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It's Over?

The South Australian State election has come and gone, and the only winner appears to be the Liberal Party.

After four terms, Labor has finally lost an election.  Left-leaning Nick Xenophon has come a-cropper, not winning a seat himself, and his SA Best Party has failed to win a single seat in the House of Assembly (South Australia's Lower House) in spite of all the pre-election hype which predicted SA Best would win a swag of seats and become a significant influence in State politics.

Nick's team did, however, win two seats in the Legislative Council (South Australia's Upper House), so he lives to fight another day.  The first of these, held by Kelly Vincent, was the sole seat held by the fringe Dignity Party.  The other seat comes from the amalgamated fold of Cory Bernardi's fledgling Australian Conservatives, leaving that Party with just one seat in their home State of South Australia and a fraction of the support once enjoyed by Family First under former Senator Bob Day's leadership.

Polling only 3.1% statewide in the Lower House and just 3.5% in the Upper House, the Party has a long way to go before it wins seats in South Australia, and it leaves Cory Bernardi with a huge deficit in the support he needs to hold his own job as a Senator. Clearly his "better way" was not considered the "right way" by many South Australians.

South Australian State Election

Nominations have now closed for the 2018 State election in South Australia.  Ben Raue from The Tally Room (www.tallyroom.com.au) has posted the following update:

  • The official list of nominations for lower house seats in the South Australian election was published late yesterday afternoon.  264 candidates nominated, an increase from 204 in 2014.  This is due to an increasing number of minor parties running large numbers of candidates.
  • Six parties are running candidates in 30 seats or more.  Labor, Liberal and the Greens are running full statewide tickets, while Nick Xenophon's SA Best is running in 36 seats, Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives are running in 33, and Kelly Vincent's Dignity Party is running in 30.  Three smaller parties are running nine candidates, along with fifteen independents.
  • There are only three candidates in Kaurna and Stuart, while there are nine candidates in Croydon.

Seems Cory Bernardi has had a change of heart following the negative publicity in January (refer post below), but it remains to be seen whether his group will actually win any seats in the Lower House, or whether Australian Conservatives preferences will just prop up sitting Liberal members as expected.

Bernardi wimps out again!

South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi clearly has no interest in Australian Conservatives winning enough seats to form a government in South Australia... or anywhere else, it seems.

A few weeks ago, he had a wonderful opportunity to stand candidates in the Queensland election but he made sure his Party was not registered in time.  Queensland was begging for an alternative to the limp-wristed, rudderless Liberal National Party and its baggage-laden leader Tim Nicholls, but Cory Bernardi was nowhere to be found.  He blamed disloyal members for slowing down the registration process, but many of us know otherwise.  The truth came from his Victorian colleague, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins.  The Party wanted to focus on getting Senators elected.  There was never any intention of running State candidates in Queensland.

Now in his home state of South Australia, Cory Bernardi has wimped again.  Instead of standing up for conservative voters across the State, his Party is likely to stand only a handful of candidates.  [REFER THE UPDATE ABOVE, POSTED AFTER CLOSE OF NOMINATIONS ON 26 FEBRUARY]  The Family First supporters who were swallowed up when their State executive signed up to "the Bernardi plan" must be pretty sore.  He has taken their money, just like in Queensland, with seemingly no intention of delivering for the members.

Again, it was one of his parliamentary colleagues who blew the whistle on him.  MLC Robert Brokenshire was quoted by Adelaide's InDaily  (12 January 2018) as saying, "Our main focus is on the Upper House."  Of course, Mr Brokenshire is keen to hang onto the seat he won under the Family First banner, now that he has joined Australian Conservatives.

The decision to run candidates in perhaps just ten seats instead of the 42 that Family First ran in in 2014, has the Opposition Liberal Party fearing the same result will happen for them as happened for Tim Nicholls and the LNP in Queensland.  The narcissistic focus on Upper House seats and keeping mates in a job, is likely to ensure that the Left (whether Labor or Xenophon's SA Best team) continue to control the Treasury benches of South Australia.

Happy New Year!

From everyone here to everyone there... Have a great 2018!

So why are there so many political Parties?

Mostly, we suspect, because there are so many little people with big egos!  And too many people who think they have all the answers when it is plain we'd get a better result if we encouraged more people to participate in our democracy and to contribute their ideas for a better outcome.

Why not work together to build a better country?  And a better political system for all Australians?

  • For example, there is no need for a separate Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Party – most of us already agree that we must protect and re-empower our national Constitution!
  • And why do we need separate Science and Arts Parties?  Why can't we just combine ideas into one really good Education policy which promotes a vibrant, positive, non-sectarian education system that gives every Australian irrespective of age, birthplace, gender or religious stance the opportunity to learn and to prosper?

Why do we need to compete against each other?  It only gives the entrenched bigger Parties the opportunity to "divide and conquer".

Consensus

Our recent discussions confirm that most smaller right-of-centre political Parties in Australia agree on all or most of the following key statements:

  • We love Australia and consider it to be our home and our future.
  • We respect and cherish Australia's Judeo-Christian foundation and heritage.
  • We believe strong families are essential to a strong society with democratic values.
  • We must have one set of laws for all Australians, wherever we were born or come from.
  • Our politicians need to abide by the same laws as the rest of us, and be loyal only to Australia.
  • No nation can continue to spend more than it earns, so we must get on top of our national debt.
  • Our present taxation system needs a total overhaul to make it fairer and more efficient.
  • We must stop the sell-off of our country.
  • We must end the gravy train of political life.
  • We must create jobs and futures for our children.
  • We must protect our environment, without stalling the economy.
  • Our national Constitution must be restored and strengthened, to protect our way of life, our freedoms, our national identity and our future independence and prosperity as a nation.

We cannot keep fighting each other at election time.  We must exchange preferences and start building a new force in Australian politics.

Bennelong By-election 2017 (NSW)

Bennelong.  Again, the pollsters had no idea.  Considering all the reasons it might have turned out differently, it was a comfortable hold for the Liberals.

There were two losers.  Firstly, Labor.  Again they brought in an outsider as a "star candidate" and failed.  It simply does not work.  Besides, how could a foreign-born former Premier linked to possibly the worst period of corruption in New South Wales history even get onto the starting boards?  Yet the Labor Party showed the people of Bennelong they thought they knew better.

The other loser, of course, was Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives.  As Mark Latham has commented, "I thought the Australian Conservatives vote of 4.3% was disappointing for them, in their first electoral contest.  It is well short of what's needed to win a Senate spot in NSW.  It barely exceeded the Christian Democrats vote of 3.1%.  These two parties fish from the same pond in NSW and should consider merging to become a more effective force."

He continues, "The Trump success in the USA was based not just on his 'outsider' appeal.  He also campaigned hard on distinctive policies that made people take a stand, either for him or against him.  Cory Bernardi, while a capable political organiser, is yet to achieve any policy cut-through with the electorate.  He needs to do more than simply look conservative.  He needs to stand for high-profile policies that 'outsider' voters can relate to.  Bennelong showed his new party is well short of meeting this goal."  [https://www.facebook.com/MarkLathamsOutsiders/]

Of course, Bernardi is not an 'outsider".  He is a disgruntled 'insider'.  He is a Liberal to the core and continues to identify with Liberal policies and causes.  In our humble opinion, he will never be the 'outsider' Mark (and thousands of other sensible Australians) is/are looking for.

The Australian people are tired of being treated as fools.  They want a local candidate who can truly represent the people of the electorate in the Parliament.  They do not want factional candidates brought in from outside, nor do they want candidates chosen by an interstate Party leader who really does not understand the needs or aspirations of the local electorate.

Labor's Proposed New Queensland Ministry

FROM:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-11/queensland-election-labor-announces-cabinet/9246010

Queensland's new cabinet line-up:

  • Annastacia Palaszczuk - Premier and Minister for Trade
  • Jackie Trad - Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
  • Cameron Dick - Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning and Minister for Manufacturing
  • Kate Jones - Minister for Innovation, Minister for Tourism Industry Development, and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
  • Yvette D'Ath - Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Leader of the House
  • Steven Miles - Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
  • Grace Grace - Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
  • Mark Bailey - Minister for Transport and Main Roads
  • Anthony Lynham - Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
  • Mick de Brenni - Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
  • Shannon Fentiman - Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
  • Leeanne Enoch - Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
  • Mark Ryan - Minister for Police and Minister Corrective Services
  • Coralee O'Rourke - Minister for Communities and Minister for Disability Services and Seniors
  • Mark Furner - Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
  • Stirling Hinchliffe - Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
  • Di Farmer - Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
  • Craig Crawford - Minister for Fire and Emergency Services

Assistant Ministers

  • Jennifer Howard - Assistant Minister for Veterans Affairs and Assistant Minister of State
  • Glenn Butcher - Assistant Minister for Treasury
  • Julieanne Gilbert - Assistant Minister for State Development
  • Brittany Lauga - Assistant Minister for Education
  • Meaghan Scanlon - Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development

"Celebrity Parties"

Over the last few years many new political Parties have been registered with Australia's various Electoral Commissions, either State or national.  It is largely an expression of dissatisfaction with the four major Parties which have essentially grouped into two dominant "coalitions", the Liberal/Nationals and the Labor/Greens.

Many of these newer Parties are (or have been) what we call "celebrity Parties", that is, Parties started by disaffected politicians or wanna-be politicians.

Generally styled after their "leader", names like Katter, Hanson, Palmer, Lambie, Lazarus, Xenophon come to mind.  Interestingly, most of these Parties remain controlled by him or her.  Officially, it is their way of "protecting the Party", but in reality it is more about maximising control so they can get themselves elected or re-elected.

The exception (name-wise, at least) has been Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives, essentially a breakaway Liberal Party that has now effectively swallowed up several "Religious Right" Parties including Family First, Australian Christians and the ultra-conservative Democratic Labour Party.  Distinctly pro-Big Business, Cory has been happily stripping the Liberal Party of members for almost a year now, building his war-chest with thousands of memberships all over Australia, even in States where he clearly has no intention of running candidates for several years.

"Celebrity Parties" are remarkably similar to each other in management style.

  • They are all run from the top down.
  • They are all run from a centralised office which exerts control over individual State "branches" of the Party.
  • They expect "loyalty" and "patience" from their members, promising great democracy in the future, with little in return.
  • All decisions are ultimately vested in the Party leader.
  • All policies are written or approved directly by the leader or by a hand-picked executive.  (Many policies are actually made "on the run" by the leader without any reference back to the membership at all.)
  • The Party leader retains power of veto over almost every aspect of the Party, including finances, policies and candidate selection.
  • Anyone who questions the "leadership" is expelled or suspended, often without any right of reply.

Parties like Hanson's, Palmer's and Bernardi's have no Branches, or other democratic structure.

Irrespective of what the leader may say, there is little or no real opportunity for rank-and-file members, or even candidates, to have any say in the organisation or direction of the Party.  As we saw with One Nation in the recent West Australian and Queensland elections, local members have virtually no say in State or national campaigns (other than funding and running their own local campaign) and little or no input into how rival candidates are preferenced on local How to Vote cards.

Palmer's United Party, now gone altogether, was anything but "united".  The leadership stranglehold on the Party ultimately destroyed it completely.  Others have yet to learn the lesson.  Clinging to power or demanding subservience from members does not inspire others to leadership.  It stifles enthusiasm, ensures cronyism and nepotism (even corruption), and breeds discontent that eventually tears the Party apart.

Personalities aside, Australia needs more than a protest Party or colourful personalities in politics.  We need solutions!  We need a genuine alternative that will work for all Australians.  Something fresh, democratic and positive.

Crazy Decisions

It is clear Labor will be forming the next government in Queensland.  The conservative vote has been very effectively scattered across the paddock by the crazy decision of Pauline Hanson and her lieutenant James Ashby to put the more conservative Liberal National Party candidates last in dozens of seats across Queensland.

Once again, Pauline has shown an incredible lack of judgement in allowing this to happen.  Yes, the buck stops with the leader.  As in the Western Australian State election a few months ago, she has effectively ensured a Labor victory by failing to understand the value (and importance) of properly considered preferencing.  We know that individual One Nation candidates were dumb-founded by being left out of the decision-making process once again.

Pauline's decisions have again handed power to a Party that is in many ways the arch-enemy of One Nation.  It seems Pauline never learns.  As for Ashby, his motives remain questionable.  He certainly has done very little to build the Party since taking over as Pauline's principal advisor. 

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