Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Being prepared doesn’t make me any less disappointed and outraged by this. I cannot believe that Kevin said this with a straight face:

“Climate change is an inconvenient truth and a truth that we can no longer conveniently ignore,” Mr Rudd said at the National Press Club.

“No responsible leadership anywhere in the world can ignore the elephant in the room, an elephant of this proportion.”

His Government’s policy is not responsible, and he is not demonstrating any form of leadership whatsoever.

I’m tied up and can’t write more at the moment, so a quick round-up of other reactions:


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Steve Fielding:

The Federal Government’s luxury car tax bill has been defeated in the Senate after Family First Senator Steve Fielding and the Opposition combined to vote against it.

“The Government could do something if they wanted to to get this measure through,” he said.

“There’s no way that Family First can vote for a bill that’s going to put up a tax for farmers and tourism, that’s just crazy.

“They’re already doing it so tough at the moment.”

Treasurer Wayne Swan told Radio National that Senator Fielding’s requested amendments would have been a “compliance nightmare.”

Correctamundo, Mr Swan.

It’s an interesting start to the Senate’s activities – the Greens negotiated and achieved what seems a reasonable outcome, while it’s one of the two Jokers in the deck who stymied the Bill. Meanwhile, the Opposition appears to remain committed to taking its role literally – meaning that it’s the Greens, Mr FF and Mr X who Labor will be talking to.

If there are ongoing issues with the legislation relating to fiscal policy, the extent to which the different parties have negotiated in good faith might become quite relevant to the double dissolution prospects. But this is only the very first instance in what looks set to be an interesting series of events.

ELSEWHERE: John Quiggin and Andrew Bartlett have both written about the double dissolution prospects. Over at Public Polity, Sam has pointed to Kevin Rennie’s analysis of the relatively small cost that Fielding’s argument was based on.

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This is a bit too optimistic for me:

Legislation to end discrimination for same-sex couples under Commonwealth law has been introduced in Federal Parliament.

It needs the word ‘some’, or perhaps ‘most’. But this is the line the Government has run with, and they are certainly well ahead of their predecessors in promoting equality. And they are arguably providing substantive equality while not providing a more symbolic form (marriage recognition) – a nice counter to the “all spin, no substance” argument against Rudd and co.

But the fact remains that genuine equality, not to mention a more common-sense approach to distinguishing relationships where partners share property and entitlements from those where their interests remain separate, is still out of reach. Kerry O’Brien did a good job of arguing this point – in the manner that conservatives seem to think he reserves for those who are not of teh Left – a few months ago.

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I’ll put my hand up

Ken Lovell asks:

Is it permissible to speak harshly of the Rudd Government yet?



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Shorter Shanahan:

Because the Rudd Government doesn’t plan to completely change every detail of immigration policy, they are exactly the same as the Howard and Keating Governments.

Yes, Dennis, detention centres will still exist. Some people will even be held in them. I will agree that the Rudd Government appears prepared to continue the semantic games about what is and isn’t part of Australia. You assert that “the Labor Government intends to continue to decide who comes into Australia and how,” invoking the language of your idol, John Winston Howard. But there are some core principles in the new policy that seem to overshadow any similarities to the glory days of mandatory detention:

  • People should be held in detention if there are legitimate grounds to believe that they pose a risk.
  • Absent a reasonable grounds to suspect a risk is posed, people should not be held in detention.
  • Children should not be held in detention.
  • The Government’s decisions about risk and detention should be subject to an appropriate level of judicial review.
  • People should be detained for as short a time as possible, whether the eventual result is the granting of asylum or deportation.

Seems a pretty clear distinction to me.

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Labor has had to bear the responsibility of introducing mandatory detention. I am very pleased that it can also claim the credit for doing away with it.

ELSEWHERE: Senator Evans’s speech sets out the plan for reforming detention policy. There is commentary from both Andrew Bartlett and Tim Dunlop. As Tim notes, the Opposition has responded by playing its greatest hits.

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I has it.

UPDATE: On the flipside is this tactic from the Opposition, which manages to both (i) stall the Government’s plan to eliminate a clear form of discrimination and (ii) implicitly suggest that homosexual partnerships are on a par with siblings and other carers rather than married or de facto heterosexual couples. There should not be delay for delay’s sake, but there should be scope for debate and careful consideration where it is appropriate. Of course, instead of a nuanced examination of the merits of each Bill, this week’s media coverage is more likely to be “Government: The Opposition wants to stop us from governing!!!” and “Opposition: The Government is circumventing Parliament!!!” in a recursive loop.

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