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Greens riding the minor party wave as Vic campaign closes

Tony Phillips is a regular Webdiarist. His last piece was Olle Lecture 2006 – shameful crawling by the ABC or Ministerial nakedness exposed?

by Tony Phillips

In an election campaign that has struggled to be the main story for most of its duration the fate of the minor parties has been one of the most interesting features. The new system of proportional representation in the Upper House gives independents and minors a better chance than they have ever had to gain representation in the parliament.

Yet the implications are different for each.

For the Greens Victoria has been a place of rising fortunes for some time. This would be more obvious if candidate David Risstrom had won the Senate seat he looked likely to at the 2004 Federal election. In a grubby deal, which showed utter contempt for rank and file members and supporters, the ALP’s right wing machine directed Senate preferences to the Family First candidate, who went on to win. Thus a somewhat false impression of Family First as a new electoral force was created and the degree of growth in Greens support understated. (For the record the Greens scored around 8% of the primary vote, Family First just under 1.8%)

This election is also being fought against a background of climate change, drought and Federal initiatives in nuclear power. These are all areas that should suit the Greens. Indeed their success may be some indicator of the degree climate change is becoming an decisive electoral issue. At the moment the Greens seem certain to pick up one Upper House seat in the North and have chances in all other urban electorates for that House. Less than two seats in the Upper House would be a mildly disappointing result for the Greens.

At the same time, thanks to a (grubby? astute?) deal with the Libs preferences in the lower house will flow Green in some key inner city seats. This is in return for a Green split ticket in some key eastern city marginals. Consequently it seems likely that the Health Minister will lose her seat of Melbourne to the Greens and at least two other inner city Labor seats could go the same way as well.

The Greens have run a tight campaign within a small budget and have taken less hits from the Libs and conservative press than previously, when the “whacky Greens” denigration was in high use. I suppose the phrase has less resonance when your boss has changed tack on climate change, the Murdoch tabloid press, and your Federal leader in John Howard stands pretty clearly exposed as a flat earth policy flake on the same issue.

The Greens continue to have thoughtful policies on issues such as drugs, education and homosexuality, policies that make the ignorant, the prejudiced and religious fundamentalists see red. However this button is not being pushed as vigorously as in the past. And of course amongst their potential supporters these policies are not a problem, or are actually welcomed.

For the other minor parties the question of survival is the key question of this campaign.

The Nationals risk losing party status altogether and have run a strident campaign born of the desperation this situation should engender. They continue to insist they represent country folk and their interests but reality is against them. First, most country electorates now tend to be dominated by towns, second their economic policies rarely address any of the concerns that family farmers, as opposed to agribusinesses, might support. They have no interest in the organic sector or niche farming, being firm supporters of GM crops and the like, and have made no running on issues such as the power of the supermarkets in setting prices for products. On services Labor has a track record of commitment to the country so its hard work there. That leaves platitudes and prejudices against Greenies and city dwellers. Thus the National campaign has largely transformed into a sort of class warfare against the educated. Unfortunately the country also contains lots of well educated people these days so this has limited traction. Treating the election as a Nationals versus the Greens contest and almost ignoring the main game is an interesting tactic but it may not work.

For Family First this is a very big test. Basically if they don’t score at least 4% of the vote it would appear that the good luck in getting up a Federal candidate has yielded little result. Their campaign has been short on policies by high on values and prejudice. As with the Nationals they seem to see their main competition as the Greens, throw the phrase family values at every problem (though apparently the climate isn’t a problem for families!?), and are obsessed with abortion and homosexuality. In this respect they are a Freudian’s wet dream. If there is a swing in the liberals in outer east Family First preferences could be useful, especially with the Greens split ticket.

For the Democrats this is one of the few chances left to arrest their slide into obscurity. They remain worthy but have been even more starved of media oxygen than usual and basically are trading on brand recognition. They may surprise in southern Melbourne where they’ve worked hard at the grass roots. Under their current circumstances anything over 5% of the urban vote would be welcomed.

On very similar ground to the Democrats and no doubt competing for their vote is People Power. The party is basically organised coalition of independents, including Crikey.com founder Stephen Mayne. Their policies revolve around middle class liberal democratic concerns with an emphasis on government accountability. They are particularly strong on poker machines and gambling generally. They credibly argue that the gambling industry has become a vested interest that causes great social dysfuntion but has an unhealthy influence on government as a source of taxation and party political support. Individual candidates may do well across inner and middle urban seats.

Finally there is the DLP. They seem to be running primarily to remind people that there was something called the DLP. Oh, and also to fulminate against abortion. They may also have issued a fatwah against the Pope for being too liberal but I’ve missed that. They functioned in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a halfway house for upwardly mobile Catholics to become voters for the parties of greed and not feel guilty about it. Now I suspect they can at best be a half way house to allow conservative Catholics to move to support for fundamentalist Protestants and not feel guilty about it.


Warning - electoral punditry is not my strong suit, however…

I stated last week that I thought Labor might lose eight seats. Since then Baillieu has run a good campaign for the Libs and Labor has looked a bit lacklustre. However they’ve come out swinging in the last couple of days and I suspect the high point of Liberal support has peaked. Looking at the actual seats this morning I can still see 8 Labor seats definitely in danger of Liberal capture and possibly 2 seats vulnerable to the Greens with 3 a possibility. I’m assuming the swing will mostly be urban because I think the country remembers the Kennett government much more bitterly and will stay firmly Labor. However, even allowing for this 12 seats falling to the Libs is now a possibility.

In short I would expect Labor to make it back with between 48 and 52 seats in the lower house. Picking up more than 12 seats will be as good as a win for the Libs and picking up less than 8 would represent a pretty stunning rejection. Indeed big Ted might be asked to get back in his speedos and go for a real long swim off Portsea.

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Trang Bang

I hear John Howard's pilgrimage to Vietnam included a brief tour of sacred sites. He asked after the health of Kim Phúc, and was reassured she has the best health insurance money can buy.

Meanwhile, in BAE admits Saudi Eurofighter fear

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating allegations that BAE Systems may have used slush funds to help sweeten the deal, something the company has strenuously denied.

Business as usual. The Howard government is in good company.

From Making sense of a mad world:

The Israeli military relied on massive, overwhelming firepower delivered by the most modern means possible, and it failed to stop incoming rockets and enemy mobility, much less win the war. Hezbollah not only showed Syria how to defeat the Israeli army but made Iran much more confident it can carry on what it is doing. The entire Israeli government and army leadership was incompetent.

From its very inception there was a warrior ethic in the Zionist ideology, one it shared with diverse reactionaries in Europe. Both its left wing as well as the right have nourished it, and Joseph Trumpeldor, the hero of this militant mentality, was one of the founders of Zionist socialism - a leader of Hashomer Hatzair, the far left of this tendency. But the cult of heroism in Israel has made way for military technocrats who read digital printouts.

Morale in Israel, and especially in the once-elitist military, has plummeted. The arms industry there is very large, and like its US equivalents, needs subsidies - computer-based war is very expensive and greatly helps employment. But Lebanon only showed Israel what the Americans learned elsewhere. It loses.

If only. And it goes on. From Five girls killed in Iraqi clash:

The youngest female casualty was six-months-old and the eldest was aged 10. Another female at the scene was injured but refused treatment, the statement said.

Back to Kim's future. Our Kim. As much as he yearns for a green-fringed photo-op on Cottlesloe Beach, he is captive to a narrow segment of society - WA mining interests. A PM from Perth? Curtin died in the saddle. Would Kim risk it? Better to change now, before the napalm rains down next year.

Tony I say bring on the election and let the people decide

Tony Phillips, certainly there is a lot of truth in your opinions about my opinions. I hasten to add that my opinions have been formed from experience. I am and have always been open to looking at other viewpoints.

I may disagree with them strongely. However, it does not mean it is personal and that others cannot hold alternative views. That in essence is what makes a democracy.

Amen to that

I can only agree with your sentiments on this Jay. So here's to civilised discourse and its civilising effects.



Will:  I am glad you

Will: I am glad you agree with me in regard to the unnecessary introduction of the Israel issue into threads.

My post, however, referred to politics in general, Australia's image in particular, and the image of the United States and Israel by association given that they came bottom of the class in the survey because they are so disliked throughout the world.

Sorry about that but it was not my idea. It was the result of the study. The two most hated nations in the world come last in the survey and Australia has also been affected in terms of its image because of its actions.

Actions speak louder than words and that is what we are judged upon. Every good politician should know that, or rather, every honourable politician should know that. And therein lies the problem.

Lets go to the next election fighting State issue's?

Now Morris Dilemma wants to fight elections on Federal issues. Who are these clowns kidding?

I say name Tony Abbott as special minister for trains, toll roads, developments, and infrastructure such as water and electricity, as well as State run hospitals. A bit of digging around State Labor may indeed find many riches.

You seriously do not want to go there, Morrie. It is indeed a large step up.

Frankly it begs the question; What the f*** are the State Liberals doing? A more useless bunch would be hard to find.

Next election

Jay White, I think Morris Dilemma is quite right in wanting to fight the next State election on IR issues.

I mean, everything else in the State of NSW is running well – look at all the new trains we are going to get (made in China). I would have thought that the unions would be marching in the streets on this one (ha ha).

No waiting lists in the hospitals, as long as you go private.

All public schools now have the same facilities as private schools, but for some reason parents are taking their kids out of the public system. Could it be that the quality of the teachers has something to do with it? Perhaps somebody should talk to the Teachers Federation as they are running the show.

Frank Sartorial is busy making money for the Labor Party with donations from the "developers" by passing every development that will make a few bob.

No problems with water and electricity. Frank will fast track the building of a new power station in Campbelltown. There is plenty of water in bottles on the supermarket shelves.

Leftie self denial is a never ending source of wonder

Alan Curran Tony Phillips, perhaps you could explain to me how the loss of Labor seats in Victoria sends a message to John Howard regarding his IR Legislation.

Common sense would dictate it did not. If it did, a majority would not be cut back to less then it was before the IR changes, now would it?

In fact the claims that Bracks is making are actually detrimental to himself. Bracks would be also making a big mistake stepping up a very large grade and taking on the Feds. Remember the goose poor Morris made of himself over the Snowy? Like a deer in the headlights of a on coming truck.

Admittedly I have never worked for a sheltered workshop such as the ACTU so I may be missing something here. My theory is, take every thing they (ACTU) claim with a large grain of salt.

Why the hell they would be silly enough to organise a nation wide public teachers strike is anyone's guess. The Public education system now has three types of people. Those that are not there. Those that wish they were not there. And those that soon will not be there. Stunts such as this merely hasten the process.

When it comes to Combat and Burrows, pat them on the head, and send them on their way.

Welcome to the world Tony Phillips

Tony Phillips: “Those advocating winner takes all and highly centralised systems have a particular preference, one I would tend to associate with the authoritarian personality, those craving, or at least more comfortable with, strong authority, patriarchal values, and the like. Others of different dispositions have another view.”

I would not argue it and I am not advocating it, I am flat out saying it is the only system that can work.

Any person that thinks otherwise has not experienced a position where a decision truly matters. Never experienced a situation where the buck truly stops with them. Hence the reason for failure of those thrown into that situation prematurely – for example, the Greens in Tasmania.

Life is just a little deeper and a little more complicated than middle-class inner-city good thoughts.

yes it is complicated

Your faith is touching, Jay, but it's little more than that. The Soviet Union had highly centralised decision making, did it work? The answer is actually yes and no but I guess you would tend towards no. Many groups, business organisations, and states work on more diversified and less centralised decision making and they work. As noted previously, Europe and European countries have all barrelled along with high rates of growth since 1945 with varying levels of centralisation. The US has a winner take all electoral system but its federalism makes for much decentralisation and squabbling.

The real question is what system works best, or rather, how well, in any given context? And of course your answer depends on which outcomes you value and will therefore indicate what you think "works". Following a leader may produce clear decision and also a clear person to blame but it also excuses others from responsibility and may also produce a lack of legitimacy in the system and the decisions.

So I can only note that your views are the ones that seem most comfortable with uncomplicated, one-size-fits-all, certainties. Whether they are urban, outer suburban, or country I wouldn't presume to say.

The Real world

Tony Phillips, perhaps you could explain to me how the loss of Labor seats in Victoria sends a message to John Howard regarding his IR Legislation. I would have thought that if Beazley's "middle Australia" were so upset with IR they would have wiped the Liberals off the map. I have heard Beazley, Burrows and Iemma saying that the election was fought on IR and that they will fight the next election in NSW and federally on this issue. Do these people really live in the real world?

Real world reply

Hi Alan, apart from the fact that we all live in the real world but view it from different angles I must say I can't explain that the results sends such a  message. I wouldn't claim it did.

Industrial relations was a relatively major part of the ALP campaign but we would need better access to public opinion research to know how important it was. Labor did hammer it hard in the final days, arguing that the Labor state government would try and protect workers from the Federal regime. Presumably the ALP pollsters thought the issue had some bite. In this IR was reminiscent of Howard's interest rates refrain in 2004

This election was actually a lukewarm result for the Greens (and so my headline was slightly misleading, they were surfing the wave but didn't ride it as well as they hoped) a bad result for the Liberals and a pretty good result for Family First and the Nationals.

Why, because Family First have come from just 1.7% of the primary vote in 2004 to over 4% in this election. Having got Fielding up in the Senate would appear to have allowed them to consolidate their presence.

The Nationals managed to convince their electorates they had something to offer and even managed to topple Russell Savage, the independent in Mildura, and thus increase their presence by one in the Lower House.

The Liberals gains are of some, not even all, of the seats that have traditionally been Liberal and only went Labor in the massive swing they got in 2002. They have to worry that some of them might be becoming genuine swinging seats, spreading the campaign burden wider in future elections. Most of the Liberal swing was in the 17 of 88 seats they held before the election. This has been a familiar ALP problem - hugh majorities in some seats but then struggling in lots of others.  Now it seems this could possibly be a Liberal one as well.

Thus all in all it was a very good result for Labor, leaving the Libs still with very big inroads to make if they want to win in 2010.

Many more entrails will have to be picked over before we can say how important the IR laws as an issue really were. However, I would venture that it does seem people like to have Labor at the state level counter-balancing the Libs federally. Also the outer east seats, that didn't swing anything like the Libs hoped, have a high percentage of working families with young kids and big mortgages. Presumably both interest rate rises and the prospect of losing overtime and penalty rates would be of some concern. But this is very broad brush suggestion, a much better answer may emerge later, with both more study of the booth results and of other data.

Musings on leadership

I would actually like to see the doing away of state governments all together. For me it has been obvious for some time that the need for them is at an end. My own feeling is that the current three-tier system will be over within fifty years.

The times move forward and in turn so do systems. With free trade agreements, trading blocs, regional groups etc it can be argued Australia is now acting as a state within a larger nation anyhow. The world is getting smaller every day and I expect this trend will continue.

Australians are simply over-governed. This is a strange trait that comes through in almost all aspects of life – an incessant need to have somebody watching over somebody else. Gather five or more Aussies together and there is a group with a leader somebody to watch the leader, somebody to watch the leaders watcher etc etc etc.

It is amazing to watch an Aussie actually make a stand-up accountable decision, simply because it is such a rare occurrence. For such a great country in so many ways, this is a great pity.

My theory is that it has to do with education and the quality of business management schools mixed with a days-gone-by inherent culture. Has anybody ever bothered to ask the question why so many of Australia's largest companies are being directed by non Aussie citizens?

All State elections are meaningless

Roslyn Ross: “Perhaps 'reading the political tealeaves' is only considered important when issues are local. Then again, public opinion can jump out and bite unexpectedly when people decide enough is enough. Let's hope that time is near.”

Now what would people be deciding they have had enough of?

Indeed all politics is local. That is what wins elections. Many people simply care as much about what is going on in the Middles East as people in the Middle East care about what is happening in Australia. I suspect very little.

This survey does put pay to the powerful "Jewish" lobby theory, however. Then again, it was never the "Jews" claiming they have some super human powerful lobby, was it?

My totally unscientific view on state elections is that conservative parties will always struggle badly. The reason is that people are looking for different things in their state and federal representatives. The portfolios covered by both vary to a great degree.

People want money spent at State level. They know, however, that the Federal government is there as a backstop to out of control extravagance and has control of the overall economy. It is near impossible to win an election advocating cutbacks to hospitals, police, public servants, education etc etc etc. In other words, running a balanced budget. And this is what Liberals attempt to do at State level.

Bracks, of course, will not carry through with his promises. No state government ever does. He will blame the federal government and they will use him and his party cousins to flay the federal opposition rightly as economic incompetents.

The ironic thing is that the more state Labor win the more they mess up. And the more they help the current federal government. With each passing year and prolific waste they need ever more and more money and help. This in turn gives the federal government more and more power over them, which is used to direct policy in the direction they wish. I expect this trend to become more and more pronounced as the years move forward.

Power in this nation is in Canberra. He who holds the keys to the lodge holds the keys to the nation. I would gladly give up all state governments every single time to see the federal Liberal party returned.

Federal government is the only game in town.

Reading the political tealeaves

Given that perception is all in politics this article, while not specifically relating to the Victorian election, is an interesting demonstration of that fact.

The latest Anholt Nations Brand Index was published last week.

Excerpt: Researcher Simon Anholt polls 25,903 individuals around the world to see how they regard a group of nations. Australia comes in at number 10 on the overall rankings and is seen as a beaut place to visit, with friendly natives, but not too good at sport."

Anholt argues that people's perceptions of a nation influence how they vote on 'soft' options like culture. Australia fared poorly in this assessment, coming near the bottom of the pile with the US.

Excerpt: "The answer is that all around the world people do not like America. For this reason, they volunteer an obviously ridiculous opinion on its soft values, such as culture.

Simon Anholt put Israel in the list of nations assessed for the third-quarter index and found that it ranked absolute dead last for perceived cultural heritage. He writes that this is a ranking that is arguably very much lower than the country objectively deserves.

The political aspects of the country's image appear to be contaminating perceptions of other areas of national interest that, in theory, should be unrelated.

In fact, of 36 national brands tested, Israel's ranked last on just about every criterion.

Even in countries whose governments are vehemently pro-Israel, the ordinary people hold negative perceptions of Israel."

The results are interesting because they demonstrate two things: a. that people will hold an opinion regardless of what their government's position might be, and b. people's perceptions of a country overall are influenced by their views of a country and its behaviour.

Anholt likens Israel to America in that they share a delusion: to know us is to love us. He says that his surveys show the opposite to be true: the more they know about the US, the less they like it, and the same may well be true for Israel.

I would argue that when a country acts in a way which is perceived as negative then that negativity dilutes at best and destroys at worst any positive aspects of that country which may exist. And all countries have positive aspects. Israel in fact has a rich culture, as does the US and as does Australia.

Australia has certainly lost 'brownie points' throughout the world for its treatment of asylum seekers; its growing discrimination toward Muslims, and its involvement in the Iraq war. No doubt it has lost even more in the Arab world because of our support by omission of Israel's aggression and our lack of spine in regard to the destruction of Lebanon.

The message is that when you act in ways which most people dislike or condemn you lose more than you might think.

As someone once said: If one person makes a criticism you may ignore it; if two people make the same criticism you would do well to ponder it; but if more than two people make the same criticism then you need to change.

I think that applies to nations as well as individuals and it most certainly applies to political parties.

What is interesting, as Anholt suggests, is that governments, supposedly with ear, eyes, and brains always on the lookout for public opinion in order to milk it for all it is worth, seem to ignore, particularly in the case of the US and Israel, clear indications that the general public does not support what they are doing.

The belief that 'rocking the boat' in regard to being a US ally or calling Israel to account for its behaviour is a 'no-go' area stands completely at odds with the facts on the ground.

Perhaps 'reading the political tealeaves' is only considered important when issues are local. Then again, public opinion can jump out and bite unexpectedly when people decide enough is enough. Let's hope that time is near.

Discarding the tealeaves

"... I think the unfortunate tendency to introduce Israel into threads ... should be avoided unless it really is relevant."

- Submitted by Roslyn Ross on November 21, 2006 - 1:19pm

Part of a posting entitled "Reposting to CP and reply to Will" in the thread "Confronting Islam."

I couldn't agree more.


Roslyn Ross, so Simon Anholt polls 25,903 individuals around the world and comes up with "Australia comes in at number 10 on the overall rankings and is seen as a beaut place to visit, with friendly natives, but not too good at sport." Not too good at Sport, who the hell was he interviewing? Inmates of lunatic asylums?

"Australia has certainly lost 'brownie points' throughout the world for its treatment of asylum seekers; its growing discrimination toward Muslims, and its involvement in the Iraq war. No doubt it has lost even more in the Arab world because of our support by omission of Israel's aggression and our lack of spine in regard to the destruction of Lebanon".

Come on, Roslyn, most people in the world have never even heard of Australia as I have found out during my travels. Everybody loses "brownie points" with the Arab world because we refuse to sink to their level of civilisation.

Travelling in time warps

Alan: I would be curious to know where you have travelled. In the past twenty years I have lived in Belgium, India, South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Canada, London, and spent long periods, more than a month at times, in New York, Boston, Moscow and Lisbon and have travelled to France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Scotland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Fiji, Hawaii, Germany, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Holland, Israel and Palestine and I have never come across anyone who had not even heard of Australia ..... not even in the wilds of Africa.

Perhaps you have travelled in some sort of time warp before Australia existed.

In Europe the most common response was,’ that’s a long way away,' and in America I was asked more than once 'what language do you speak in Australia?' although that has improved in recent years and it depends upon where you are. Accents are so diverse in the States that in South Carolina, California and Arizona we were mistaken for Americans, at times; they just did not know from which part.

I would not say that people had a great deal of knowledge but they did not, as you claim, live in total ignorance as to Australia. The Indians knew all about our cricketers, not surprisingly, most people thought we were good at sport, everyone knew about kangaroos and the most common comment was,” I would like to go there but it is so far away."

In more recent years of travelling, and perhaps you do not communicate with people in the countries you visit, people have mentioned our involvement in Iraq .... the Americans as often as not like us for it and everyone else dislikes us for it.

As they say, perhaps we move in different travelling circles.

As to your comment about Arabs, how much time have you spent in Arab countries? I am curious to know given that you have such fixed views on their 'level of civilization.'

Time Warp

Roslyn Ross, for your information I have lived in the following countries in my job as a Consultant, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon. The shortest period of time was four months in Lebanon.

In a previous post I mentioned the event where Iraqis took ten of their fellow countrymen poured kerosene over them and set them alight. I was quering how a civilised people could do that sort of thing. However this was edited out, I must have offended someone.

Fiona: You did not provide any reference for the event, Alan. One should have been inserted in this comment, too. It would be helpful if you would send the relevant link.

Strike a light mate, a is for Acuman, K is for..


There may be no reference or link, Fiona. Perhaps Acuman personally witnessed this horrid keroscene, or has dribbles of flaming hearsay about it. Searing his consciousness no doubt.

But now it’s on the net, with no dates, names etc, except for Al’s.

Clearly though, this may explain his PTSD symptoms and flare-ups. The whole thing was so k’n awful, and may well have driven him from his Middle East consultations, sobbing and screaming, like many Mesopotamian families these days. Not to mention about 3000+++ broken families in the USA.

But we need to remember that the lad does this stuff all out of deep humanitarian love and altruism, and not, as some might imagine, out of any seeming hate or racist bigotry or seething indignation at the je n’est sais bloody quoi.

I believe in my heart of hearts that Al is shortly to don a VERY BRIEF ultrakini-cum-G-string and join the “lets-offend-the-dirty-Mussulmen-with-our-big-fat/tired/wrinkled/old-arses” Great Australian White Supremacist Underwater Goats with Snorkels in Bikinis March on a Mosque protest. Commendable.

Tanned lissom figure glowing in the noontide heat, trying to forget.....

And the white heat of intellectualism, akin to that of Sir Gerard Henderson OBE (dec’d) should stifle the antifeminist push of the Hilalyites. Especially when they’re out with an “entirely coincidental” praetorian guard of neo-Nazis and White Supremacists, escorting a phalanx of Eva Brauns in dagwear.

Eva will, of course, conclude her efforts by lolling in puddle of the Fuhrer’s grey matter, clutching a Walther, while Red armour rolls overhead, spearheading battalions of Mussulmen Central Asians in their perky hammer and sickle battle caps. Noble warriors, bringing freedom to Germany.


I hope these swimsuit nazi dorks don't try their escapade in Jerusalem someday. The IDF may get funny about Nazis in bikinis.


“a Western Sydney small business woman based in Punchbowl is preparing to launch her simple idea overseas, making an active lifestyle a reality for millions of women worldwide...”


MARSCH! SCHNELL! As the Moslem-hater Tomb Bellaire would have his PBL-Murdoch (not Fairfax) dingo blog pack howling.

XXXXXFrère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde

Strike a light

Frère Jihad, sorry to disappoint you but here is the link.

I have never understood what the hell you talk about, in fact I once asked Margo if we could have a translation.


Subtlties undertitel keep Al affloat

YES!!! Translations! That’s a great idea, Allan. Running under all the text, just like (shudder!) Islamofascist AlJazeera Communard SBS, or as the shopping channels do with cricket or card games. Or “news”.

It’s great for us non-French-speaking folks, but it may be too much for the guys whose lips move, ever so slowly, when they read. Not you, Al. God knows you and Homer are nothing like that, the way you keep the cyclotron humming day after day, just so, for “Mr Burns”.

But if Margo is decking up an expensive translation service, I guess we’ll have to go to dubbing, as does so much Euro-telly.

Sueddeutsche even used to dub Monty Python episodes, which resulted in some of the most unconsciously self-parodic broadcasts possible, unless you count Helmut Kohl’s laboured and stentorian accounts of Parliamentary Union meetings with Sir Bronwyn Bishop (dec’d). The latter not dubbed, unfortunately, but in full bizarre Valkyrie headdress, nonetheless. Great TV! Scores of insolent Rumanian waiters lolling about on set, and laughing like drains and touching her coffin.

But concerning translations, one can let you have a carelessly dubbed piece of one’s own OAM being awarded, not a million miles from Lake Burley Griffin by a most distinguished ex-Digger (not Mr Kirribilli).

There’s a fair bit of grunting, but you’ll get the drift, old boy. I’m the one in suede, with the Barrett Rifle. We had ten dozen .50 cal armour-piercing dep/Uranium rounds that day, and put in a fair bit of practice up bush on an old Centurion hull. Didn’t it burn, mate! Tracks, engine, armour, the lot. Then off to a slap-up smoko in Dubbo.

We might take a pot at an Abrams next time the Ghan goes by our airy little desert place. Night fireworks, echelon. Please don’t tell ASIO.

XXXXXXXFrère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde BANG!!!

Richard:  Not even a Star Trek Universal Translator would have half a chance....

Star Trek

Frère Jihad, well did you read the link to the kerosene burning?


No, Acuman.

Your piteous, high-pitched squeak-cum-whinging moan was directed at Fiona, who may, or may not, have given it deservedly scant heed.

Just include it in your post next time, so we can ignore silly falangist propaganda at our leisure. Now run along and get a life.

And Al, I think I’ve told you before – do try to keep up. Even at your age, it can help to stave off dementia, in the long run.


Your friend Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde

Footnote: Just as well your countryman and fellow adherent, the mystery fourth Lebanese Quad Sheik Walid bin-Milne was not brandishing your paraffin during last night’s (30/11/06) interesting Walkley Awards in Melbourne.

His hapless girls have enough up with which to put.


Political musings and attractions

Tony Phillips, the Greens had their chance to govern in Tasmania in the mid 80's. It was a disaster. If they hold the balance of power in Victoria it will equally be a disaster.

They are no more "representative" of the people than One Nation were. In fact, on raw vote they are less so. It still does not make either good for the nation. Why any person would want their life directed by a bunch of middle-class inner-city dwellers is beyond me. Surely people have higher aspirations then that?

The Greens are no different in approach than, say, Family First. Whilst Family First makes religion its front and centre. The Greens do likewise. They merely replace the word God with a Christian-like earthly cult belief in doomsday messages and scenarios. As well as a cult-like unbending belief in changing society structure and ideology.

If the Greens and Family First were people this would be a matchmaker’s dream. Opposites attract because in many ways they are so very similar.

Greens - policies & Balance of power myths

Jay, of course I disagree. I won't bother with the question of whether the Greens have policies or not: a visit to the Greens websites sees a series of policies built upon their environmental philosophy, or ideology if you prefer. Family First by contrast is much less developed re policy. They are primarily defined by what they are against and of course their philosophy is far more shot through with metaphysics of a narrow, archaic and unsophisticated kind.

Once the Victorian Greens hold actual political power, via leverage as a minor party, they will face real tests. The exercise of political power in a democracy requires compromise; this in turn must cause conflicts between members and supporters and also forces the evolution of, and conflict about, the underlying philosophy. Handling this will be a test for the party, both its leadership and grassroots.

At this stage the Greens are claiming three upper house seats but it's also possible Labor may actually retain a majority in the Upper House. This may not be a bad thing for the Greens since it gives them time to find their feet. However, it also limits the likelihood of the Upper House functioning as one of review.

On the balance of power business, that this is a bad thing and results in governance by a (vilified) minority is a common but insubstantial claim. The minor party, representing in this case 16.6% of the vote in the seats they win and perhaps 10% of the total electorate, are just a few seats and a few voices. Only with support from other parties, to the point where over 50% of elected opinion is represented, can they exercise "balance of power" power. History shows this happens much less often than is supposed.

There is also an argument that they "get things" for this and this is somehow unfair. From a democratic point of view there is no reason why the people they represent shouldn't see some of their concerns addressed. A democracy is a way of mediating and increasing the number of citizens' voices that can be heard. Different systems allow different amounts of voices but it's hard to argue one is more legitimate than the other.

Those advocating winner takes all and highly centralised systems have a particular preference, one I would tend to associate with the authoritarian personality, those craving, or at least more comfortable with, strong authority, patriarchal values, and the like. Others of different dispositions have another view.

The other myth, that a more voices oriented proportional representation democracy somehow results in economic inefficiencies, has little support from history either. Post 1945 European history, and for that matter the Howard and Hawke-Keating histories, show few signs that having to deal with minor parties caused major problems (as opposed to short term "political instability", itself a loaded term). Indeed, many would argue that on balance the effect was to provide better governance and a wider spectrum of policies and their acceptance by the electorate.

Up Norf 1995 - Ugly green head roots th k'n joint


Gawd, I hate seeming to come out alongside Die Welt of the anti-Gruen, snarling and lunatic Acuman you are a bunch of amateurs and a complete waste of taxpayers' money and the more temperate m’Jays If the Greens and Family First were people this would be a matchmaker’s dream but…

In winter 1995, Wayne Goss warned that he was on the way out should people be tempted by the luxury of a protest vote.

He knew, also, that “the electoral cycle” was against him after six years of solid, relentless reform following the ugly, corrupt, depraved Bjelke epoch.

The whiff of One Nation was about the place, and a great many half-baked Greens and panty-waisted ex-Anarchist and even more ex-ish “Libertarians” were lurching about, palming silver and eying the main chance.

The Queensland Greens can be an unlikeable outfit, poorly led and given to trying out even larger dishonesties and stupidities than even the most sordid of the bigger parties.

They had a good vote grabber on Brisbane’s southside, with a proposed road through a eucalypt bushland koala habitat.

One local Green party member and alleged former (federal?) candidate was Helen Demidenko’s father, about whom Darville-Demidenko-Dale (now a “country lawyer”) spoke to Lynne Malcolm of the ABC’s All in the Mind in April 2006.

“My father was effectively a serial philanderer and petty criminal, and my mother was a very decent but not educated woman who did the best she could for the four of us in the context of a very difficult and often impoverished upbringing for all of us. Because Dad was not to be relied on, basically. And the family members, we discussed amongst ourselves after Dad managed to kill himself off in extremely embarrassing circumstances—humiliating circumstances to my mother and the family…

Lynne Malcolm: What were they?

Helen Dale: He'd managed to kill himself off 'on the job' in a local brothel.” http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/mind/stories/s1622778.htm

Ummmm…yes. Thanks, Helen. Now, about the anti-Semitic book and the false identities…

In a mid-nineties Courier Mail article by David Fagan and Fiona Kennedy [not on-line] Demidenko &c is said to have “spent her late-teenage and university years as a ‘political chameleon’, having been at various times "Young National, Green and Australian Democrat".

Demidenko-Darville &c snr is also said to have run as a Greens candidate at one stage or another, possibly at the 1993 federal election [not on-line].

The entire Logan City ghetto south of Brisbane could be said to be ‘political chameleon’ habitat, with flourishing pockets of all of the above, plus One Nation, League of Rights, Citizens’ Electoral Council, big ‘L’ Liberals, little ‘l’ liberals, British Union of Fascists, ex-Waffen SS, all manner of Reds under anyone’s bed and independents of every stripe, seething and bottom-feeding on the muddy floor of a vast sweltering Labor inland sea. It’s working class aspirational and the federal member for the local marginal Labor seat of Rankin is ALP right-winger Dr Craig Emerson. http://www.aph.gov.au/house/members/member.asp?id=83V


nyway, Goss skated home in the 1995 Queensland State election by a hair’s breadth, then lost office shortly afterward at a by-election, with the return of a very One Nation-sensitive Tweedledum independent, who promptly voted confidence in National’s leader Borbidge.

The Nationals, once in office, quickly and efficiently set about rooting the countryside and building the koala road anyway. No more Blinky Bill.

The Greens retired, hurt and stupefied as ever. All the others slunk back into their caves.

But….all through the debacle for the ALP, it kept federal seat Rankin, more or less. But it also retained the green and leafy seat of Indooroopilly (state), close to the University of Queensland and the river.

It was a conservative heartland, won from former Liberal leader, Denver Beanland, by a Labor sacrificial lamb candidate, Rohan Lee.

Rohan is a sweet, naive-sounding young bloke whose website included some of his mother’s potato recipes from the Ould Country. Indooroopilly, despite its silvertail coating, seems to like his left-chutzpah and leafy green credentials in Beattieland.

His job gets harder, and he runs an ever tighter race each general election, but still wins.

Rohan Lee’s seat adjoins that of Mt Coot-tha, attempted with no success at each poll by Greens’ leader Drew “Demidenko” Hutton.

Draw your own conclusions.

The Queensland Greens can pitch to lose, or to spoil elections for others, but can’t win much where the environment counts, even with an effective and deeply likeable federal leader like Bob Brown pulling votes into his slipstream.

Who knows what they’ll achieve in Victoria? Maybe just another koala road open for business somewhere, straight into a set of upper house job-for-life perks.

If only Helen could get up somewhere, now that she knows more lore. Job for life, pal. Rite to yer hart’s content. Amen.

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde, probably a semite of some kind. Or a Hittite, or Assyrian - who knows?

The Greens

Kieran Bennett, when are you going to realise that you are a bunch of amateurs and a complete waste of taxpayers' money?

The Greens and Peter Garrett

Even the Poll Bludger is now calling at least one seat for the Greens, but I'm still sceptical. It feels like I've been a Greens supporter for too long, I've seen too many painful near misses, so many hopeful elections, so many stunted results, that I daren't get my hopes up.

And now in the one place that the Greens have a chance at picking up a lower house seat, former Left/Greenie folk hero Peter Garrett has come out against us.

Somehow I doubt we'll be blasting Midnight Oil’s tunes out at the after party this year. Here's hoping that sheer ALP association destroys the credibility of one we once worshipped.

Sad days.

Come gather round

It seems to me that the singer relevant here might actually be Dylan, of the times they are a changing fame. In terms of the political agenda a sea change is occuring, gains by the Greens would be part of this but the impact is already there and it is shifting the agenda for both Liberal and Labor. As Crikey points out in their rap on the election, it's good times for the likes of Garrett and Turnbull because of it. So the centre is moving.

Thus Garrett coming out against the Greens in support of a hard working state Labor minister may be a cause of regret but Garrett's views on the environment having more sway in Labor politics and in the national discussion is not a bad thing, especially when compared to the woeful and wasted last ten years with regard to conservation and climate change.

If the Greens get seats, time in parliament will provide a test for their credibility and capacity but will also help attract supporters and, crucially, provide resources. Then they can really start to both surf and start waves of public opinion. Their strength is that they are a fair dinkum grass roots party and there is a hunger for this amongst many in the population. However, another part of the challenge, having won seats, will be keeping that character.

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