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Monday 08 November 2010

Proclamations of the Red Queen

8th September 2010

Australia: Bob Katter’s Deathly Embrace and the Australian Liberals

Posted by: Craig Young

After a fortnight, Australia’s hung federal House of Representatives has finally resulted in a satisfactory conclusion of negotiations between ALP Prime Minister Julia Gillard and two Independent NSW MHRs, Tony Windsor and Bob Oakeshott.

There seems to be pessimism about the long-term survival prospects of the Gillard administration in the current electoral context. It’s difficult to see why that should be the case. In scrutinising Windsor and Oakeshott, I noted that both Independents are relatively sane when it comes to the reality of climate change and the need to introduce an Emission Tradings Scheme to reduce carbon consumption levels as compensation. 

However, it cannot be denied that both the ALP and Coalition need considerable internal reform if either are to emerge as a viable electoral prospect at the next Australian federal election. The ALP now needs to do something about its woefully dysfunctional factional system. It needs to stop pandering to the likes of populist and opportunist voters when it comes to issues like refugee and asylum policy and junk the federal same-sex marriage ban. The latter is losing the ALP progressive Australian support to the Greens.

As for the Coalition, it needs to dispense with Tony Abbott and do so quickly. While ALP factionalism, and Queensland and NSW backlash against unpopular and incumbency fatigued ALP State Governments were Gillard’s pitfalls, the Coalition is delusional if it thinks that those factors mean Abbott is a viable long-term Leader of the Opposition, let alone Prime Minister. He fell down badly when it came to adequately costed post-election policies and proved himself a scientific and technological illiterate when it came to Broadband rollout and climate change. 

And I wouldn’t be too proud of the fact that right-wing extremist Queensland MHR Bob Katter is now back onboard. This bloke used to be a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly and served as a Cabinet Minister in the corrupt and authoritarian Bjelke-Petersen administration of the sixties, seventies and eighties. While he opposes privatisation and a market economy, he’s a backward bumpkin homophobe and racist. He voted against the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act 1994, which decriminalised male homosexuality in Tasmania and more recently, the Same-Sex Relationships Act 2008, which provided some degree of substantive relationship equality to Australians. He has also made neanderthal racist remarks about Chinese and Asian-Australians and aboriginal communities. Like Abbott, he is a climate change denialist.  To me, Katter’s embrace epitomises the current rancid nature of Australian social conservatism.

To stop this rot, the Liberals need to follow the lead of the British Conservative Party and thoroughly repudiate their extremist past under the Howard administration. However, that will only happen once they remove the Howard relic that currently governs it.

As for the Australian Senate, things are more salubrious there, due to its far more proportional Single Transferable Vote electoral system. The Australian Greens increased their senatorial numbers to nine and now hold the balance of power there. As for  fundamentalist and social conservative Senate microparties, there are mixed reports from Victoria.

Fundamentalist Victorian Family First Party Senator Steve Fielding hasn’t been re-elected, but instead,  one Bob Madigan (Democratic Labor Party) has. The DLP is a conservative Catholic state and federal parliamentary party that used to consist of hardline anticommunists during the Cold War, but which now consists of equally hardline sectarian conservative Catholics, who want to ram their church dogma about abortion, stem cell research, assisted suicide, same sex marriage and parenting down the throats of those of us who don’t share them.


Bob Katter:

Family First:


Tags: Politics

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katter braces for ‘big challenges’ ahead | Uncategorized | Information about Car Trading! // Sep 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    […] Australia: Bob Katter’s Deathly Embrace and the Australian Liberals […]

  • 2 bruce // Oct 3, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    a couple of comments re the Australian political situation.
    Oakeshott and Windosr sided with ALP, probably against the wishes of the majority of voters in their own electorates, for one reason - their own survival. They let it slip later, they feel the ALP have the greater chance (due to Green Senate support) of remaining in power the longest.
    It is not in the interests of the 4 Independents, or the sole Green lower house member for this parliament to end too too soon. If such an event many voters would say the ‘hung’, more progressive style of government, that already existed in (state parliament) Tasmania had failed. If the parliament runs anything over 2/3’s of the full term, these members will probably be then be able to lay blame for any failings at the feet of the major parties.
    However already both Oakeshott and Windsor have let Ms Gillard know they have the power to undo her govenrment. A minor vote was lost by the government, when one ALP member was late getting into the house to vote, and both Independents sided with the Opposition, resulting in a one vote passing of a ammendment moved the the Coalition.

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