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Posts Tagged ‘Greens’

The stimulus package has been blocked in the Senate on a 35-35 vote. Commentary from the economists – Peter Martin and Joshua Gans.

Things I would note:

  • Malcolm and the Coalition completely rejected the package and refused to negotiate.
  • Mr F threw an impassioned wobbly and gave vague indications of what he wanted from the negotiations – and then voted for the package.
  • Xenophon insisted on bringing Murray-Darling action into the package – which both Martin and Gans seem to suggest would not be very relevant or helpful in terms of economic stimulus – and blocked the bill when he didn’t get it.
  • The Greens produced a list of amendments they wanted, negotiated to get some of them from the Government while missing out on others (including the Murray-Darling), and then voted to pass it.

Remember that when people are talking about who in our Parliament are the radicals, the unpredictable, and the obstructionists. And remember it when thinking about who can make an effective source of review in the Senate.

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Unchanged

Nice work, Tim Norton:

Greens rallies in the capital cities tomorrow.

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Hey, look – there’s a political party that is asking the Government to answer questions that would justify its policy. Presumably, this party might base its decision about whether to support or oppose the legislation based on the satisfaction they get from the answers.

By the way, did you know Kevin Rudd is a bit odd?

UPDATE: Via Jeremy, here is video of Senator Ludlam’s questions and Senator Conroy’s non-responses:

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Bonus

Turns out the Libs didn’t get themselves back up to seven seats in the ACT election – the Greens have picked up a fourth seat at their expense.

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Labor got the hiding they expected and deserved in the NSW by-elections. They may have only lost one seat, but the swing against them speaks volumes. Rees is going to need to eliminate the stench by 2011 or, barring yet another Liberal Party implosion, the Carr-Iemma-Rees dynasty will be over.

The Nats – and, since the Libs chose to stay out of the fight, the coalition – missed out on getting Port Macquarie. That should clear the way for a Liberal candidate to run in 2011.

The ACT seemed to flow the predictions. The attempt to build the swing against Labor into a favourable narrative for the Liberals seems a bit of a stretch – the swing went to the Greens and minor parties. When you boil it down to the total number of seats, Labor lost 2, the Libs regained the seat they had lost when Richard Mulcahy left the party, and the Greens gained 2. So, it might reflect badly on Labor, but this was not a two-party contest.

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Tim Dunlop notes the official resignation of Iemma from politics, and expresses a hope for the Opposition to stop tripping over its own feet:

The people of NSW just have to hope that the Opposition can get themselves together over the next few years—and there are some positive signs—and offer a viable alternative to this tired, ruined Labor Government.  Talk about the need for a new broom….

It’s a reasonable enough hope – the Labor Right has fallen to bits and it isn’t clear that the factional wars within the party are behind them. But especially after the recent council elections, the Greens should be looking at New South Wales in 2011 as a golden opportunity to take a genuine chunk of the lower house vote. While the ALP were punished in the local government voting, their vote did not all go across to the Liberal Party. The Greens did very well, and if they can aim to capture the disillusioned Labor voters who do not want to move further to the right, as well as capitalising on the traditional Greens values, then they should be able to make a good run at becoming a genuine third power on Macquarie Street.

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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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