Features Australia

Aux bien pensants

22 October 2016

9:00 AM

22 October 2016

9:00 AM

Mr Shorten says he’s opposed to the very same gay marriage plebiscite he’d previously demanded. One reason is cost. So why is he planning four national votes on some unknown politicians’ republic: two plebiscites, a convention election and a referendum? There’ll not be much change out of $1 billion, with the Yes vote likely to be smaller even than in 1999. Please explain.

It’s not at all surprising that Newspoll finds support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party has increased fourfold since the election. Her maiden speech and those of Senators Roberts and Burston were replete with comments rarely, if ever, heard in Parliament or indeed, much of the mainstream media. All politically incorrect, and each passes the ‘pub test’. This is the reward for Turnbull and the Greens stopping the politicians’ theft of the peoples’ Senate preferences. It’s also Turnbull’s reward for insisting on a last-minute DD election. For this example of the mother of all unintended consequences, thank you, PM; thank you, Greens. Well done, and do continue.

Why are so many politicians so out of touch? Marcus Bastiaan on the Speccie’s Flat White blog, blames ‘union or lobbyist domination of governments’. This, he says, leads to supporter disenchantment, cronyism and voter disillusionment. He’s right. That explains a series of decisions which just do not pass the ‘pub test’. Too many politicians have been chosen because of their loyalty to some powerbroker, even one who’s also a professional lobbyist. They weren’t chosen because they were the best candidates. In fact, when it’s obviously stiched up, the best don’t bother.The solution is clear. Return the parties to being controlled by the members with the rank and file choosing the candidates. On this, Australia’s major parties have been shockingly slow to catch up with the rest of the Western world. The Lib’s NSW division is the global laggard. After the Party lost seven NSW seats in the recent election, Howard, Abbott, Baird and Turnbull all recognise it’s time for democracy. Speaking recently at a convention on democratic reform, I was introduced by that much decorated, gallant soldier, Jim Molan. In the last election he was relegated to an unwinnable position on the NSW Senate ticket, so outraging Liberal voters he received a record number of below-the-line votes. Thanking him for his introduction, I added: ‘General, anywhere else they’d have put you at the top of the ticket. Your case encapsulates all of the reasons why the party must reform.’ Recalling that earlier this year, former politicians Ross Cameron and Charlie Lynn, as well as Juris Laucis, had been suspended merely for going on the ABC to criticise rorted preselections, I mentioned that while I had done the same, no action was taken against me. Was it because they thought I am far too important or so insignificant it didn’t matter? I fear it was the latter. In the Q&A session, that hero of democratic reform, John Ruddick, asked me about the next leader of the Canadian Conservative Party being chosen by all members of the party. Parties across the western world are doing the same. When John first raised this, I feared this would be inconsistent with our Westminster system. But on reflection, all Westminster requires is the government enjoy the confidence of the lower house. It says nothing about how the leader should be chosen. I came around to John’s view and agree this would be a sensible reform. The correctness of this must surely be confirmed by the Great Bedwetting Incident in Canberra on 14 September 2015. Here’s an example of just how successful this reform can be. In a country one third the population of ours, and with many more parties, Israel’s Likud has well over 100,000 members. In 2014, contrary to polling, they sensibly re-elected their very capable PM, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The latest emails released by Wikileaks from Hillary Clinton’s campaign reveal the strategy to work with the mainstream media to ensure that Trump would win the Republican nomination. They feared other contenders, especially Ted Cruz, would defeat her. It worked like a charm. Does that explain why so many ladies waited until now to denounce Trump, with the mainstream media concentrating on this trivia while playing down the far more serious scandals revealed in Clinton’s leaked emails? While most polls indicate Clinton leads, as I detailed in Flat White and the Tele, the only test is who is more likely to apply policies in the best interests of the US and the West.

It’s curious that some Coalition governments attack their constituency while flouting fundamental Liberal principles. The failed attempt to close down the NSW greyhound racing industry was the latest example. The reaction of the electorate, informed by some worthy commentators, has forced a sensible solution. Not so Turnbull’s and Morrison’s inadequate modification of their attack on self-funded retirees, who’ll still be worse off than under Labor’s proposal. And the government refuses to touch that exclusive Canberra $10 million a member superannuation club or its gold plated successor. Retiring at the youthful age of 53, having attempted to gag the press and conceived that socialist albatross, the NBN, Stephen Conroy is the latest politician to join the club. Wanting to spend more time with the family, he’s sure to reject the ‘jobs for the boys’ reserved for retired pollies, the first offer being to head some ‘wagering council’.

The Senate should refer the Turnbull-Morrison tax on SFR’s to an inquiry to achieve a level playing superannuation field for all Australians, even politicians. As with super, that mean-spirited backpackers tax wasn’t withdrawn. On incomes so low nobody else pays tax, they’re to lose almost $1 in every $5 earned. To show Kelly O’Dwyer meant it when she declared super concessions the ‘gift’ of government, backpackers are to pay an unconscionable 95 per cent tax on theirs. We desperately need them because politicians have trained cohorts of healthy young Australians to go on the dole rather than work. Instead of spending more money to find some way to wean the dronariat off taxpayers’ hard earned money, why not just say no to the undeserving and especially to any Isis terrorists on welfare?

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