jennifergearing: photo of jen looking at the camera (Default)
jennifergearing ([personal profile] jennifergearing) wrote2010-06-25 08:05 pm

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, [ profile] 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?"
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]
renne: (Default)

via network

[personal profile] renne 2010-06-25 12:48 pm (UTC)(link)
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.

THIS. Seriously, all the people bitching & carrying on... I mean, yeah, it would have been aces if she was voted in by the people first, but how do people THINK party leadership changes?

It's like the Liberals all booing & hissing at the ALP when they did exactly the same thing to Malcolm Turnbull a year ago. It's one thing for them to bleat that the ALP did it because of "the polls, the polls!" but all of THEM are forgetting that it was Turnbull's popularity taking a hit in the polls that made the Liberals turn on HIM. So in other words, they're all a bunch of hypocrites who should STFU.

Iam sorry, I can't even remember what my point was.
renne: (Default)

Re: via network

[personal profile] renne 2010-06-25 02:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yeah, I mean, I know it's not how our parliamentary system works, but at the same time it be can't denied that the leader of the party is the face of the party and the majority of people who don't know how our system works? They cast their vote based on the face of the party, not on what their local member can do for them in their electorate (see: how my father votes).

So when I say "voted by the people" I mean "the people choosing to go with a party who has gone into an election lead by a woman and not, say, a party some right wing, chauvinistic fruitbat bigot who tries to claim his religious beliefs don't influence his politics, and oh, did he mention that all women should get back in the kitchen (that means you, Julia Gillard)".

The thing that saddens me is that there are people who will genuinely vote for a fruitbat over a woman, purely because she's a woman. That sucks.
weaver: (dw: amy & river both laugh at you)

[personal profile] weaver 2010-06-25 05:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I saw an amazing macro somwehre that I keep wishing I could find again, but nothing. Some crazy person holding a sign saying "NO TAXES" or "TAXES ARE THEFT" or something similar, with the macro text being simply arrows pointing to everything else in the picture and labels like "sidewalk" "electric power line" "asphalt" ...

adalger: Earthrise as seen from the moon, captured on camera by the crew of Apollo 16 (Default)

[personal profile] adalger 2010-06-26 01:53 am (UTC)(link)
1. "Uh, folks? We're taxing really uber rich corporations. How is this bad?"

Keeping in mind I'm looking from an American perspective, I can still shed a little light on this.

As of 2008, just over 40% of adult Australians had stock ownership interests, either directly or indirectly (e.g., through a retirement plan). Corporations are owned entirely by their shareholders, meaning that "uber rich corporations" is a bit of a non-sequitur, as all that profit really is owned by the investors. In other words, "taxing really uber rich corporations" is just another way of saying "taking away people's retirement income."

On the other hand, 40% of Australian stocks are owned by foreigners. While it might seem to make sense to feel perfectly okay about taking the money back from them and keeping it in Australia, that has to be balanced against the positive impact of foreign investment on an economy.

In short, it's not so clear-cut as all that. The corporation is a legal device that allows a lot of people to pool together a lot of resources under the direction of a few leaders and use them profitably. When the corporation is profitable, it is those individual investors who profit.

One of the more fundamental truths in economics is that all taxes are paid by individuals. If you tax more profitable corporations more heavily, those taxes will be paid by either the corporation's owners (individual investors) or the corporation's customers, which could get murky, but will ultimately settle the taxes on some combination of owners of stock and/or buyers of retail goods.

These concepts aren't widely taught (in American schools, at least), and aren't exactly obvious or self-evident, so I would never fault anyone for not instinctively understanding them. There's even a lot of room for debate about what these things mean, and what the right answer is politically, so this answer really isn't "how this is bad," but "how this could reasonably be construed as bad by a reasonable person in good faith."

Wow, that got long. Economics is one of those subjects that fascinates me, so I tend to grow verbose when it comes up. Ima shu'up nao.
ardhra: Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes, close up of face (playful)

[personal profile] ardhra 2010-06-26 02:04 am (UTC)(link)
I am actually LOL-ing that you can make those comments as if they're self-evident, uncontested, or even as if the evidence for them is incontrovertible. None of which is the case.

"Economics", indeed.
adalger: Earthrise as seen from the moon, captured on camera by the crew of Apollo 16 (Default)

[personal profile] adalger 2010-06-26 02:35 am (UTC)(link)
Umm ... I did explicitly state they're *not* self-evident. I'm not sure which parts you question the evidence for or believe are contested, but that could well be a symptom of my American (read: haphazard) education. Can you point them out so I can do the research?

I know I come across as pedantic too much. It's a failing of mine, and I'm sorry for any offense. Friends?
ardhra: Frida Kahlo (Frida)

[personal profile] ardhra 2010-06-26 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
I have more of a problem with how much of the Right she's courted in the whole thing. I'm actually hoping there's a quick election so she won't have to feel beholden to the pro-mining, anti-immigrant powerbrokers in Canberra and feels like she has a popular mandate to do genuinely useful things.