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EYE-BALL’s Herman on – Democracy Part VII – Happy Federal Parliament Birthday …

August 23, 2011
Herman O'Hermitage
Title:
Democracy Part VII – Happy Federal Parliament Birthday –
By: Herman O’Hermitage

Herman O'Hermitage
Sunday August 21st 2011, was the anniversary of the last Federal Election.   It is time to consider what has transpired in that time.This time last year we knew several things, the two parties could not achieve an absolute mandate and that the Greens appeared to control the upper house and also had won the Seat of Melbourne, and Andrew Wilkie who had run as a Green in 2007 appeared to have won as an Independent in Denison, and there were 3 other independents who were former Nationals in Lyne, New England and Kennedy all appearing to have won seats. We hardly knew their names.

As the week wore on many were frightened by the havoc and uncertainty while others saw this as a good solution to a Liberal Party who were not ready for office, and a government who did not deserve another term.

On the 17th day after the election; Windsor and Oakeschott called a news conference to declare their intention, and it was time to get on with inspired and progressive government with a minority government. We had watched the Machiavellian conferences to sort out deals, and after Julia Gillard’s ascension to the role of PM some 2 months earlier, simply what we really craved was some transparency. It is interesting to note when Oakeschott wanted to dwell extensively on why he chose ALP we simply said “Get on with It”. Recall Parliament. So the election writ was returned by the statutory deadline, and……

In that year there are many stories that can be attributed to the minority government or majority with the cross benches. The Prime Minister cobbled together that coalition and needed to appease the various constituents. The Broadband was a government policy before the election and today that is Tony Windsor’s mantra, the Greens forced the PM to adopt a Carbon Tax, then there is Wilkie’s controversial poker machine legislation. What Rob Oakeschott stands for is anyone’s guess (there was the time when he wanted to be
speaker) and Bob Katter from the opposition benches wants to launch a new political party (amongst other things, like save the banana industry from imports when we are getting second rate fruit at $9 a kilo).

You can only wonder if Tony Abbott had the time over again if he might have entertained more serious horse trading with the cross benches, or

he remains happy thinking that he will win such an absolute majority at the next election, but not control of the Upper House.

In Government he possibly could have forced a double dissolution.

Today one year on, to take an objective analysis, I want to focus on some recent news to assess the government.

Yesterday Bluescope announced the redundancy of 1000 workers due to the effect of the high Australia Dollar and their structural losses (competitive disadvantage), and Amcor announced a record profit up 39% and a share buy back.

I expect that Bluescope’s dilemma is widely understood (but is; since the year 2000 a tonne of coking coal has gone from $24 to $250, and a tonne of iron ore has gone from $20 to $200, and paying steel workers in AUD, and trying to compete on international sales, they are a casualty of what is politely termed a structural realignment. Others call it exporting jobs).

Amcor’s story is somewhat different. They produce (typically) PET bottles in Canada for sale to Coca Cola priced in USD and repatriate normal profit to Australia at a better conversion factor (AUD). They have options to move manufacturing operations to lower wage cost economies (Mexico or Brazil), but are so well placed that they don’t need shareholder funds to re structure, they will also buy back Australian shares. If you like you can replace Coca Cola USA with Europe, and lower cost wage centres like those Euro economies who are struggling).

Australia has several companies like Amcor, (see Boral and some other technologically based manufacturers and producers) who want to invest overseas, but as a rule Australia is a capital importer rather than capital exporter.

When you revert to the Bluescope story, they have claimed that they are at a comparative disadvantage in Australia – as well. If China finances a coal seam gas development in Australia for export, (or coal mining development) then conditional is a Chinese engineering company building the infrastructure who use Chinese suppliers and so on, to the point where Bluescope can’t even get a crack at that business. Their domestic market.

On a totally different front, yesterday there were several protests going on, particularly truckies blockading Canberra and the High Court hearing into the Offshore Processing proposals. Alan Jones accused police of blocking trucks at the ACT border to circumvent the Carbon Tax protest rally, while police claim they were actually escorting them into the National Capital, and that news report culminated with Mr Jones calling a reporter a grub for asking was he paid to do this? Better than daytime TV anytime.

Regarding the High Court protest I was taken back by one poster claiming that “people smuggling saves lives.” I will need to re appraise the concept of trafficking. Leaky and dangerous boats, overcrowded, desperate as they may be, saves lives. Saves the lives of Somalians in Kenya?

The opinion polls are many things. They do not address the economic need of the people to be heard. They don’t force early elections. They can be used by Government to time early elections, to their own self serving needs. They are too arbitrary and perceived as being manipulated or misconstrued.

As we dwell on our minority government it is hard to not think on Craig Emerson Minister for Trade, and Federal ALP member for Rankin defending Craig Thomson Federal ALP Member for Dobell, against Leigh Sales on the ABC’
s Lateline last night. Mr Emerson was rude, and ungentle manly, and while Craig Thomson appears to want to resign, the party will not entertain a by election at any cost.

The upper house majority has now moved to the point where it is virtually impossible to force a double dissolution, save a major issue between Federal ALP and the Greens. No election is due until August 2013, all things being equal (ceteris paribus). The scenario on Upper House would mean that Upper and Lower House elections would be out of sync if conducted before June 2013 (except in the case of a double dissolution).

What really disturbs me is the mindless attitude that Australians don’t like early elections. What Australian’s don’t like is politicians acting out of self interest ie holding elections only to better position their electoral machinations.

Too often we watch the buffoonery of parliament and simply wonder why we are paying these clowns. You can focus on the PM or Deputy PM or Opposition or even the cross benches wearing Bob Katter hats as a practical joke.

We can demand much better of these clowns. I for one am not happy with this experiment of minority government. That said, it needs more than just a make over.

________________________________

Herman …

Links to Previous Post by this Author …

23rd Aug 2011 – Happy Federal Parliament Birthday Herman O'Hermitage
18th Aug 2011 – Connectedness Herman O'Hermitage
9th Aug 2011 – Democrazy – The High Court of Australia and the Police riots in Britain. Herman O'Hermitage
28th July 2011 – Materialism Part II – The matter of a possible USA debt default… Herman O'Hermitage
24th July 2011 – The Predator … Herman O'Hermitage
21st July 2011 – Democrazy… Part V – The art of using smokescreens. Herman O'Hermitage
20th July 2011 – Democrazy… Part IV – The Dirty Digger at the parliamentary inquest. Herman O'Hermitage
13th July 2011 – Democrazy… Part III – The Italian Sovereign Debt Crisis, the IMF and your superannuation. Herman O'Hermitage
12th July 2011 – Democrazy… Part II – The News of the World Scandal. Herman O'Hermitage
10th July 2011 – Death and Taxes Part III – the Carbon Tax Detail – Why is the devil always in the detail. Herman O'Hermitage
4th July 2011 – DEATH and TAXES – Part II – Efficiency in Government . Herman O'Hermitage
30th Jun 2011 – Death and Taxes – who pays the PENNY man. Herman O'Hermitage
28th Jun 2011 – Democrazy… Herman O'Hermitage
26th Jun 2011 – Canberra Comment… Herman O'Hermitage
24th Jun 2011 – Materialism… Herman O'Hermitage
20th Jun 2011 – The Greek Sovereign Debt Default … Herman O'Hermitage
18th May 2011 – The Solar Electricity Debate… Herman O'Hermitage
6th May 2011 – The Assassination of BIN LADEN – the urban myth begins… Herman O'Hermitage
4th May 2011 – “Un-Australian.com.au” – on what being Australian means… Herman O'Hermitage
18th Apr 2011 – Asset Inflation – Herman O’Hermitage takes it to task … Herman O'Hermitage
9th Apr 2011 – POWER – in the Political sense – or Fuelling Industry? Herman O'Hermitage

 

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