Wednesday, September 04, 2013

One's depressing democratic duty.

I really feel like not voting this election and paying the fine. The result is already clear. It will be The Abbott who will be elected, an ultra conservative right winger who will cut deeply into social justice programmes, government schools and general public amenity.

He says he will a Prime Minister for infrastructure. Yes, like roads, not public transport and not fibre optic to the less wealthy in society. I fear for Medicare. I fear he will be controlled by the Murdoch press. So depressing.

The Greens, who I have voted for in the last few elections? I cannot tolerate their bleeding heart refugee policies. I have actually looked at them. They are not dissimilar to the major parties, but general kindness would cause a flood of boat arrivals. I believe in an organised system for refugees. The Karen in Burma are quite high on my list. They are not only persecuted and deserving, they 'fit' into Australian society. While it is a generalisation, Moslem refugees have not been a great fit. I do believe in most of The Greens environmental policies though, but I see their immigration and refugee policies at odds with environment.

I am naturally inclined to be a Labor voter, but the waste that we have seen under Labor over its time in government is appalling.

I might vote for the Sex Party who believe in legalising drugs, prohibition clearly hasn't worked, and taxing the trade. Then preference The Greens and then Labor. I do so with no passion though.

As I have written in comments on other's blogs, I cannot remember an election where so many people are disillusioned.

Here are some links that might help you to decide.

Last election I voted below the line in the Senate and I am sure I mucked it up. Numbering to 97 is hard. 

I just noticed the Stable Population Party running in my electorate. Perhaps I will vote for them. Here is a snip I like. This is what The Greens should be on about.

The Stable Population Party is a sustainability party with a major focus on the everything issue - population. We are concerned with environmental, economic and social wellbeing.

Australia's population is currently growing by over 1000 people per day. That adds up to over one million people every three years - the size of Adelaide! It's no wonder Australia's quality of life is being degraded.

From a population of 23 million today, under Liberal/Labor policies we are on target for 40 million by 2050 - and rising! We say let's slow down and stabilise at around 26 million by 2050. You can vote for this sensible and sustainable path via the Senate ballot paper.

Do it at your leisure beforehand and just copy, if you want to vote below the line.

Just too hard.

If you want to bring back the death penalty and jail gays and women who give birth out of wedlock, perhaps this is of interest.

The last link and the best in my opinion is from our ABC. It told me in seconds exactly what I wanted to know.


  1. I'm still not certain it is as clearcut an outcome as the media suggests - they get it wrong so often - but there seems little doubt a huge chunk of the electorate isn't especially attracted to either Rudd or Abbott and would wish both to lose. In due course, the ALP will rue dumping Gillard.

    1. Victor, it very much comes down to voting for who you dislike the least. That's an interesting prediction about Gillard.

  2. Anonymous7:59 am

    My biggest concern is that one of the L parties will get a majority in both houses. We need to senato to act as a hopuse of review rather than a rubber stamp. Think carefully about your senate vote.

    1. Agree Panther. Look what happened when Howard had control of both houses. I now have my preferences sorted and off to vote today.

  3. Anonymous12:21 pm

    Andrew, I am surprised about the view you express about the Greens' asylum seeker policies.

    Have you read Desmond Manderson's recent article on this subject? There are shorter versions in the Fairfax press or a longer version on "The Conversation":

    Whatever refugee problem Australia has, it is dwarfed by our "refugee problem problem."

    An 'orderly" system for dealing with refugees sounds good but I think it is important to remember that the "push" which starts the refugees off on their journey is a situation of disorder.

    I don't think it is fair or the right response to start thinking about choosing the refugees you want rather than dealing in an orderly way with the refugees who are on Australia's doorstep. Whatever you do, the refugees on the doorstep will still be there. It is a vain hope to think they will be deterred even if massive expense is incurred and harsh treatment imposed.

    To be orderly in a constructive way we should start engaging properly with our regional refugee problem (there is no real queue for them to jump) and stop symbolically accepting distant refugees as a way of saying to those people who knock at our shores "Sorry, I already gave at the office." (ie: I don't need to let you in because I have already satisfied my own self-determined quota of charity elsewhere.)

    The major parties' "orderliness" involves an orderly selection of refugees who would never come here under their own steam, combined with an incredibly expensive "orderly" system of deterrence which will ultimately be ineffective or to the extent that it has a (limited) effectiveness only be so at the expense not only of the money but also of great cruelty and damage to people, some of whom will still end up, in their now damaged state, here.

    Numerically, refugees are not the critical factor in Australia's population increase. Anyway, from an environmental (including social-environmental) perspective, population increases from immigration (including refugees) are a question of redistribution of population between countries. Those people will still be somewhere else and their existence will still exert environmental and (via low labour costs in those countries where they remain, given a global economy) still exert even social and economic pressure on our privileged "way of life."

    Given that you have probably voted by now I suppose this is all irrelevant though others who read this may yet have decided.

    Given that the outcome of the election in the lower house seems a foregone conclusion (as is, probably but slightly less so, the outcome in Melbourne Ports), I agree with Panther's comment and I'm glad to see that you do too.

    I also agree with Victor, despite what I find as Gillard's inexplicable (other than as a response of a professional politician shoring up her position to appeal to the right on an issue where she is personally vulnerable) and also mildly insulting statements on gay marriage and her own choice not to marry.

    1. Thank you Marcellous for your well argued comment. I have now read the article at The Conversation and it is nothing I have not read or heard before, although the association with drug prohibition was new to me. I hardly think we are comparing apples and apples there.

      Yes, our refugee 'problem' is nothing compared to many country's.

      I see it a bit like the way newspapers work. A death in your street equals two deaths in your city, equals ten deaths in a western country equals 100 deaths in a third world country. Newspapers work along that line, right or wrong. We had a direct responsibility to Indo Chinese refugees. They would not have been on boats coming here if it was for us and the US interfering in their local matters. Some are still persecuted for their beliefs and are deserving of refugee status. We should take them at a measure pace.

      Then we have our own local trouble spot islands nearby. I expect in time we will have to take people from islands affected by climate change when they become unliveable. We too as a major input per head into global warming have a responsibility to those near to us.

      There is nothing wrong with giving at the office and not giving any more, as long as you did give. Do you give until you have no money left for yourself? Do you give to refugees until your own country is ruined?

      Frankly, I don't care so much about how people get here. What I care about is the population explosion in Australia which is diminishing my lifestyle. I care about how the Australia economy is only successful because of high immigration levels who need somewhere to live, and so the housing construction industry does well, of which the benefits flow through the community but an ever expanding population is not sustainable and the effects are already showing. It goes without saying that governments and business like a rapidly expanding population.

      I also think large numbers from a single country is not a good idea. We need a better mix and not take in huge numbers from the latest fashionable hotspot. As I have written about before, my workplace is large, large enough for there to be ethnic groupings in the meal room. It other smaller but identical branches, this does not happen. All mix in together in a much more cohesive manner.

      I think Gillard made a big mistake about gay marriage, which I also care little about. I never believed her stance and she should have just come out and said, I don't think the numbers are quite there yet. We need to bide our time for a bit.

    2. Anonymous8:30 pm


      1. At least we agree on JG.
      2. It seems to me your beef is really with immigration rather than refugees per se, unless they come in huge numbers from fashionable hot spots.
      3. Are there really huge numbers from a fashionable hot-spot at your workplace? Even if they are Sri Lankans (the most likely sub-subcontinentals - otherwise my guess is that your workplace is full of Indians and Filipinos - they love the public sector and their English is good) are they actually refugees?
      4. The difference between us is that you seem to think we have a responsibility to refugees whose plight we have contributed to but not much otherwise; I think we have to deal with the people who, whether we contributed to their plight or not, are closest to us and, one way or another, knocking on our door. If we don't, our officially expressed solicitude for deaths on the sea is simply hypocrisy.
      5. I don't agree that a likely intake of refugees would lead to the ruin of Australia. We've upped (but not filled) our quota to 20K, if we took in all the boat people and then some, we might get it up to about 25K. We take in as many New Zealanders as that.

    3. 1/ Tick
      2/ Tick
      3/ Mostly christian Indians, but a remaining population of SE Asians. The SE Asians were refugees, the Indians immigrants.
      4/ Australia should have a measured refugee intake. Do I sound like The Abbott? We need a policy where it is not up to political manipulation for cheap votes.
      5/ I cannot get past the number of people in Australia now, let alone the planned increase. New Zealanders are a problem as they nearly disguise themselves as us. I won't even mention the Irish accents I hear all day, every day.

  4. Anonymous12:24 pm


    "others ...may not yet have decided")

  5. I voted early the other day, though I could care less like you.

    1. Fen, you don't work Saturday do you? You will miss the democracy sausage!

  6. oh god, it's true I've never felt so BLAH about voting in my life. None of them seem to be just right. I hate politicians. Why can't they just be human instead of self serving, wine swilling, First Class flying fucktards?

    1. That seems to be the widely felt sentiment M.

  7. I have been following this from over here and I am quite interested to see who wins.

    1. Keith, while the result seems to be a foregone conclusion, by how much is the interesting question.

  8. Anonymous12:07 am

    It's already been mentioned that Australia's population rise has little to do with refugee numbers yet, once again, refugees are to be the scapegoats who must wear the anger and frustration of the general population and the manipulation-for-political-gain of the major parties.

    Generally speaking, people do not uproot themselves and their families on a whim. Even those who can 'afford' to pay the huge amounts asked for by people smugglers are desperate people fleeing all manner of ills. At the very least they deserve our sympathy. I personally believe they deserve as much assistance as possible.

    Moral arguments aside, Australia is a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees and as such, has a legal obligation to provide refuge to those seeking it, for as long as necessary. Turning people away, sending them to other countries and incarcerating them are all illegal under international law. On top of that, the current policies cost far more than if Australia adopted the practise of quickly processing refugee applications and allowing people to become self-supporting as soon as possible.

    The number of so-called boat people arriving into Australia is nothing compared to the numbers of people arriving in other countries with land borders. The fear-mongering and intolerance being shown in the media is woeful and should be checked with balanced discussion. Australians should look at exactly how and why the population is rising and make informed decisions based on that. Not allow politicians to confuse them with fear and hidden agendas. Australia's problems were not caused or exacerbated by refugees. Continuing to stigmatise a group who have already suffered will not help anybody.

    1. Wombat, it was Howard who started the this non partisan attitude to boat arrivals and both sides have played with to political advantage since because it so easy. They can tap any issue into the boat arrivals. Road congestion, too many boat people. Rising house prices, too many boat people.

      The real problem is our unsustainable population growth.

  9. Tres interesting reading above Andrew:) I've decided not to be wishy washy and use my vote in the most powerful way to hopefully keep a certain budgie smuggler wearer from becoming our next prime minister..sometimes you just have to have faith :)

    1. Grace, I doubt we can keep him out, but it must be tried.

  10. Thank you Andrew, at last we get to talk about the elephant!

    Yep, fear mongering and desperate flying fuckturds. Nonetheless, there is a pile of passionate opinion "out there" and it should not be treated so simplistically by the FFTs.

    I doubt there are many who would disagree that you have to be pretty bloody desperate to risk your life on a leaky boat. Or to risk your life savings.
    The question is… desperate for what?

    I also doubt there are many who would disagree visa overstayers etc are as much of a problem than those who arrive on leaky boats.

    Unfortunately, the cry of boat/wolf is the only label the FFTs are willing to give to a whole range of issues. If I am concerned about the number of people with an unsavoury attitude to women – a cultural issue hiding behind a piss poor impersonation of a religious belief – the FFTs cry boat. If am concerned about the number of people with the means to catch boats relative to the number without the means, the FFTs still cry boats. If I am concerned that disproportionate amounts are being spent housing, feeding and processing asylum seekers, some FFT will cry boats.
    Let's not follow the example of the FFTs and oversimplify a whole range of separate and serious issues by pretending it is one problem and therefore needs only one solution.

    Let us assume that every person catching a leaky boat in the hope of asylum is desperate. If they are really in fear of their lives, why on earth is Australia being castigated for not providing first class accommodation? Why are some of these people rioting because they do not have enough access to Skype so they can reach out and touch someone? Rioting because the computer games are all old?
    We're told something like 98% are genuine refugees. If it's really life or death why do the Greens, the UN and others insist we are evil if all we can provide –for now - are tents? What'll it be folks – behind door 1 is a torture chamber, and behind door 2 is a tent plus all the food and water you need… And still, the FFTs cry "boats".

    Australia has a legal obligation to observe UN agreements, charters, standards and so on. Australia is also a sovereign nation. Where is the line to be drawn when it comes to UN standards? Bring the UN into Australia and let them assess the living standards, access to physical and mental health care, decent food, legal aid etc of those who are already Australian citizens and see if any Australians are being mistreated.
    This is not the politics of envy, it is simply the politics of equity and it is being ignored by the FFTs.

    While we can't help every misplaced person in the world, there is no question we must help those we reasonably can.
    Not only must we draw a line clarifying where our sovereignty ends and the UN's sovereignty begins, we must also draw a line clarifying how far our own living standards must sink before we know we have helped a reasonable number of people. No, too hard to please everybody, safer for the FFTs to just cry "boats".

    I do not for a moment blame asylum seekers for the crappy performances and attitudes of our own crappy governments, nonetheless we still need infrastructure and planning that will make increased rates of immigration – by whatever means – workable. [It would also help if we stopped participating in military actions that are displacing people.]

    1. FC, why have we never learnt about foreign wars? If it directly affects us, ok, but why do we is interfere in other countrys' affairs. That should be up to UN, and unfortunately the org was put under huge pressure for its name be used in Afghanistan.

  11. Many times I've been told my support of Oxfam is wrong. "Charity begins at home", some say.
    Why do I owe greater allegiance to an Australian who might well be an arsehole and already has access to food, education and clean water, when some people in third world countries – many of whom are probably not arseholes - have less?
    My point [yes I do have one] is that I don't see any compelling reason we must help asylum seekers/ refugees on our doorstep before helping those elsewhere? Location is irrelevant.

    If we must take in 100,000 or even a million refugees, we are still entitled to and still ought to consider the likelihood that various applicants will be happy to assimilate [a word I use unapologetically] while others believe we are scum, tell us we are scum, behave like we are scum, and have an unwarranted sense of entitlement. Colour, education, socioeconomic background – none of this matters to me. What does matter to me, and always will, is that we must take a mix of people who will not create physical or psychic ghettos. I'm not remotely interested in sacrificing the welfare of one deserving Australian in order to improve the welfare of one self-serving self-appointed asylum seeker. I would prefer to provide shelter to people who would be happy with Australia as it is, than provide shelter to those who will never stop bitching because Australia is not what they wish it would be.

    Anecdotes might not be scientific proof of anything, but I am getting so much feedback about people granted citizenship who won't let their children speak English because it is the devil's language, or who say they have the god-given right to beat their wives, that I'm ready to puke.

    The question of whether or not a queue exists is also treated simplistically. There are two parts to this problem – the availability of somewhere safe and reasonable to stay while one's application for refugee status is being processed, and a guarantee there is someone to do the processing.
    Malcolm Fraser has made the reasonable point that we could well create and contribute to some processing centres. The point that he and others seem to be missing is that the UN rules – if we absolutely must honour them – state that those seeking asylum should go to the nearest processing point.

    A book called The People Smuggler was published last year, in which the co-writer says, on behalf of Ali Al Jenabi, "If the UN had granted us this recognition when we applied in Iran, we would all be happily etc etc." In other words, he justifies organising a series of boats from Indonesia because he did not like the umpire's first decision. The bottom line is that this so called "Oskar Schindler of Asia" was "camp shopping" and being very selective about where he would feel "safe".

    At the same time we are hearing the cry "boats", we are also subjected to a lot of misguided political correctness. The whole point of political correctness is to ask us to question our own assumptions. Labor's attempt to legislate that it would be an offense to offend someone was an attempt at censorship of the worst kind.

    Having got that off my chest, I believe Panther has nailed the most immediate problem – make sure the majority in the house of reps doesn't get control of the upper house.

    1. FC, I think you have a very realistic view of the matter.

  12. I feel like leaving Australia. But where would one migrate to? Britain and Canada (my only real alternatives) have even more brutal right wing Parliaments :(

    1. Hels, better the devil you know. Even NZ is Tory.

  13. FC is awesome don't you think Andrew..more than any of the debates I've watched over the last three weeks, she has just made it so clear what we have to do on Saturday, merci beaucoup FC.

    1. Grace, I am cautious when I hear the phrase 'political correctness gone mad'. There is usually a subtext, but I do like FC's plain view of things and willingness to write freely.

    2. il n'y a pas de quoi, Grace

    3. Oh, talk dirty to me FC.

    4. OMG just looked up the French for "faggot" and I don't even want to remind myself what it is!

  14. Don't worry it will all be over soon and we will then have to live with the choices, it looks like it's all downhill no matter who we chose.

  15. Yes Merle. I don't expect things will change much, just more the same.

  16. I think I'm going to just pay the fine.
    I don't know.

    1. River, pay them nothing. Go and get your name crossed off and buy yourself a democracy sausage in white bread with onions and tomato sauce.

  17. There was apparently no sausage to be had at my local polling booth anyway. I could have always got one from the big green shed when I popped in.

  18. Speaking of which Fen, I think the big green shed sausages aren't as good as they used to be.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.