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Australian Politics Corner! Hosted by Jen.

It's ranting time, peeps! (Obvious Disclaimer: I'm not claiming to be objective (pfffft) or educational here. I'm just talking about stuff)

So, for those unaware (ie, ppl who aren't following me on tumblr or twitter or facebook and thus haven't had me being all :D :D :D and capslocky at them over the last 24hrs or so), Australia now has a new Prime Minister, who is our first female Prime Minister; Julia Gillard.

For those unaware of how this can happen, minna has a really good post about it over here.

Short version: We don't vote for our PM. We vote for representatives, and the political parties pick their leaders. For the Australians (who don't live in Rudd's electorate): If you think you voted for Kevin Rudd? READ YOUR BALLOT AGAIN.

Generally speaking; Kevin did some pretty great stuff, not least of which was running a campaign that led to ousting douchenozzle extraordinaire John Howard, but there seems to have been an increasing sense that he was heading a little too far in the One Man Show direction. Not being part of the Labor Caucus, I can't say much to details, but then again, not a lot of people can and most who can are likely to not do so for some years.

Also: There's a lot I like about Julia Gillard. She's a badass in Parliament, and frequently causes Tony "Even Bigger Douchenozzle Than Howard If You Can Believe That's Possible" Abbott to lose his shit in hilarious ways (not that he needs much help). Despite a lot of the concerns about the role of the ALP Right faction in the spill, she's been ALP Left faction for a long time, and I think the ALP Right's role was less about supporting her and more about withdrawing any remaining support from Kevin.

I've seen a lot of "Not Like This" comments about Julia's taking of the leadership, and I'm wondering if I'm missing something here, but I'm not really sure what "Not Like This" actually looks like. As far as I can tell, the options were:
1. Pre-election Leadership Spill: What happened. A bit dramatic, but relatively quick (much shorter than the Hawke-Keating spill, which is the nearest comparison) and (imo) puts them in a pretty good spot for the election because having Julia front and centre vs. Tony significantly increases the chance of him mouthing off in ridiculous and self-damaging ways.
2. Post-election (ALP victory) Leadership Spill: I can't see this being better than what we've got now. The same arguments would happen, and as much as I wish it would, I can't see the "We Didn't Vote For Her" camp not just continuing for longer.
3. Post-election (ALP victory) Kevin retires and Julia gets 'given' the leadership (cf. Beattie and Bligh in Qld): I really don't see this happening. As Briony said to me on twitter earlier; given Kevin's emotional reaction yesterday, and the fact that he's not shown any real sign of thinking this is the end of his career, I don't see him as the type to resign the Prime Ministerial position.
4. Post-election (Coalition victory) Leadership Spill: WTF NO NO NO. Seriously, the only thing I see from this is Abbott wins, we have to put up with his hatemongering bullshit for however many years (I'm too pessimistic to think that if this happens it'll only be one term), and suddenly where we are now is seen is the far fucking left again. NO.

I dunno. I'm voting option one as the better of those four, assuming (which I think is pretty reasonable) than option 3 is really unlikely.

It seems one of the issues that contributed to the current situation was the massive circus going on about the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT). Now, I'm not generally the type that goes combing through tax policy; largely because, well, I actually like paying taxes, and don't have that much beef with them aside from the fact that middle class and higher folk whine about them ever so much (You can see why I don't get on with Libertarians, right?). That said, and I'm willing to accept charges of naivete on this front, but I think the name is pretty clear. It's a tax on the Resources Sector (i.e. the mining industry) that's linked to Super Profits.
Apparently (I've not been watching much tv-on-the-actual-television lately, so I've not seen much of it), the Mining Industry has been funding some pretty ridiculous socialist scaremongering ads about the RSPT. I hear a few of the bigger names, who are noted as some of the richest people in the country, had some kind of protest a few weeks ago where they were shaking their fists and "demanding justice". Seriously? Call me callous, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for the uber-rich demanding justice in the form of more tax breaks. It's in the realm of patently fucking ridiculous.

Going back to the Government, apparently they've been copping a lot of flack over the RSPT. And perhaps this is my naivete again, but I'm seriously not understanding (though this may be an indicator of why I perhaps should not go into politics) why the response is not one of the following:
1. "Uh, folks? We're taxing really uber rich corporations. How is this bad?"
2. "WHAT PART OF 'SUPER PROFITS TAX' IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND?"
I rather prefer the latter, because it links in nicely to my "READ YOUR BALLOT" point above. :P

*deep breath* It was good to get that out of my system. And now, I'm gonna go track down and watch yesterday's Question Time and Julia's interview on last night's 7:30 Report, because I need more Julia being badass in my day. :D

I shall leave you with this picture, which I posted on Tumblr last night:

photograph of PM Julia Gillard and GG Quentin Bryce, the latter signing the former's official appointment as PM

[Image Description: Australia’s new, and first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard (left), sitting at a round table opposite Australia’s first female Governor-General Quentin Bryce (right), who is signing Ms. Gillard’s official appointment as Prime Minister]


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Comments

Rudd lost all support from both the Labor party and the electorate because he made promises, failed to keep them, and didn't explain to the electorate why they were important and why he didn't keep them.

On the carbon tax issue, the Labor government kept making noises about getting the bill through with a double dissolution, then when the liberals called their bluff they folded.

The RSPT looks like it was put together by the same people who wrote up BP's Environmental Impact Study, except the RSPT hasn't killed any turtles (yet). I get the feeling that Labor (or Rudd) thought that everyone in the mining industry would roll over, facing a wave of public opinion against them (which has worked as well as BP's oil containment has). Rudd (and Swan's) "we are teh government, we don't need to negotiate with anyone" attitude (unless the negotiating is in secret, in which case it's all cool) finally killed what support he had left.

Labor are lucky - they stood united against Rudd, when it could have gotten messy. It'll be interesting to see how Gillard performs and wether the electorate puts her back in as PM (by voting in enough Labor candidates for them to form government).
I had a longer comment, but it could probably be summed up as: I agree. I think the one point this whole thing has highlighted for me is just how many people have no idea how our political system works. Hopefully, recent events might educate them.

With the mining tax, I'm not going to pretend that I understand all the nuances (because I really, really don't) but taxing corporations for making huge profits from mining a non-renewable resource? Um, yes please. You want to mine our very valuable non-renewable resource? You can pay through the nose for it. kthxbye.

Anyway, I'm thrilled. I love Julia Gillard. I don't think Australia is going to suddenly turn into a lefty utopia, but I honestly think she's going to make a kick-ass PM.
stephendann was looking at it the other night, and from his explanation, the simple version is that the mining companies currently pay a royalty on the minerals; the RSPT seems to be aiming to replace that with a tax on the profits they make. Which makes a massive lot of sense to me, because why should the mining companies pay a royalty that is so much more static than what they actually make with it because the market price fluctuates?

But, y'know, I don't hate taxes or the ALP. Which is obviously my failing as a human being, but I'm pretty okay with that. /snark.

I'm not gonna lie, perhaps I'm being uncharitable, but the amount of bawwing about the process (and don't even get me started on the 'Gang of Four' references from a bunch of whitefolks because that whole thing is gonna make me lose my shit) feels just a little bit like people trying to find a way to rationalise the fact that they're uncomfortable about the demographic of that chair.

And before anyone jumps down my throat, no, I don't think every conversation about powerbroker influence is an attempt to justify discomfort with a woman in the spot, but the conversations on the Left are troubling me, because I didn't see this amount of discussion about powerbroker influence during the last umpty million times the Opposition changed leaders and I don't buy that it's all because Opp. Leader is different to PM.

And I'm getting to the point where I worry I sound like I think Julia is a saviour of the left when I don't, but I'm just so sick of all the bawwing and ridiculous shit people are saying. (GANG OF FOUR AND FUCKING DEATH SQUADS WHAT THE FUCK IDEK)

...sorry, that was long. /o\
default: jen

May 2011

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