God bothering fewer Australians

Christian church leaders, elders, and others have been in damage control since the census figures came out last week showing Christianity falling to 44 per cent and no religion rising to 39 per cent.

They sounded like a whole lot of executives and apologists for the tobacco industry hiding the truth with propaganda, fuzzing the facts to deny that lung cancer was the inevitable consequence of the product. Except this time, it was child abuse and abuse of authority, not lung cancer.

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Labor’s Senate danger

Labor and the nation would have been better off with a hung Parliament and minority government. That way, Labor would have been saved from itself.

Last week’s unilateral decision to cut the advisory staff of independents and minor parties from four to one, is an example of a decision a minority government would not have made. 

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PM’s trouble with corporations behaving badly

Big corporations can so often be relied upon to put their short-term profits over everything else from public good right down to even their long-term survival.

We saw that in spades over the past fortnight with greedy power companies sitting at the roulette or poker table of Australia’s electricity grid, bluffing, raising bids, holding, or speculating on whether another oligopolitical supplier will hold out for the big one or cash in and take the profits now.

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The point of a Labor Govt

Paul Keating famously said in 1996, “When you change your Government, you change the country.” John Howard’s Coalition Government sure did that. The question now is whether Labor’s Anthony Albanese can change it again, reversing the worst of the Howard changes which have now have had two decades of making the place worse not better.

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Risk of going too early with Voice

The Albanese Government faces some big risks in proposing a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in its first term. The first risk is that it fails to pass. The second is that even if it passes nothing much changes on the ground for Indigenous people.

For the thing to be a success, a lot of people’s attitudes have to change.

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Libs in feedback loop to the right

Saturday’s election result was not an aberration. It was part of a trend of a declining vote for the two major parties that began in 2010 and is not likely to stop. Indeed, the result was fairly predictable.

Labor may scrape over the majority line this time with 50 per cent of the seats from 30 per cent of the vote, but the days of big, workable majorities for either party are gone and cooperation with the Independents and minors for more centrist policies will be the new political norm. 

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Party’s over for the major parties

The two-party party is over.

This election will end the Labor-Coalition contest. The first preference vote of both major parties is in the mid 30s. The combination of the rest is also in the 30s.

It means that the minor parties and independents will get a significant number of seats in the House of Representatives.

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Case for strategic voting

In the past week a few people have asked me about the progressive voter’s dilemma – a dilemma perhaps more pronounced than any time since the 1930s

That dilemma is whether to put Labor first and Independent second, or put Independent first and Labor second.

It depends on what sort of seat you are in. If it is a Labor-held seat, it will not matter. But in a Liberal-held seat where there is a reasonably strong progressive Independent, the difference can be critical.

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The weakness of projecting ‘strong’

Never in the field of Australian political conflict has so much been said about so little by so few. Apologies to Churchill, but that about sums up the election campaign so far.

Sunday night’s leaders’ “debate” has been described as a meaningless bunfight. Nonetheless, it clarified and illustrated a couple of important things.

The scraping over minor points and crumbs of policy show how fear of scare campaigns over the past 30 years has reduced Australian politics to visionless auctions and voter bribery.

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