No More Power to Canberra II

First good news on the election front since Premier Pete won 63 of the 89 Legislative Assembly seats in Qld a year ago – Labor continues its clean sweep of the states and is re-elected in WA.

Discussion Question: Given that the Howardians are so dominant federally, why are the Liberals at state level so absolutely, consistently and awfully hopeless?

And why do they have to resort to meaningless slogans about decisions when same apparently involves massive unfunded and ludicrous commitments to weirdo water canals? The federal government might just like to sign up to the Kyoto treaty. Sorry, too hard. Let’s spray around money on broken and aimless dreams of bringing water to a dry continent instead. I guess the fact that we’re here in the Southern Ocean by ourselves under the southern stars means that world climatic trends don’t affect us… Hang on, there’s no problem because the Greenhouse effect is a myth. People actually dealing with water restrictions? No problem – buy the unfunded Liberal/National populist crud instant economy wrecking fix (TM) today. Going, going, gone… Or we can find some pseudo-science to say there’s no problem – hey, neo-con faith based reality, yay! Drink deep from the well, but not too deep – water doesn’t just fall from the sky, you know, it’s a commodity and we’re selling it to Private Enterprise. Tarriffs for electricity for homeowners higher in every state where electricity’s been privatised, but cheaper for business? Well, don’t you worry about that. It’s a free market and we’ve banned oligopoly, monopsony and monopoly from Economics 101. Someone told Dr Nelson they might be sneaky signifiers with a postmodern signified. So you’re free. Happy now? The water isn’t? Hey, it’s a commodity? What’s public interest when you’ve got a property right?

Looks like Gallop got up even with a massively conservative daily against him, and the local business community seeing the Libs as dangerously economically incompetent and given to silly populist stunts to try and buy office… Hmmm…

NOTE: Please excuse the occasional lapse into LWDB-dom. The RWDBs so didn’t crow over Bush and Howard’s elections. Normal Troppo centrist service will resume presently…

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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cs
cs
2021 years ago

“Given that the Howardians are so dominant federally, why are the Liberals at state level so absolutely, consistently and awfully hopeless?”

No mystery. The Liberals at the federal level are also absolutely, consistently and awfully hopeless, and would look howling drooling mad if in opposition. Liberals at both levels are consistency’s model. The weird thing is that people don’t seem to give a toss, federally.

Well done Geoff Gallop. A good fellow, and long-time member of the Evatt Foundation, Geoff has stared the monster down, increasing his majority in the election long-tipped to be Labor’s weak link. The states will now have to stack-up as the nation’s de facto senate come July, and this, I suspect, is the date that is haunting your average not-completely-brain-dead citizen’s mind. Howard’s senate majority is a dead-set fluke, that has scared the bejesus out of the voters, and would have been revoked in a fresh vote, had it been called the day after the last result was known. His Darkness got so far, but no more … Western Australia says we might finally be on the rat’s tail … that people do give a toss, after all. Maybe it’s five minutes to midnight for the whole evil howardian regime. Bring on the Abbott and Costello show.

Just sayin’ …

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

I have a different view to cs. I think democracy is working very well in Australia. You average not-so-brain-dead citizen doesn’t want any political party to have too much power. So he or she votes in Howard federally; but just so he doesn’t get to take too much for granted, or get delusions of grandeur, they vote Labor into power in the states. Same thing happened, in reverse, during the years of Hawke’s ascendancy, when we had a lot of Liberal state governments. Remember Kennett?

As for the Senate, I think you can thank the Greens for that. The idea of Bob Brown having real political power is just too much for said ANSBDC. So they tilted the balance to Howard. If they don’t like what follows, they’ll tilt it back next time.

Democracy – how I love it. Trust the people; they really do know what they’re doing (collectively, subliminally, sub-consciously, whatever).

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

Hi Rob,

Love it when you say:

“Democracy – how I love it. Trust the people; they really do know what they’re doing (collectively, subliminally, sub-consciously, whatever).”

I’m sure Wayne Sawyer agrees with you, especially after the ALP got re-elected in WA. Obvivously, the English teachers in that state are doing a good job!

Geoff  Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I guess I’m struggling to see a clearcut Left/Right dimension to this given that Barnett wanted to waterblast teenagers while Gallop just locks them up if they stay up past their bedtimes.
Gallop is hardly the beau ideal of innerurbanati social progressivism – which is equally the case with Messrs Beattie, Carr, Lennon, Bracks et al. State governments don’t have to do the vision thing – it’s all about pragmatic can-do’ism. State Labor does that well (with the current exception of NSW)

We should also factor in Mr Barnett’s ‘charisma’ – a strange little dude with the all the winning vivacity of a perenially irritated cost accountant. His canal thing looked dodgy, even moreso, his failure to add up correctly on nationwide TV.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2021 years ago

I think you’re right, Geoff. Much as I’d love to see this as the turning of the tide, I think it’s the opposite: business as usual.

I wish I could share Chris’s optimism, but as you say the current Labor Premiers are all pragmatists, as likely to cash in on the phony law-n-order beat-ups as their opponents. As for making things better for the average punter, as distinct from ‘development’ deals vaguely promising more jobs, it just doesn’t happen.

Maybe Federal Treasury putting so many strings on any money given to them doesn’t help, but the vision thing seems to have died with Dunstan.

Niall
Niall
2021 years ago

I think Chris has a point. State politics are much closer to home and frankly, more easily deciphered for the average voter. Federal politics is so full of innuendo, and obfuscatory rhetoric I really don’t think many voters give a continental. For Federal politics to be affected as State politics clearly has, the voters have to be engaged on a more basic level.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

cs’s denigration of the competence of the Howard government team exemplifies a major reason for Labor’s failure to win federally for four terms now. The ALP simultaneously underestimates Howard and sees him as unbeatable.

Chris is probably right that the federal Libs and Nats would be every bit as disorganised a rabble in opposition as their state counterparts. That was also the case during the conservatives’ dark night of the soul during the 1940s, and to a lesser extent during the Hawke/Keating era. It’s also true of the ALP now. Modern Australian political parties tend to be defined (and disciplined) by the exercise of power rather than by any shared unifying philosophy or set of values. So they tend to descend into a disorganised, dispirited rabble if they remain in opposition for a while, until someone eventually grabs them by the scruff of the neck and re-instills discipline and direction. That doesn’t mean having a small target strategy and a supine, circumlocutory leader, nor a whining one who spends his time on ineffectual internal party reform, nor a mercurial, inconsistent verging-on-loopy one who manages to alienate and frighten large groups of potential Labor voters.

Howard’s government is manifestly a very effective one. Ministers like Costello, Abbott, Vanstone, Robert Hill, Mark Vaille etc are all extremely competent. More importantly, Howard DOES have a superb political brain and instinct, honed by 30 years of political experience, and has surrounded himself with apparatchiks (especially the black arts team of Crosby and Textor) who are simply better than their Labor counterparts. Labor can beat Howard’s team if it matches those qualities and exploits the public disillusionment with many Coalition policies that is undoubtedly there to be tapped.

But you don’t do this by creating a script that Howard and his team are just a mob of incompetents who got lucky, or assuming that people will continue to vote Coalition federally because:
(a) they will necessarily always trust the Tories on national security issues in dangerous times (who is creating/exacerbating the danger? And why? And how do you effectively expose the cynical neocon strategies while also reassuring voters that you will also be strong on national security? That’s one of the big reasons why they re-drafted Beazley. I think it will probably work on the reassurance front, but whether the Great Circumlocutor has the capacity to effectively expose Howard’s foreign policy duplicity is another matter); and
(b) they see voting Tory federally as a democratic counterbalance to Labor power at state level (if this was true, why did the people vote to remove the non-government check or counterbalance in the Senate, which was much more significant and effective than the existence of hostile state governments, which are largely powerless to inhibit a determined federal government given the High Court’s longstanding interpretation of the Constitution?)

Tony.T
2021 years ago

Labor were never going to lose this election. Now is an era of encumbency, and an encumbent that had done an OK job and only been in for one term was never going to get turfed unless they’d done something totally dire (the hadn’t) or the challenger had something brilliant to offer (they didn’t). Not only that, the lead up to any election is a staring game and Barnett, like Latham, blinked first.

I’m also a big fan of the State/Federal balance thing mentioned by Rob.

And Ken’s right that CS and his maties are sounding more and more like Collingwood supporters complaining endlessly about the umpires and the other team’s rough-house tactics. Instead they ought to focus on the practicalities of getting the agate and kicking goals. And, anyway, if the opposition’s evil hit-men were suddenly to transfer across, they’d yell themselves hoarse in support.

I don’t agree with Ken’s State/Federal parallel with the Senate. The senate’s shift to a Coalition majority was much more incremental (and in the eyes of the majority of Australians, accidental) than the present State / Federal balance of party predominance, which appears as a deliberate voter position.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

I think the Senate result was more a consequence of the self-destruction of the Democrats than of a deliberate decision by the electorate.

As for the WA election, I see a parallel to the Keating/Hewson election at the Federal level. In both cases the government was on the nose with the electorate, but the voters decided that the alternative leader was even worse.

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
2021 years ago

Gallop’s win is more impressive when you look at the votes. Labor and Greens got over 50 per cent between them, Lib/Nats 40 and independents about 10. In the absence of WA’s gerrymander that would have been a landslide.

Robert Merkel
2021 years ago

Ken, I’ll pay you that Abbott and Costello are very good politicians and effective ministers (even if Abbott gets his political wins handed to him on a platter laden with dosh by the PM). But down the order? Vaille got his arse whipped by the Yanks on the free trade negotiations. Vanstone’s just managed to look like a coldhearted bastard on immigration matters three times in a row now (Cornelia Rau, the 104-year-old granny, the Thai kid who grew up here) – it’s like the Liberals are so used to playing the tough guy they can’t switch gears. And on it goes.

In any case, I’d agree that the Liberals may have been politically masterful, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been terribly lucky. The economy has powered along, no credit to them, and our international creditors have been happy to keep on throwing us money (which could stop at any time). You’d swear our military personnel have force fields around them with their ability to avoid dying in a slew of hazardous operations. He’s had a tabloid media that has completely lost interest in politics – partly that’s his own work, partly it’s conservative proprietors helping him out, but to a large part it’s because of the commercial decisions of the broadcasters who’ve figured out that politics doesn’t rate compared to fat-reducing pills and dodgy plumbers. And, finally, September 11 and Bali played into the hands of a conservative incumbent.

So while it may not be terribly productive to grizzle about the Liberals’ run of luck federally, it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

Poor old lefties. Even when you win one, you’re still sour-graping about John Howard.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

What Evil said. Also what Ken said.

It’s not the electorate’s fault that Labor wasn’t elected last year. It was Labor’s fault.

I thought Latham got up a good head of steam quite early and looked like being in with a chance. Then a lot of dumb things happened:

* troops home by Christmas
* an anti-worker forests policy
* a ‘politics of envy’ schools policy
* a totally unbelievable Medicare Gold policy.

Incumbency doesn’t confer an automatic advantage, otherwise governments would never change. Labor blew it, that’s all.

And Don, if the vision thing died with Dunstan it’s because it doesn’t have electoral value any more. People have seen too many governments making too many enormous messes because they had ‘vision’ (e.g. WA Inc, the Dawkins reforms, etc., etc.). Now they are very wary. Pragmatists win elections; visionaries don’t. The electorate has worked out that they’re dangerous. Although to argue against myself, I guess you could say that George W. is a visionary of sorts (or his speechwriters are good enough to make him appear to be such). Still, that’s America.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

I agree with Ken somewhat.
howard isn’t incompetent. Just in too long as we can see from the Regional rorts fiasco.

Hmm Hill who doesn’t know what is going in defence competent, Vaile and Vanstone etal.

Even Costello showed that without Treasury he knows buggerall about basic budgetary costings.

As for State governments most need a change particularly here in NSW.

Phil
Phil
2021 years ago

all you lefties are not dumb anymore, but dumber…

marklatham
2021 years ago

Vanstone,vaille and hill are competent-you must be joking!
It seems to me that there are very few competent ministers or shadow ministers in the federal govt. or any state govt.
Poor bugger,taxpayer,me.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

Who are you to speak of competence, Mr Pancreas?

cs
cs
2021 years ago

So, one more time: who exactly was it was that won the weekend election? Can’t hear you Evil … speak up …

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

You’re not listening very hard, Chris. I’ll repeat my earlier sentence for your benefit:

“As for the WA election, I see a parallel to the Keating/Hewson election at the Federal level. In both cases the government was on the nose with the electorate, but the voters decided that the alternative leader was even worse.”

One interesting thing is that I haven’t yet seen any right-wingers condemning the voters of WA, calling them stupid or greedy, or wishing them ill. This is in contrast to the behaviour of many left-wingers after Howard won — including some who commented on your own blog.

Instead, the righties seem to be acknowledging that Barnett wasn’t a very impressive candidate and ran a poor campaign blighted by mistakes.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Is that EeePee-speak for ‘congratulations Labor, well done’?

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

No, it’s an acknowledgement of the incompetence of the WA opposition, and a reflection on the way the Right takes electoral losses without bitter recriminations aimed at the voters, unlike the Left.

From your repeated inability to comprehend English, I suspect you may have majored in the subject at university.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

Agree with Evil. One of the most disturbing characteristics of today’s left is its refusal to accept as legitimate such democratic processes or outcomes as conflict with its own wishes or prejudices. Witness its sullen silence after the recent elections in Iraq – a silence broken only by the sound of sour grapes being foot-squished into vats of bitter gall. (Not on Troppo though. Sophie had an excellent post on the subject.)

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2021 years ago

We voted Geoff back because let’s face it, he’s OK and we’re not sure Barnett is. State elections are different to Federal elections in that none of the big issues are fought in the state elections.

Colin lost because he could not have an election on asylum seekers, trees, or sitting still and pondering while violent psychopaths run amok.

Lesson for Labor, presumably you have some nice social skills, an we sort of don’t mind you once we get to know you (that’s been my experience anyway), and as long as you look like you are Liberals and try and hide those bits where you’re not, you might do OK. Enter Kim, your best chance AND unjustly criticised over the the last election he lost.

Nothing at all wrong with Geoff. Decent man. Not saying that he wouldn’t not go all moonbatty when talking foreign policy etc but he doesn’t get the chance – so it’s moot. We judge on what we see and he is OK. For now.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

Plenty of bitter gall in the links you posted, I’d say, Mark.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Which is a matter of opinion, Rob, but if true, would still be a different thing from “sullen silence”.

Andrew Bartlett
2021 years ago

Noting John Quiggin’s comment on the dodgy malapportionment/gerrymander that still exists in WA, it appears that the Upper House results are such that Labor may now have the numbers to remove this.

As usual, there seems almost zero media coverage of Upper House results, but it seems to me that Labor may get 16 out of the 34 seats. The Greens should get at least 1, probably 2 (on National Party preferences!) and there’s a chance of a freak victory in South Metro to the “Fremantle Hospital Support Group”, where their primary vote of under 2% seems likely to cascade all the way past the 16.6% needed for a quota! If this group doesn’t get the seat, it seems like it will go to Labor, which would give them 17 out of 34.

(http://www.pollbludger.com/ is best for more detail.)

Unless the Greens do something weird and oppose reducing the inequity, (which seems unlikely given they have lost their seats in the Agricultural and Mining & Pastoral electorates which I’m told presented the problem last time), then this should reduce the unfair weighting currently given to ‘regional’ seats. I would assume (without doing any numbers at all), that this would also strengthen Labor’s overall hold on power.

I should also note the drop of nearly 10% in the vote for minor parties (or the rise of 10% for the majors if you prefer), basically derived from the collapse of the huge One Nation vote, the sizeable Libs For Forests vote and the moderate Democrat vote from 2001 – all with no net gain in votes for the Greens either.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

Only two out of your five examples were posted before Tim’s critique, Mark. The other three were made in response to it.

So even with your selected posts, we have 60% sullen silence, 40% comment.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

EP, but that’s the point – Tim timed his “critique” so that no-one would have had time to post on it. The whole argument was a complete waste of time and energy. How many right-wing bloggers posted on the Iraq elections before Tim put his post up? Does anyone know? Does anyone care? This sort of nonsense where sundry RWDBs rampage around demanding that people say this or that or post on this or that is most egregious, and it’s really going a bit too far to dignify it with the term critique.

Has Tim Blair posted on George W. Bush’s support for liberalising immigration from Mexico? Yes? No? What difference does it make?

I’d be much happier to engage with right-wing bloggers if they posted some actual analysis of conditions in Iraq as opposed to triumphalism and denigration of lefties…

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

Aww, be a sport … triumphalism and denigration of lefties is the whole point of right-wing blogging.

Though there are a few soft-hearted types who dilute their denigration by actually engaging in detailed analysis of conditions in Iraq — like Arthur Chrenkoff, Belmont Club and Winds of Change. But we’re a big, inclusive family on the Right, we do accept minor deviations from the party line as long as Darth Karl approves.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

Maybe my comment should have been more specifically aimed at the mainstream media, where I think there really was a sullen silence followed by an outbreak of sour grapes. Although, Mark, there were plenty of blogs celebrating the coming elections for weeks ahead of the actual event (Iraq the Model, Chrenkoff, etc.).

I respect what you’re saying but I still think the left was caught kinda flat-footed on this one. Anyway, enough denigration and triumphalism…..until next time….

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Well, the comments boxes on Troppo would be bereft were it not for the civilly expressed denigration and triumphalism of our RWDB friends :)

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

Meanwhile, the RWDBs sullenly refuse to admit that their war has killed roughly 100,000 Iraqis.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

There you go with your blatantly fabricated numbers from The Lancet again, Tim. Have you no shame?

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

Oh, not The Lancet ‘study’ again, Tim! That’s been thoroughly fisked. I’ll defer to any military experts on Troppo but it seems to me that the only way to achieve that kind of death toll would be to deliver high-yield munitions from the air into high-density population centres – like the WWII Tokyo firestorm, or Dresden. There’s nothing to suggest the Coalition did any such thing – quite the reverse in fact. They went out of their way to avoid civilian casualties (which isn’t to say that civilians were not killed).

But those numbers seem completely unfeasible given the nature of the combat, which has been basically infantry firefights, tank and mortar engagements, urban street-fights, and tactical airstrikes both against specific targets and to support the troops on the ground. No WWII carpet bombing scenarios there.

Add to that the shonkiness of the methodology behind The Lancet study: pick a number between 10,000 and 200,000: OK, 100,000 looks to be a good median figure, so let’s go with that.

Bah.

You just can’t kill that many people without really trying to, and the Coalition, terrified of negative PR, would never have even contemplated action that could have had those consequencies.

That’s if you’re attributing it all to Coalition actions. Certainly an awful lot of Iraqis have been killed by insurgent suicide bombers and other attackers. But again nowhere near that number.

However, if there are military experts out there it’d be interesting to get their views.

OT – but just responding to Tim.

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

The numbers are not fabricated, Evil. Would you like me to go over the methodology with you? Alternatively you might consider the unanimous opinion of all the experts in the field that heve been consulted — that the Lancet study was sound. But you knew that.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Rob, as EP knows, Tim has written a lot on this issue at his blog.

On Andrew’s observation, has anyone drawn any inferences about whether the ON vote went straight to Labor – I’m assuming that’s the case.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

The numbers are fabricated. The size of the error bars alone makes them worthless.

The Lancet “study” was pure political propaganda, prepared expressly for the American election. No credible estimate of Iraqi deaths is even in the same order of magnitude.

It’s as fake as a three dollar bill — but you knew that.

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

Evil, repeatedly claiming that the numbers are fabricated does not prove that the numbers are fabricated. Nor does having error bars of a particular size prove that an estimate is fabricated. This is first year statistics. Is it now RWDB dogma that the field of statistics is a commie plot?

As for other credible estimates, I thought it was RWDB dogma that the Iraq Body Count’s estimates were not credible. Did you guys change your mind? How come?

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

Repeatedly claiming that the Lancet study is credible doesn’t make it so. All it acomplishes is a diminution of your own credibility, just as Dan Rather’s doomed defence of the fake Bush memos did for him.

There ain’t any “RWDB dogma”. The Iraq Body Count’s inflated estimate is merely the highest one based on anything other than pure fantasy. The Lancet numbers are to statistics what Creation Science is to physics.

Tim Lambert
2021 years ago

Evil, you have yet again failed to offer any evidence at all to support your claim that the numbers are fabricated. Why are you incapable of providing support for your claim?

I did not just claim that it was credible. I cited the unanimous opinions of experts in the area. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

“Public-health professionals have uniformly praised the paper for its correct methods and notable results.

“Les has used, and consistently uses, the best possible methodology,” says Bradley A. Woodruff, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indeed, the United Nations and the State Department have cited mortality numbers compiled by Mr. Roberts on previous conflicts as fact — and have acted on those results. “

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Not knowing the WA political scene intimately, I relied on Nic White, Rob Corr, et al for info on the protagonists and the issues. My verdict after the result? Further proof for me that the smoko room/plasma screen mob seldom, if ever, get it wrong, given the broad political choices they face at the time. They can spot a carpet-bagger a mile away (arm wrencher Latham and bad arithmetic Barnett) Oh, and never ever accuse them of being stupid, as that only demonstrates the accuser’s total ignorance. Democracy is alive and well in Oz for me.

Now these same punters have faced some Federal choices over some fairly big issues whilst changing from Keating Labor and deciding to stick with Howard Coalition since. Rob states “if the vision thing died with Dunstan it’s because it doesn’t have electoral value any more.” Well personally I don’t agree with that, although there is an element of truth in it. Now it is true that probably both Whitlam and Dunstan had vision, but what is now true is that much of that vision is incorporated into public policy to this day.ie a lot of it we now take for granted in public policy, which does reduce visionary options somewhat. OTOH Howard’s GST election does demonstrate that properly enunciated vision can appeal to the electorate, despite the fact that it was rejected when poorly enunciated before. The punters are not going to accept smoke and mirrors though, eg warm fuzzy ladders of opportunity and reading to kids, but behind that arselicker comments and arm wrenching. Ditto grand canals that not even your own party PM can enthuse over for its flawed arithmetic.

Some policies are no-brainers for every prospective aspirant to leadership of any nation state and that is borders that don’t start leaking like a sieve due to people smuggling. Welcome to the Tampa election result.

Now national defence policy can be the cause of some argument as we have seen. Howard took a country to war in Iraq while a skeptical nation held its breath. Now for an island nation like Australia, the attraction of ‘none of our business’ a la Canada or NZ is always a natural proposition. However this country is full of migrants and their offspring, who appreciate only too vividly that what happens in far flung corners of a shrinking globe, can engulf the indolent or unwary. Sept11 and Bali only served to remind them of this fact. Now what to do about that could always be a bone of contention of course, but the one thing Howard demonstrated in Iraq, ET, the Solomons (and perhaps PNG), was a consistency of purpose and ideals, that Labor never came to grips with. Sorry guys, no troops home by Xmas as a winner and barely a blink as Howard does a sudden u-turn on further troop commitments to Iraq. Now you’d have to say that’s certainly following visionary politics, even if you don’t like the vision. They agreed with his tsunami aid vision as well which appeared consistent with the former. I might also add that these are the same punters who could vote for Hawke/Keating visions on floating the dollar, even the recession we had to have, Button car plans and the like.

Federal Labor just don’t get it at the moment, which is why Labor is largely confined to managing local issues. Besides they are very good at it now they understand totally what balanced budgets mean. For example it’s easier for union backed Labor to rationalise the public sector and give them the bad news about their ambit pay claims, from time to time. You have to put up with their little idiosyncrasies like taxing 4WD parking, community service for schoolies and even a low energy bulb and draughtstopper for rising electricity bills, but what the heck! If they really stuff things up management wise, the punters can toss in a Kennett or two occasionally, eh Bob Carr?

Yobbo
2021 years ago

Observa, I agree that the WA public made the right choice with Gallop over Barnett.

However, I’m pretty disappointed that the referendum to extend shopping hours failed. WA has some of the most restrictive laws in the world in this area.

It seems to me that hardly anything passes a referendum in WA – The only referendums to ever succeed were.

A:) June 1900 referendum asking whether or not to join the commonwealth of Australia.

B:) 1933 referendum to secede from the commonwealth.

Since then, prohibition has been knocked down twice, daylight saving 3 times, and now extended shopping hours.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

The Lancet figures can’t be labelled ‘false’ per se – on this point Tim is right. The methodology – household surveys, comparative before and after analysis – is perfectly legitimate. The study becomes problematic in the sense that it appears to deliver an outcome that is at very wide variance with other assessments of civilian casualties and also seems to greatly underestimate pre-war death rates – particularly amongst children. The usual verdict in such situations is that “more research is needed.”

John Quiggin
John Quiggin
2021 years ago

I’m not sure whether my post on the Iraq war was after Tim Blair’s or before, as I don’t read his blog all that regularly, but it was certainly well before there was much to do in response the election but speculate: no results, and only premature and over-optimistic estimates of the turnout.

On Iraqi deaths, counts based on media reports are now well over 15,000 and the media is largely confined to Baghdad, plus whatever the official sources choose to tell them. And that count excludes the massive increase in the murder rate, which is included in the Lancet study. Neither the Lancet study nor the media count includes combat deaths during the invasion (probably 10-20 000, and perhaps more)

There’s no way to get a plausible estimate below 50 000 dead.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

WA’s propensity for ‘no’ voting on referenda is a myth Yobbo. In national referenda, WA voted ‘yes’ in 1910, 1911 (twice), 1913 (6 times), 1916 and 1917 (anti-conscription, of course), 1919 (twice), 1944, 1946 and 1951. I’m pretty sure this is more ‘yes’ referenda votes than any other single state.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Well Yobbo, I think the two referendums that did get up say it all. You see there has always existed an axis of power, namely the Syd, Melb, Canb axis which has probably been joined of late by Bris, SE Qld, due to extensive dilution of immigration from the former. Outside this ‘axis of evil’ reside the fringe dwellers of, WA, NT, Tas, Far North Qld and to a lesser extent SA. Now we take a certain wicked delight in being ornery and refusing to go along with the powers that be. Having grown up in Darwin, I’m sure Ken Parish, et al could describe how Territorians view Southerners and enjoy a more frontier mentality. We in SA have also enjoyed frustrating Easterners with such things as shopping hours and daylight saving, although one of our favourites is to protect old buildings, well beyond their use-by date from Eastern carpetbagging developers. Taswegians do it with their Greeny thing too. It’s lots of fun and differentiates us as part of a unique club, much to the disdain of the eye rollers from the axis of all things hip, smart and cultural. Kiwis have this same relationship with OZ, as we do with the Yanks.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Oops, I left out 1906, 1928 (loan council), 1967 (Aboriginal powers), and 1977 (three times), when WA also voted ‘yes’.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2021 years ago

“They went out of their way to avoid civilian casualties …” -Rob

I remain to be convinced of that.

1. “Shock and Awe” didn’t show much concern for civilian casualties. Neither did massive bombing of areas thought to contain Saddam and his sons. And while I cannot find any sympathy for Saddam, the idea of assassinating him (or any enemy leader) is not generally regarded as legitimate warfare. If it was done in the hope of shortening the war and resistance,perhaps. But it doesn’t seem to have.

2. The use of depleted uranium armory does not show any respect for human life. Any strategic advantage cannot outweigh the human damage it caused, which should have been well known after the 1991 war.

3. Ditto the use of cluster bombs and arms, which are entirely designed to maim and terrorise. Wasn’t this supposed to be a war against terrorism?

4. The refusal by the US or any COW partners to keep any information on the opposing military and civilian casualties. It hardly suggests a concern about human life. And, of course, it makes a mockery of attempts to discredit the Lancet study when there is no alternative data.

None of this is all that relevant to the post, but on matters which are, I take your point on the vision thing (though Dunstan managed it without bankrupting anyone, whereas the more business-minded Bannon group ‘lost’ the State Bank). Observa has summed that up well.

Francis Xavier Holden
2021 years ago

Is there a map or graphic approximation on the net of how many votes per person each electorate in WA is worth?