Australia

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Three and a

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 11:33am in

Tags 

Australia

Three and a half years into this project now. Thought it’d be done by the time the Pandemic loomed on the horizon a year later, but no. Almost every day you see something new or different or shit you’ve never noticed before, even while the underpinning on something else slips away. In a state of constant flux. Anyone who’s ever called the Inner West of Sydney home will have a different idea about what it is, but all will agree there’s no other place like it in the Emerald City. All of the 2,500+ original photo’s on this micro blog were snapped within these boundaries. It’s getting to be like some goddamned “city without end”. Map: Vanishing Sydney/Google Maps 2022. Inner West, Sydney, Australia.

Aussie 14-year-old leads a trailblazing online news service

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/06/2022 - 7:31pm in

The 6 News team aims high with informed, independent, impartial journalism

Originally published on Global Voices

Leo Puglisi interviews opposition leader Anthony Albanese during 2022 election campaign

Leo Puglisi interviews opposition leader Anthony Albanese during 2022 election campaign – Screenshot from 6 News YouTube video

Leonardo Puglisi is a force of nature. The 14-year-old leads a young team of reporters from around Australia and overseas for 6 News, an upstart news program. It presents itself as an online alternative to the mainstream media while offering similar services such as up-to-date news, long-form interviews, a flagship political program, SpinCheck, investigative reports, and fact-checking.

6 News started in 2019 as “HMV,” covering local news in the Melbourne district of Hawthorn on YouTube. It has since broadened its scope to focus on international and national news.

In addition to YouTube and its website, 6 News uses a number of platforms, including TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, to spread and promote its content.

Their Patreon account has 242 paying patrons, while their YouTube service has nearly one million views and 14 thousand subscribers so far. They recently posted a conversation with Prime Minister Anthony Norman Albanese, which has garnered over 20,000 views. His personal Twitter account has nearly 35,000 followers, and 6 News can boast 20,000.

Chief Reporter Connor Alforque’s video “Voluntary Assisted Dying: Is it ethical?” is typical of their special reports:

6 News features a collection of mainstream media television and radio interviews, plus news articles. For example, the Age newspaper reported a scoop two years ago:

A 12-year-old schoolboy has been dubbed possibly Melbourne’s youngest journalist after his “scoop” about the demolition of a 19th-century school bell tower. Year seven student Leonardo Puglisi was on the scene at 6pm on Wednesday to report the removal of the much-loved, 135-year-old school symbol at Hawthorn West Primary School, in the city's inner east.

As part of his January 2020 coverage of the Australian bushfires, Leo reported from the nation’s capital, Canberra. It includes another reporter, family member Sebastian.

An interview with a 16-year-old Trump supporter is another original and powerful video.

Leo and 6 News obviously have many admirers, including professional adult journalists:

However, he attracts more than his fair share of online criticism. Some are clearly misinformed, with some detractors not realizing he is well below voting age. His age is a continuing meme on social media:

Some critics seem plain nasty. The Katherine Deves Fan Club has taken aim several times:

This Twitter account is named after an unsuccessful Liberal Party candidate in the May 2022 Australian election, Katherine Deves. She was strongly supported by the then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison and was highly controversial for comments she made which many described as transphobic. She has since left Twitter after posting a post-election tweet about transgender people.

As this encounter shows, Leo is not afraid to join the fray on social media. This exchange with a Victorian State parliamentarian is a typical example:

Leo has interviewed many of the big names in Australian politics, including then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader and now Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Ukraine’s President Volodimir Zelensky is currently at the top of his wishlist. With Leo’s energetic approach, it should not be too long before we see them in conversation.

Global Voices spoke to Leo about his experiences so far and hopes for the future on June 23, 2022:

Leo and his team join the ranks of other young Australian trailblazers such as Abbie at Her Magazine and Jack, Darcy, and Wesley at COVIDBaseAu.

It is Critical that the Housing Bubble is Safely Deflated

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 25/06/2022 - 4:42pm in

[Published in Pearls & Irritations today 25 June. My pre-election attempt (the previous post) didn’t make it.]

Stratospheric housing prices are perhaps the most critical domestic issue in Australia. Not only are a collapse of the housing bubble and a recession now threatening, but homelessness and rent stress, unaddressed and exploited, can quickly fester into ugly politics. The elephant in the room is the excessive money created by under-regulated commercial banks.

Housing prices are a prime driver of severe inequality and a serious threat to the stability of the Australian economy. Rises in interest rates threaten to collapse the very high levels of household mortgage debt and bring on a serious recession. The dream of home ownership is disappearing for many. 

Homelessness and rental stress are rapidly increasing problems. Around 5 in 1000 Australians are now homeless and rental stress affects around a million households. Australia, let us remind ourselves, is still a very prosperous country, per capita. The problem is severe inequality.

The un-affordability of housing has undone most of the gains of the postwar decades. Why should home ownership be more out of reach now than it was in 1960? The cost of building a house can’t be much greater, relative to average income. It is the cost of the land that has inflated. There is a speculative bubble in land prices.

The reason for the housing bubble is commonly attributed to tax breaks on capital gains and negative gearing. It is true these encourage more existing money to be channelled into investment properties, but they are not the biggest factor.

The biggest driver is unrestricted bank credit, which pumps new money into the economy. Private banks can keep granting bigger and bigger mortgage loans as market prices climb. An inflationary spiral has been operating for decades: higher market prices induce bigger loans, then bigger loans push prices up further.

The difference between now and 1960 is that bank loans were directly regulated back then. If the economy was ‘overheating’ there would be a credit squeeze. The rate at which banks could issue loans was restricted. This market intervention was overseen by that wicked old socialist Bob Menzies.

The present practice of using only interest rates to influence bank lending is indirect, only marginally effective and prone to triggering a collapse into recession, as Paul Keating found out in 1990.

Debt levels are now so high that limiting bank loans might also trigger a recession. Our economic managers, led astray by the deregulation ideology, have steered the economy into a precariously unstable state. It is hard to see how to fix the problem without triggering a crash.

Economist Steve Keen has proposed an escape route that would bring prices down while preserving the equity of present home owners. There are two parts. First, a reversion to regulating bank credit, Menzies-style. Second, a monetary reset to deflate the debt bubble.

Part One: regulate bank lending. This could be done by squeezing credit until prices stabilise. Alternatively or as well, Keen proposes that mortgage loans be capped at a multiple of what the property could be rented for, though rents are now also increasing.

Part Two: a monetary reset. The essence of Keen’s proposal is to convert around half of housing equity into bond equity, so house prices could drop by half but present owners would not lose the equity they have. At the same time mortgage holders can pay down their debt to something more manageable.

The government, through the Reserve Bank, creates fiat money to pay into the bank accounts of every adult resident. Anyone who has a mortgage loan must use the money to pay down their debt, so their debt might come down by half or more. Anyone who already owns their home must use the money to buy government bonds; the equity in government bonds will replace the equity their house loses as prices come down (because of Part One). Those who have fiat money left over from paying down their mortgage will use the balance of the money in the same way as home owners, which they now are, i.e. to buy bonds. Renters and others who do not own a house must also buy government bonds: they end up with an asset they did not have before. This would (partly) compensate them for having been effectively shut out of the housing market.

These are delicate operations that would need to be carefully thought through. Keen has done the first pass. Requiring all the fiat money to be used to buy government bonds ensures that none of the extra money ends up circulating in the economy, so inflation will not be triggered. The payment of loans and the conversion of fiat money to bonds could be done automatically by the banks, so most people would not have to do anything. You would be able to sell your bonds if you wanted, but that would require a buyer who already has money, so again no new money would be added to the economy. The private banks would return more to facilitating useful investment, as they used to, instead of facilitating property speculation.

The end result of this scheme is that present home owners would have some of their home equity converted into government bonds and they would be no worse off. Holders of large mortgages would have their debt reduced by half or more. Renters and others would have an asset they did not have before.

Would the latter be a handout? Yes. Is that a problem? Well, big businesses get handouts all the time in the name of managing the economy (tax cuts and billion-dollar gas pipelines anyone?), the wealthy have been benefitting from a highly skewed economy and the poor have been screwed.

Remember, the Rudd Government put money in the accounts of pensioners as part of its successful counter to the GFC in 2008, so Granny and Gramps could go on a shopping spree to help to save the economy. The Morrison Government put rather more money into private accounts to tide (some of) us through (some of) the pandemic disruption.

This scheme seems to be an ingenious way out of the trap we’ve been steered into by ideologically misguided economic management. It certainly needs to be carefully examined and debated, but that debate needs to involve people who properly understand the money system, as well-explained by Stephanie Kelton in The Deficit Myth and by Keen in Debunking Economics and The New Economics: A Manifesto.

The post It is Critical that the Housing Bubble is Safely Deflated first appeared on BetterNature Books.

Labor falls short on cost of living and climate action—step up the fight for change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/06/2022 - 9:37pm in

Tags 

Australia, Labor

Anthony Albanese has spent his first month as Prime Minister emphasising change. He posed for photos with the Nadesalingam family after the new government allowed them to go home to Biloela. He officially submitted new climate targets under the global agreement with the UN. And he celebrated the minimum wage decision that saw a 5.2 per cent increase for the lowest paid workers.

But Labor is still offering far too little change. The Nadeslingam family have not received permanent visas—despite the fact the new Immigration Minister could grant them with the stroke of a pen.

The minimum wage decision comes just as cost-of-living pressures are escalating. Yet Labor has made it clear there will be no further relief from the government. Treasurer Jim Chalmers has said Labor will deliver its election promises but nothing more.

Official estimates are that inflation will hit 7 per cent by December. Gas and power prices are set to surge as profit-hungry power bosses rort the energy market. The Reserve Bank has already hiked interest rates a further 0.5 per cent since the election and Governor Philip Lowe says there are more to come, increasing average home loan payments by up to $1000 a month by the end of next year.

Instead, the new government has begun emphasising the “dire” state of the budget, with Chalmers saying, “There’s not a bottomless pit of Commonwealth cash to solve everything.”

Despite the cost-of-living crisis the poverty-level JobSeeker payments are not being increased and Labor’s boost to childcare funding won’t kick in until July next year.

The money to pay for it is there, but Labor has ruled out even modest efforts to tax the rich, refusing to introduce a windfall tax on the bumper profits gas exporters are raking in from surging gas prices—something even the British Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done.

Under the hopeless Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, 27 gas companies earned $77 billion in revenue between them last year without paying any tax at all.

Strike for a pay rise

Most workers are still seeing their wages go backwards. Those on award wages will get just 4.6 per cent this year—a wage cut after inflation. Public sector workers, including nurses, teachers and transport workers, hailed as heroes of the pandemic, are facing insultingly low wage offers.

The Labor government in Victoria is giving public sector workers just 1.5 per cent. WA’s Labor government is paying 2.75 per cent.

Public sector workers in NSW are fighting the state Liberal government over its wage cap. Premier Dominic Perrottet set the cap at just 3 per cent in his June budget. Public servants in the PSA are the latest to stage a 24-hour strike, after nurses’ and teachers’ strikes earlier this year.

NSW unions are now talking about the possibility of public sector wide strike action. Nurses are set to strike for up to 24 hours on 28 June and state and Catholic school teachers will strike together on 30 June to break Perrottet’s pay cap. This is the kind of action that’s needed. No worker should be getting a pay rise that’s below inflation.

ACTU president Sally McManus admits that enterprise bargaining has failed and has locked in wage cuts. What’s needed is a cross-union industrial campaign to fight for cost of living increases for all.

Climate action

Labor’s efforts on climate also need to go much further. It plans to legislate a target of 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 that is lower than the Business Council’s recommendation, the teal independents’ 60 per cent, and the Climate Council’s figure of 75 per cent backed by The Greens.

Instead of working to reduce the use of gas, Labor is backing a dangerous gas expansion that puts fossil fuel profits ahead of climate action.

Resources Minister Madeleine King declared Labor’s “absolute” support for the huge, climate-wrecking Scarborough gas project off WA as well as Santos’ Pilliga project at Narrabri.

The Financial Review has revealed that Labor met mining company bosses before the election to quietly reassure them it “understood” their “importance to the Australian economy”. But the fossil fuel bosses can’t be trusted. The profit-hungry bosses have plunged the power industry into crisis. Labor should nationalise the grid.

The climate movement should not go quiet for Labor. It is going to take a fight to force Labor to end the Liberals’ gas expansion policy.

The election was a clear vote for climate action. More radical action is needed to demand that Labor funds public renewables and to win a just transition for workers in the fossil fuel industry.

The election result showed a hunger for change. But struggle outside of parliament will be needed to win that change. Over the cost of living, wages, climate action or refugees, we will need more strikes and protests. Join us to help build that fight.

The post Labor falls short on cost of living and climate action—step up the fight for change appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Australian Free Trade Deal Hampers UK on Environmental and Food Standards, says Parliamentary Report

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/06/2022 - 9:03am in

The UK’s first post-Brexit free trade agreement with Australia from scratch was rushed and inadequate, reports David Hencke

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The UK’s first free trade agreement negotiated from scratch with Australia was so rushed that environmental issues and protection for niche British products were overlooked, a report by peers says today.

The House of Lords International Agreements Committee says the agreement is important as it both paves the way for other agreements in future and for our entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major Government objective. The deal is estimated to add only a 0.08% increase in GDP by 2035 and rising quotas will phase in tariff-free imports.

The deal will also mean Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will have to liberalise immigration rules for Australians to come to the UK as part of a mutual arrangement which will allow British people and their families to work in Australia and allow young people up to the age of 35 to go there for three years. The former will be particularly beneficial for lawyers, who will be able to practice law in the UK and Australia, as their professional qualifications will be mutually recognised.

Other beneficiaries will be financial and digital services, architects and car exporters.

The report is highly critical of the speed of the negotiations which led to environmental issues like climate change being ignored. It will allow the import of Australian beef from deforested land, has no section on Australia reducing dependence on coal, and allow the import of crops where pesticides which are banned in the EU and UK have been used. 

The deal is also bad news for products like Cornish pasties, Cornish clotted cream and Scotch whisky as there is no protection in Australian law, unlike when the UK was a member of the EU,  against rival products using their names.

The report says there are "some instances where differences in production and animal welfare standards could lead to UK farmers competing on an unlevel playing field, particularly for Australian agri-food products grown using pesticides not permitted in the UK. “

On pesticides and fungicides, the report points out that “Australian canola oil and chickpeas are produced using insecticides or fungicides banned in the UK" and "are likely to be imported in larger volumes due to tariff reductions.”

The UK’s right to regulate could also be constrained through decisions taken by the Joint Committee between the UK and Australia set up under the agreement.

The report is most critical of the failure to tie the agreement to the UK’s goals for climate change. The peers say: “it could have pressed for more ambitious commitments on climate change, stronger enforcement provisions, and for an explicit reference to the Paris temperature goals. A lack of tie-up of trade policy with the UK’s climate objectives is apparent. The recent change in government in Australia presents an opportunity to improve the environmental and climate change provisions in the agreement, and we urge the Government to do so through the Joint Committee.”

The report says: "There is a risk that this agreement could set a precedent for the negotiations with countries closer to the UK market, particularly with other large agricultural producers, such as the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. The impacts of the UK-Australia agreement may therefore go well beyond this particular FTA.”

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They are also critical that the government did not consult the devolved governments over the deal. “Given the importance of agriculture to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, it is essential they are consulted from the outset and throughout the negotiations, and Parliament should be made aware of their views,” it says.

In Northern Ireland which is part of the UK and the EU single market, the report says it is not clear whether Australian tariff-free goods will be able to enter Northern Ireland under the protocol.

The report continues: “The Government has yet to articulate how the goods provisions in the Australia agreement will interact with the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. In response to the Introductory report by the Lords’ Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee, the Government acknowledged that “there are elements of the Protocol that are not benefiting Northern Ireland importers and consumers, particularly around the way in which the application of EU tariffs on goods ‘at risk’ of entering the EU is determined.”

Peers recommend the report be debated in the Lords.

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Greens Demand Australia Be Renamed As The “Us” In Australia Is Offensive To The Chronically Single

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/06/2022 - 7:00am in

Greens Leader Adam Bandt has called upon the Prime Minister to rename the country as the use of “us” in Australia could be offensive to the chronically single.

”For too long, this country’s single people have been left behind,” said Brandt. ”I can’t even imagine the pain and suffering they have had to endure every time they have the “us” in Australia foisted upon them.”

”Why hasn’t Anthony Albanese acted upon this vital issue yet?”

When asked if he seriously believed that this was the most pressing issue facing the country at the moment, the Member for Melbourne said: ”It was a huge conversation topic last week at my book club gathering.”

”Poor Tarquin was inconsolable after someone dared use the ‘A word’.”

”Australians need to learn to respect and adhere to my inner-city electorate’s demands.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I overheard a garbage collector address a person on the street by a female pronoun. I have to stop them and poimt out how wrong and destructive they are being by assuming someone’s gender.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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Hoisted with Our Own Petard (Updated).

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/06/2022 - 3:52am in

(source)
There’s little need for words: Western economic sanctions on Russky gas and oil. Fuel prices go up. Price of everything follows (“Putin’s price hike”). Fed lifts interest rates. RBA follows.

Next … recession?

(source)

We needn’t be in this situation. If Biden and co had not miscalculated, this wouldn’t have happened. Even if they had insisted in their obsession to get rid of “Pew-teen”, decisive climate change action would have rendered oil and gas irrelevant or at least made them a minor issue.

Man, “Pew-teen” is really a comic book evil genius. You must be one, to manipulate all those clever people into imbecility.

(source)

Update (16/06/2022, 04:17 AEST):

(source)
The Federal Open Market Committee just announced (02:00 PM NY time) an increase of 75 bps in the federal funds rate. The resulting target range is 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 percent.

The decision was widely expected. Many believe this will lead to a recession. This may be the start of a bumpy ride, so fasten your seat belts. I suspect somehow “Pew-teen” controls the FOMC.

Patterns of Meaning

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/06/2022 - 11:37pm in

Inside Gerald Murnane’s infinitely expanding mind.

Bits and Pieces: The Missing Average and Suppressed Memories.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/06/2022 - 3:36am in

As I struggle with some newly discovered health problems, my attention tends to drift to different things. These are two.

The Missing Average and the two Australias.

This is a recent temperature anomaly map produced by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, reproduced today by the ABC, with Kate Doyle’s customarily excellent comments:


One part of Australia (the largest one) exceeds it, the other falls short of it, but pretty much nowhere average temperatures for this time of the year are found. The thick black line shows the border between the two (the exception is the corridor along both sides of the borderline).

An still lingering La Niña, associated now with the Indian Ocean Dipole (a similar phenomenon on the Indian Ocean) is warming up the north. A static high just south of Western Australia is pushing cold air towards the north-east, cooling down the south.

Around the east-southeast state and territory capitals, this means lower than usual temperatures. But Oz can be a pretty hot place, so this ain’t as bad as it may sound:

Melbourne’s coldest day is expected to be today, reaching just 11ºC. Canberra is only expected to get up to 8 today and Hobart 9ºC. Sydney’s coldest day is forecast for Wednesday at 15ºC and Brisbane is only expected to get up to 17ºC … yes, that is cold for Queensland.

At higher altitudes or lower latitudes, however, this may bring unseasonal snowfall. Surfing in Tassie could be a less than pleasant experience:


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 Evidence that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation is at risk is mounting.

Now, a new study points to the potential consequences of that on world climate. If Matthew England, Andréa S. Taschetto, and Bryam Orihuela-Pinto (UNSW) are right, La Niña could become a much more frequent feature of Australian climate. We should all worry, but inhabitants of all the Americas and Western Europe should be particularly concerned: the “Atlantic meridional overturning circulation” the authors write about is part of the better-known Gulf Stream. It may be close to shut down.

As this may hit hard countries currently members of NATO, I wouldn’t be surprised US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Council president Charles Michel blamed “Pew-teen” for that.
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 Suppressed Memories: NATO before NATO.

(source)
That’s what Isabella Higgins (one of the ABC’s Europe correspondents) announced in sombre tone a few days ago.

Finnish dark, traumatic collective memories of the Winter War, when Finland had to fight alone the invading Soviet Union, Higgins says, are pushing the traditionally neutral nation to join NATO.

And I suppose I don’t need to tell you that today we would call that conflict, fought in 1939-40, a war of aggression.

Higgins might be right on the memories thing, but I’m not convinced.
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 I’ll explain why I find that troublesome.

Observe this picture carefully. Pay attention to those planes’ appearance and particularly to the markings on fuselages and wings. Observe the cockpit, its windshield, the antenna-like object behind the cockpit and in the left wing, the shape of its front wheels.

[A]
World War II buffs, I’m sure, will have little difficulty recognising in that picture one of the workhorses of Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe: two Messerschmitt Bf 109 (readers less familiar may try this Wikipedia entry, containing plenty photos and drawings).

But here comes the surprising bit: you see those swastikas? They indicate that those two planes were not piloted by Hermann Goering’s underlings. Those were not Luftwaffe planes.

You see, while often including their own version of the swastika, Third Reich military planes and vehicles always used a stylised version of the Iron Cross as their main national marking: a symbol quite like a bold face, black “+” arithmetical operator, with white borders, which you can see in the Wikipedia entry mentioned above, or here.

Those planes – alongside tanks, artillery, vehicles, infantry weapons and ammo, instructors and trainers – were provided liberally by Nazi Germany. They belonged to the Finnish Air Force and were deployed by Finnish pilots against the USSR in 1941 when Nazi Germany, with the support of its Italian, Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, and Finnish allies (plus volunteers from neutral Spain and Sweden and virtually every single Nazi-occupied country, including the Baltic republics) launched its own war of aggression.

In a way, that was NATO, before NATO.

That, Isabella, is a collective memory suppressed today in Finland (then as now, I haste to add, not a Fascist dictatorship, but a liberal democracy): once they fought alone against the USSR, as you wrote, but soon enough they found a powerful but today most distasteful ally, as you neglected to mention. That memory did fade as the memory that an Einsatzkommando Finnland operated in a liberal democracy also faded. You know what Einsatzgruppen were, don’t you Isabella?.

Incidentally, that also explains why I think mass hysteria, fueled by our own media (including, sadly, the ABC) is a much better explanation than traumatic “collective memories”. After all, if Finnish bad memories are considered justified, why Russian bad memories are dismissed out of hand?

Image Credits:
[A] “Finnish Air Force: Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 fighter at Helsinki Malmi airport in June 1943.”. Author: unknown. Source: WikiMedia. File in the public domain.

Anthony Albanese: Conflict Fatigue? Collaboration? Consensus?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 31/05/2022 - 12:49pm in

(source info up to 20:00 Monday 30th)

Ten days since the federal elections, the precise composition of the 47th Parliament is not yet certain: too close to call, two seats remain in doubt.

However, the Australian Labor Party did form a majority government after securing 76 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives. Last week its federal Leader, Anthony Albanese, was sworn as Prime Minister.

The COALition suffered a devastating defeat: 17 seats lost, as far as I can tell, all of them Liberal Party of Australia so-called “moderates”: Josh Fraudenberg, Jason Falinsky and Tim Wilson, more prominently. The combined Liberal/National lower house fraction shrank to 57.

The Australian Greens gained three new seats. Six teal independents (all of them more ambitious than Labor on climate change) plus a former Liberal non-teal allegedly independent joined the three already seating independents.

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But it’s in the 76-seat Senate (39 for majority) where the results are more interesting:

(source)
Labor will need all 12 Greens votes plus at least another crossbencher to pass legislation. That seems achievable: David Pocock (ACT) is a logical option (except for being a male, he is a teal independent). Jacquie Lambie is another possibility.

To block passage of new legislation the Libs/Nats would need 8 additional senators. But it’s possible that surviving Liberal “moderates” cross the floor against attempts to block climate change-related legislation.

Evidently, to see the end of the COALition regime and advances in the Greens is a development I and most workers welcome. It also gives some hope to the climate kids and other climate change activists.

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Albanese has stated his preference for a less confrontational style of politics. He has criticised Scotty from Marketing’s obsession with wedge politics. Australians have “conflict fatigue”, he says. Consistent with that, he reportedly rang the independents to establish a cordial tone with them from the start.

Me? I’m all for cordiality and consensus and cooperation, in abstract. When it comes to the concrete, however, I have misgivings. First, because I think Albanese might be underestimating, to put it mildly, the fighting spirit of many across the aisle.

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Take wages and industrial relations, for example. Albanese wants a summit between unions and employers. The idea is for them to get together to talk. Chances are an unlikely settlement between unions and employers will leave workers dissatisfied: real wage cuts. But the Hawkeish federal Government could promptly spin this as a win: you know, “politics is the art of compromise”, inflation, the sensible middle and all that. A much more likely breakdown in the talks could easily be blamed on a hawkish ACTU.

Either way, unions and workers lose. Frankly, I never was a fan of Bob Hawke. As a young man, Albanese himself wasn’t one either. Albo changed his mind. I didn’t. We’ll see who’s right.

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Climate change also worries me, for it remains to be seen whether Albanese will stick to his own commitment to consensus when it comes to climate change.

(source)
If Albanese approached the Greens, as he did with the independents, either I missed it or the media kept it secret. That doesn’t speak well for consensus-making. In fact, so far top Labor pollies, including Albanese himself, have spoken of the Labor climate change plan as a “take it or leave it” thing, with no wiggle room for more ambition.

This would disappoint both Australians and Pacific Islanders and would result in conflict. Let’s hope Albanese himself is fatigued and he’s only bluffing. Kevin Rudd wasn’t. Labor can play hard ball, the thing is that they only play it with those to their Left.

Albanese should adopt a collaborative, European approach to governing – not the take-it-or-leave-it Anglo style we’re used to Adam Simpson, University of South Australia

The Australian Labor Party is edging towards 76 seats and possible majority government after the electorate abandoned the Coalition at the federal election.

But regardless of whether it can reach a majority or not, Labor needs to learn the right lessons from the Morrison government – as well as from its last two terms in power between 2007 and 2013.

These experiences could point to adopting either a more take-it-or-leave-it antagonistic approach to politics, prevalent in the Anglosphere countries of the US, UK and Australia, or a more European, collaborative style.

Politics is the art of compromise – nobody gets exactly what they want. But adopting a European approach to parliamentary negotiations could usher in an enduring golden era of stable and progressive government, with more generous and compassionate national politics.

The take-it-or-leave-it Anglo approach

The first term of Labor’s previous government between 2007 and 2010 was dominated by Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership and his attempts to pass his climate change legislation.

The Greens considered the package too generous to polluters and ineffective in addressing climate change, so they blocked it in the Senate where they held the balance of power.

Despite Labor’s rhetoric that the Greens are therefore largely to blame for Australia’s subsequent history of climate inaction, the reality is far more complicated.

Bob Brown, then leader of the Greens, wrote to Rudd after the first vote on the legislation in late 2009 seeking talks but received no reply. The Greens then put a compromise plan to Labor after the second vote, but it was again rebuffed.

Despite these overtures, in April 2010 Rudd announced his government had abandoned the legislation, which was the beginning of the end for his tenure as prime minister.

In retrospect, perhaps the Greens should have just passed the bill. But the government’s take-it-or-leave-it approach was extremely unhelpful in progressing the legislation. This approach is somewhat typical of the aggressive style of parliamentary politics in Anglosphere countries.

Most Anglosphere parliaments, including Australia’s House of Representatives, have single-member electorates, which generally results in having two combative parties that take turns in governing.

This is very different to the more cooperative European models of government.

The collaborative European approach

After the 2010 election, Julia Gillard’s Labor entered minority government in a power-sharing agreement with Adam Bandt of the Greens and two independents in the lower house.

This approach was more reminiscent of European politics, where most parliaments have multi-member electorates. In these electoral systems (also employed in Australia’s Senate) small parties have a greater chance of entering parliament and the large parties rarely achieve a majority.

It’s therefore common for European parties to enter post-election negotiations to form ad hoc coalitions or power-sharing arrangements.

This happened in Germany in 1998, when the left-leaning Social Democrat Party formed a national governing coalition with the German Greens, with the latter supplying the foreign minister.

A similar arrangement resulted from German national elections last year, with the addition of the liberal Free Democrats to create a three-party coalition. The Greens again supplied the foreign minister, as well as the economy minister.

In South Australia, Labor has adopted aspects of this approach by strategically offering independents in regional and traditionally conservative seats – and even a Nationals MP – ministries in its governments, even if Labor doesn’t require their votes. This collegiality has been continued by the recently elected Malinauskas government, even though it has a governing majority. This canny strategy will have contributed to Labor being in power for 20 out of the previous 24 years by the end of this term.

The Gillard government’s minority position forced it to adopt this more European-style consultative posture and it resulted in the most productive parliament in Australia’s history, measured by acts passed per day.

It legislated a price on carbon, which, if it hadn’t been repealed by the Abbott government, would have resulted in 72 million tonnes less carbon emissions according to research in 2020 by the Australia Institute.

Which style will Albanese take?

Labor must learn the right lessons from its last stint in office.

It will face a parliament unlike any previous government, with a significantly enhanced third force comprising the Greens, the “teals” and other independents.

Labor could entrench a progressive majority in parliament for the foreseeable future by rejecting the antagonistic, duopolistic Anglo approach to parliamentary politics that characterised Labor’s first term of government last time around. Instead, it should shift towards the more negotiated, collaborative Euro approach of its second term from 2010 on.

Negotiating in good faith with the crossbench will show teal electorates their MPs are making real progress in the halls of power on the issues they were elected to pursue – primarily climate change, an integrity commission and gender inequality. These electorates would therefore be more likely to vote teal again in future.

Single member electorates make it difficult for independents or small parties to win elections, but once they’re in they can be hard to dislodge, as the experience of Adam Bandt, Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie, Bob Katter, Cathy McGowan and Helen Haines demonstrates.

If the teal seats continue to elect independents, the Coalition will struggle to regain majority government again.

Whether Labor manages to achieve a governing majority in the lower house or not, it will still need support from the Greens and progressive independent David Pocock in the Senate to pass legislation.

Fortunately, Albanese seems to have the temperament that would favour a Euro approach. On election night, he promised to promote “unity and optimism, not fear and division”.

Nevertheless, both Albanese and other senior Labor members have already been out in force since the election stating they have a mandate from the electorate to deliver their election policies, including a 43% cut in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 – but no more. This is despite the ALP receiving less than 33% of the primary vote.

Most of the teal independents have policies of a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. And the Greens, who received almost 12% of the primary vote, want a 75% cut. A significant chunk of the electorate therefore voted for much stronger action on climate change.

Labor would do well to compromise with the crossbench in those areas where common ground can be found to build and consolidate an enduring progressive future for Australia.The Conversation

Adam Simpson, Senior Lecturer, International Studies, University of South Australia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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