn't figure it out there was talking and talking and no determination as to which side he was supporting. He'll lose his seat next election. Gillard will be in real trouble too, having a Govt depenedant on the Greens will be electoral poison for them.

  8. The elephant in the room is Gillard's sex.

    I suspect that some of the collapse in Labor support was related to traditionalists being unhappy with a woman leader, especially one who had got the position by having a man dumped from the leadership.

    In more conservative areas like Queensland, this could have been a factor. There are a lot of people who would prefer not to vote for a woman leader if possible. Of course they may not admit it, and the question is unlikely to be formally polled, but I would not be amazed if that was part of her problem.

    Julia Gillard was foisted on us by a feminist putsch. People are not dumb, and they will have noted this. Her poor performance in the recent election could have been partly due to this factor, although I doubt that the ABC will be doing a story on it!

    David Collard

  9. I have a Sydney friend who tells me that from what he sees, and hears in conversation, there remains - even now - a really widespread aversion to Gillard's sex, feminazi background, childlessness, shacking up with boyf, and militant atheism among western Sydney electorates' working-class voters (by no means all of European background). These voters would be ordinarily expected to vote ALP (and did vote for Rudd in great numbers at the 2007 election, having abandoned Howard).

    This assertion amazed me, since I assumed that such voters, like the rest of us, would have been brainwashed into going along with "gay marriage" and similar horrors over the last few years. But my friend - who is himself European by ancestry, though his wife is a Middle Eastern Christian - is adamant that his findings are justified.

    Interesting if true.

    Incidentally Mr Richardson, do you think you'll do a post about the lynch-mob attacks on Stephanie Rice for daring to use, in a tweet, the word "faggots"?

  10. I suspect that conservative working class people would not be super impressed with her. She really is a shocker from a traditional point of view. Living with a wimpy toyboy, whom she apparently stole from his wife.

    But I referred specifically to Qld because there are a lot of conservative Christians there who might not like a woman leader on principle. I think her crummy performance in Qld may have been partly due to that.

    I haven't been following the Stephanie Rice thing, but I heard the ABC trying to tar her with using a "slur". This is American PC speak, which we are now acquiring. Of course, it is about delegitimising any kind of visceral objection to homosexual behaviour. Part of the Left's culture war. Meanwhile "Ms Gillard" ticks all the right boxes: not really married; childless; pro-abortion; feminist; etc. etc.

    David Collard

  11. "How does that theory stand up?"

    It doesn't. Abbott has three daughters. And he's meant to be a massive "misogynist".

    "Working class voters are worried about traditionalist issues, they just don't hear anyone talking about them seriously."

    Yeah, because eTraditionalists don't run in elections.

    "having a Govt depenedant on the Greens will be electoral poison for them."

    I no longer believe this. The Greens are surging because they are the only group outside of the mainstream that has the courage to get involved in institutional politics and the public is reacting in kind.

    "Julia Gillard was foisted on us by a feminist putsch."

    More specious speculation. Labor will have no compunction to knife her if it believes she becomes too much of a liability - obviously they can't do that now - but they won't hesitate when circumstances are ripe. Will we then be denouncing them as misogynists?

  12. Re why the Greens are making such inroads and we're not in an environment where the two major blocks are suffering a crisis of legitimacy; from Wikipedia:

    "The Australian Conservative Party was a registered political party in 1989 and active until 1991 when it was deregistered by the AEC when the membership fell below the required 500 members."

    That's almost the entire entry to date. Really says it all, doesn't it.

  13. Cheer up Kilory. What about Family First, the DLP and the Christian Democractic Party?

  14. "We all know the cultural reality of Labor and left wing politics at the high end."

    This seems to be an international pattern. At the coal face the progressive left tends to focus on economic issues and adopt a pramatic/populist image, while at the academic, elite or media level it's much more radical.

    I've also noticed this tendency in education. The liberal left tends to be very aggressive and dogmatic at the tertiary level, but school teachers at the coal face are a lot more pragmatic and conservative when dealing with kids, parents and other teachers. If fact the leftist dogmatism of tertiary education probably puts off a lot of conservative-minded people from entering teaching.

    "I have a Sydney friend who tells me that from what he sees, and hears in conversation, there remains - even now - a really widespread aversion to Gillard's sex, feminazi background, childlessness, shacking up with boyf, and militant atheism"

    From an ignorant kiwi perspective Gillard actually appears pretty feminine and easy-going in terms of her media image, and certainly a lot less militantly femininst appearing than Helen Clark. The fact that she may be going out of her way to present this image suggests Australia is a somewhat more socially conservative country that NZ.

    I have a theory that in a small country like NZ with a very centralised government and media set-up its easier to crack down on un-PC opinions. This is also likely to one of the reasons why Sweden is arguably the world's most stauchly left-liberal country.

  15. Thanks, Mr Courtman. I don't think that your perspective is ignorant at all. But sheesh, if Gillard seems almost feminine after years of Helen Clark, then the condition of NZ must be pretty terrifying.

  16. Mike,

    Yes that seems to be how organisations such as the ABC like it. The Greens or whoever are your left wing politics. The ALP are your more pragmatic, ie conservative politics, and that's your sum total of politics. With maybe a small l liberal party bleating about individual rights or the economy tacked on.

  17. Hello Jess_7,

    Re: "Cheer up Kilory. What about Family First, the DLP and the Christian Democractic Party?"

    Yes I do go through periods of depression :-) it's difficult to avoid as a conservative living in present day Australia.

    I have no problem with the parties you mention - my only issue is that they seem to be either single issue, or parochial movements. What Traditionalists need is an institutional structure that is broadly conservative without fixating or obsessing on any particular issue. Such a movement can then have policy committees or think tanks that focus on areas of public policy, but we need a vehicle that is robust enough to be able to envelope a larger social movement on the ground. Such a thing does nto exist, but it can. The people are present, all that is lacking is the will to do something. I've argued about this on several ocasions in the past, much to the chagrin of Mark, I am sure :-)

  18. Hmm I agree a more of an institutional structure would be helpful. I think a lot of the issue rests on questions of morality. Speaking openly about traditional or conservative themes can tend to label you as immoral. Its very hard to talk openly in that environment.

    Here's an example Julia Gillard was keen on the population sustainability issue. If that had come from the right it would have been visciously attacked. But it came from the left and that has made it easier for the right to talk about. Gillard raised it in a response to public pressure so I think public pressure has a lot to do with it.

  19. Another one, Abbott was regarded as the "Mad Monk" because of his open Christianity and regarded as politically non mainstream. However, after Rudd made a public display of his Christianity it became much less of an issue and is now arguably a political plus.

  20. Gillard's daughter is a grotesque tattooed skank. Why am I not surprised?