The possibility that Barnaby Joyce could become deputy prime minister in a coalition government suddenly has Liberals - quite a few of them, anyway - frothing at the mouth.
They see the controversial senator’s defiance of front-bench solidarity over the sale of Cubbie Station to a Chinese-led consortium as part of a carefully worked out political strategy.
The aim? To help him win a Lower House seat and take over leadership of the National Party from Warren Truss.
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There is a certain weathered look to the Greens today. The deep rich hue that has characterised that lovely new t-shirt in recent months has been slightly dulled by political reality.
The decision by the Victorian Liberals to preference the Labor party ahead of the Greens in the upcoming state election is a kick in the guts to the minor party’s chances of, not only holding the balance of power in the new parliament, but getting any seats at all in the lower house.
It’s important decision not only in the context of the Victorian election but the emerging story of the Greens as a real third force in Australian politics.
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While Tony Abbott managed to resurrect the Coalition from its electoral death bed, to come so close and not seal the deal leads to questions of how the Coalition ultimately failed.
Here’s five things that they stuffed up in their bid to form Government:
Tony Windsor said this was critical in his decision to back Labor. The Coalition’s decision to spike the National Broadband Network policy in its entirety is questionable, but it was compounded by Abbott’s almost wilful ignorance of the issue during the campaign.
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Liberal MP Peter Dutton should have known better than to whinge about support from the good people of Dickson – he could’ve asked his predecessor Cheryl Kernot about that one.
On election night 1998 - when it looked like her attempt to go from Democrat leader in the Senate to a Labor MP was going to end in spectacular failure - Kernot had a famous dummy spit live on the ABC about the quality of seat she had been given by the Labor Party :
“Well, I’ll just say this—Mary Delahunty is in Parliament,” referring to the fact that the Victorian MP had been given a safe seat when entering politics earlier that year. Of course, Kernot did end up pulling ahead that night and serving one term as the member for Dickson but got rolled three years later by none other than current opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton.
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We are in a very interesting time in politics where malleable positions are starting to solidify.
The position on the Government’s Save The World policy, the indomitable ETS or CPRS, the Cunning Plan to make the economy RS, will in the near future no doubt deliver us another acronym so we will have a form of rolling acronyms to keep the truth at bay all the way to the second vote in November.
All the polls on the ETS prior to this period have been rather pointless because no one knew what on earth it was beyond a thought bubble that they hoped would pop and go away.
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The other day, I was asked on ABC television about the conviction of Gordon Nuttall, a former Queensland Labor state minister, for accepting secret payments of $360,000 from a businessman. This is one of the most serious cases of corruption ever recorded against a minister of the Crown in this country.
Nuttall is not the first former Queensland Labor minister caught out over recent years – another has been jailed for blackmail, and a third for paedophilia. I responded by saying there was a culture of favouritism and relationships with big business tainting the Queensland Government, which needed to be fixed.
Barrie Cassidy, a journalist for whom I have some regard, then came back with his “gotcha” question (and continued on after the interview). How could a Nationals’ leader complain about corruption in Queensland considering the Fitzgerald Inquiry at the time of the government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s National Party?
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This first piece should inspire the question about the political basics.
What is it that differentiates the political parties? Or is philosophy now no more than a bib handed out to be worn before the political chamber game, a contrived or acquired vocal tribalism?
A tribalism based on the coincidence of the party a person joined, rather than what they believe - as what they believe has either no genuine differentiation, or does not exist.
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