Cowardly: Qld ALP To Wait For One Nation To “Implode”

IN A DESCENT into the depths of gutlessness, Queensland Labor is to delay a state election widely thought to have been just weeks away in the hope Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party implodes; the decision — weighed against Hanson’s declaration that Labor is her “enemy” — defies the fact Labor won in Western Australia on Saturday in a canter, and flies in the face of the abjectly pathetic campaign performance turned in by Ms Hanson herself.

My grandfather used to have a saying: it was better to keep quiet and let people think you were an idiot than to speak up and prove that you were, and this idiom is one that certainly applies to Pauline Hanson and the eponymous One Nation outfit that may not yet have collapsed but which, based on the frightful performance turned in by Hanson herself on the stump in Western Australia, is looking decidedly shaky at best.

I am going to keep my comments brief this afternoon — there may well be a federal Newspoll out later tonight, and if there is, I will repost again with analysis of that — but an interesting snapshot of the mentality of ALP types in the wake of Saturday’s thumping win in Western Australia has emerged, and it speaks volumes of the misreading of the political climate that is being engaged in with the distractions of red herrings like One Nation and its preference deal with the WA Liberals being given more oxygen by the media than they deserve or warrant.

I have been reading an article posted in the Fairfax press this afternoon by James Massola, whose observations on political behaviour are usually pretty good; the core thrust of his piece is that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is set to defer the looming state election that many suspected was a matter of weeks away — or even a chance to be called tomorrow — on the basis that Labor would prefer to give Hanson and One Nation time to “implode” before they head off to the polls.

“The thinking process is, we give them enough time to do our job for us (sic),” Massola’s article quotes an ALP source as saying. “We let them go and let them implode and let the public see them for what they are. Waiting until early next year does that.”

Never mind the fact the ALP — despite a high-profile One Nation presence — has just scored its biggest state election win in Western Australian political history.

Never mind the fact that Hanson — upon whom naive journalists have lavished the unjustified praise in recent weeks that she has “matured” — saw fit (among other things) to posture as an anti-vaccination campaigner, to urge GST monies to be diverted from Queensland to WA (despite the obvious need to front Queensland voters at some point within the next 12 months) and to make the stunning confession on the stump that she “is from the east” and that whilst she consequently might not always “get it right” in Western Australia, her defence to accusations she didn’t understand the West at all essentially boiled down to no more than an empty assertion that her heart was in the right place.

And never mind the fact that the WA Liberals, in making the quantum leap gaffe of a preference deal that not only placed One Nation ahead of Labor and the Greens (as it should have) but above their National Party governing partners as well, have guaranteed themselves ridicule and condemnation on a national scale that will follow the LNP into the Queensland election, and probably still plague the Liberals in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia next year too, even if common sense prevents a repeat of what can only be described as a fuck-up.

Hanson — early in this latest incarnation of her on-again, off-again One Nation juggernaut, which she launched claiming to be “fed up” — made the declaration that the ALP was “her enemy,” presumably on account of the fact it was a Labor state government that jailed her in Queensland on convictions for electoral fraud that were eventually quashed.

Yet traditionally, it has been the Liberal Party and its satellites that have repeatedly been the worst affected by One Nation and the effects of its preference strategies: Coalition state governments killed off in Queensland in 1998 and Western Australia in 2001; a Country Liberal administration destroyed in the NT in 2001; and Coalition oppositions all but obliterated in Queensland in 2001 and New South Wales in 1999 stand testament to One Nation’s disproportionate drawing power of votes from the Coalition’s base and/or preference strategies explicitly calibrated to wreak as much damage as possible upon the Liberals, the Nationals, and in today’s parlance in Queensland, the LNP.

To say that Queensland Labor is using One Nation as its pretext for delaying a state election in view of all this is bizarre: a judgement less based in spin than reality suggests that despite the smashing victory enjoyed by its western brethren, Queensland Labor is simply terrified.

The simple truth is that by moving to abolish optional preferential voting and restore the compulsion to allocate preferences that was dispensed with in Queensland 25 years ago — and to do so before this latest burst of One Nation activity had really cranked up to full throttle — Queensland Labor thought it would steal a march on the LNP by harvesting Communist Greens preferences, and gaining an unfair advantage over the LNP led by Tim Nicholls in so doing.

Instead, this brazen electoral rort has backfired: just as there is a stream of preferences Labor might harvest from the Greens, so too now are there preferences en masse for the LNP to target from One Nation that it can, and should, target (so long as it is less hamfisted in its approach than the WA Liberals were).

The fact is that by forcing One Nation voters to allocate preferences — especially when it is remembered that such votes are disproportionately drawn off the Liberal pile anyway — the probability Queensland Labor can reap the ill-gotten fruits of its electoral rorting and win a majority becomes significantly lessened; far from waiting for One Nation to “implode,” the likelier explanation is that Labor knows Queenslanders really aren’t impressed, after two lacklustre and do-nothing years: “not being Campbell Newman” might have been a strategy of sorts for winning an election against Campbell Newman himself, but it is not a template for government, and Queenslanders have well and truly woken up to it.

The strategy of Palaszczuk and the Queensland ALP is nothing more than old-fashioned gutlessness.

Hanson conducted herself appallingly in the WA campaign; her party scored less than half the votes it was expected to attract; WA Labor won its biggest ever state election victory despite her presence; and when the Liberal Party isn’t confronting the political mortality of Malcolm Turnbull this week, it has the headache of the WA Division’s stupid and destructive deal with One Nation to unpick, unpack, and discard.

Why is Palaszczuk delaying a state election in Queensland?

Readers can play “connect the dots” for themselves, but among the plausible or proffered reasons, the likelihood of the Palaszczuk government being re-elected is not one of them.

 

Just Mad: Pauline Hanson’s Garbled, Incoherent “Plan” For Australia

FOR someone who’s had years to get her story straight — if, that is, she was ever serious about solving problems she whips up fear and discord around — the agenda Pauline Hanson has unveiled to fix Australia’s alleged ills is a garbled mishmash of contradictory, populist thought bubbles that would do untold damage to this country. It underlines the fact that on matters of consequence, One Nation is just mad, bad, and downright dangerous.

Today’s article deals with a subject — Pauline Hanson — that is a perennial headache, an enigma, and a national embarrassment sprinkled with tiny kernels of justification; that said, the position of this column is (and always will be) that Hanson and her One Nation party, which attracts extremists, nutcases and ordinary folk who are fed up with mainstream politics in equal measure, must be neutralised and defeated at all costs.

Regular readers know that one of the central criticisms I have levelled at Hanson (who I know personally) is that she has always been adept at identifying “problems” — Aborigines, Asians, Muslims, single mothers, dole bludgers — but when it comes to offering “solutions,” Hanson has traditionally had nothing meaningful to say.

Until now.

I have read the rather generous profile piece being run in the state-based Murdoch mastheads today (and one in The Australian, too), in which Hanson outlines a manifesto (for want of a more suitable term) to “fix” Australia that — to be completely blunt — is a recipe for laying waste to it rather than rendering any remotely beneficial change.

Perhaps we should have been content to let her rail on about “problems,” and forget about seeking the “solutions” that might have spared her the criticism of being just another empty-handed troublemaker, content to foment paranoia and discord, whilst selling little more than snake oil and baseless prejudice.

Either way, the onus is now on the major parties — and the Liberal Party in particular — to systematically dismantle Hanson’s program and to show, unequivocally, that far from saving Australia it would, in fact, virtually destroy it.

Before we get started, I should remind readers that this column did in fact call for the Queensland LNP to strike a preference deal with One Nation for the looming state election (see here and here); whilst I stand by that call, it should be in no way construed or misrepresented as an endorsement.

Whether you like it or not, a disproportionate number of Coalition votes are fuelling the rise of One Nation, in the same way a disproportionate number of Labor votes fuelled the growth of the Communist Party Greens; whilst One Nation is a very different creature to the Liberal Party, the two are closer than One Nation is to the ALP, in the way Labor and the Greens are similarly closer than the Greens to the Liberals. It is high time the Coalition focused on discrediting the relationship between Labor and the Greens, ensuring as many One Nation votes as possible return to it on preferences, instead of self-immolating over the issue and becoming paralysed by inertia as a consequence.

But let’s be fair: Pauline Hanson has apparently done as this column has demanded, for the first time in almost 20 years of milking votes and electoral funding from a brazen dog whistle to every redneck idiot in the country, and put some policies on the table.

Let’s see how they stack up.

The 2% EzyTax proposal she apparently pins her economic credibility on is a stinker that has been doing the rounds of those looking for something jingoistic and idiot-simple to flaunt as “tax reform” for decades; I’ve seen it surface, for example, at the fringes of the Liberal Party repeatedly during 27 years as a member.

This silly notion — that literally every transaction of money should attract a 2% tax impost — may or may not lead to a zero-sum equation where total government revenue is concerned, or even yield more revenue; I’m not an economist and even if I was, I don’t have access to the kind of modelling that would provide a ready answer.

But some of the consequences are so blindingly obvious that anyone with a skerrick of understanding of economics — which Ms Hanson and her cohorts clearly do not possess — could foresee them.

In the short term, the effect of this policy would be to convey the appearance to consumers that their disposable incomes had rocketed; after all, income tax would fall to 2%, and GST would be abolished.

This would fuel a boom in imports and a steep hike in the inflation rate, as consumption ballooned; as consequent price growth accelerated to facilitate profit growth, wages would follow suit, locking in the kind of prices-wages spiral that afflicted the Australian economy during the Whitlam years and arguably took a decade to unpick.

In turn, this would leave the Reserve Bank with no choice but to start moving official interest rates steeply higher in a desperate attempt to choke the life out of an unsustainable price-wage-consumption bubble; and the effect of that would be to trigger a vicious contraction in the property market — perhaps inducing a recession — which would see potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs (to say nothing of the hard-earned wealth of Australian workers) lost.

Higher interest rates would also send the Australian dollar sharply higher, again mitigating against economic growth, this time by making Australian exports much more expensive.

Eventually, the adjustment — one way or the other — would be carried through.

But the permanent effects of this policy would be to devalue the savings of the ordinary people Hanson claims to want to help: every time they took money out of the bank, 2% would be added to the withdrawal; every time they deposited money, 2% of it would disappear. Whilst I support GST being extended to everything except healthcare, education, retail banking and housing, it is a paradox that most of those cheering Ms Hanson on are typically opposed to these basic services (and food) being taxed: under her policy, they would be.

With GST abolished, 2% EzyTax would make the states more reliant on Commonwealth handouts, not less, which in turn would make Commonwealth-state relations even more confrontational, and render the two tiers of government more inclined to playing each other off for partisan gain than they already are.

And all of this is merely represents the most obvious adverse effects of 2% EzyTax. There are bound to be countless others. Is this the kind of tax policy a modern, advanced, first-world economy should countenance? I suggest the answer, resoundingly, is “no.”

For a politician purporting to want to roll back the role of the state, Hanson offers other policies that are oxymoronic, to say the least.

She wants couples to be forced to lodge pre-nuptial agreements with the Family Court before they can marry: a ridiculous, unjustifiable imposition that in any case will cause the marriage rate to drop like a stone, in turn fuelling even greater burdens to befall the Court and the welfare system as de facto relationships are easier for people to walk away from, leading to a potential spike in single parent payments, protracted family law litigation, and the like.

(Speaking of children, these agreements are supposed to cover, in advance, arrangements for managing children that result from marriages. Just shake your head and invest in a pack of tarot cards: the reading will have as much chance as any other mechanism of getting that particular piece of silliness right).

She would unapologetically mire Australia in a reputation for sovereign risk, forcing foreign companies who have bought infrastructure assets into compulsory divestiture; it is unknown what Ms Hanson proposes to pay these companies to acquire them, but it’s a fair bet it would be a discount to their fair market value — compounding the dreadful reputation as a place to do business she openly advocates shackling Australia with.

In any case, government debt — another Hanson priority — would need to blow out exponentially in order to fund an acquisition program that would likely run to trillions of dollars.

With no sense of irony, Hanson claims she would offer a taxpayer-funded program to get young Australians into apprenticeships, apparently ignorant of the fact such schemes have existed for many years.

There is no detail offered around the notion of offering manufacturers tax incentives “to create Aussie jobs (sic),” but I would note that a) jobs presently filled by immigrants on 457 visas are typically jobs that others refuse to take, and that more to the point, b) the deleterious effects of Ms Hanson’s broader economic “vision” are likely to be so dire as to substantially reduce the base of potential employers in the first place.

Hanson says she would cull the number of politicians in Australia. How? As “Prime Minister” she would have no jurisdiction over state or local governments, and there isn’t a syllable in her announcement advocating, say, the removal of state governments and a streamlined two-tier system of governance.

Readers know I have advocated a referendum to abolish the “nexus” imposed by S24 of the Constitution (which dictates the House of Representatives be roughly double the size of the Senate) in order to reduce the number of Senators and increase the number of electorates in the lower house to enable better representation of a growing population, but this kind of complex argument appears beyond the capacity and/or inclination of Ms Hanson and her cohorts to attempt.

In other words, any move to implement this one-liner of populist nonsense is likely to bog down in constitutional litigation, a constitutional crisis, or both.

Limiting immigration is a classic calling card of far-Right entities appealing to base prejudices on the fringe of the electorate that raise more problems than they solve. With an ageing population (and fewer people to pay the taxes that support government expenditure), Australia relies on its immigration program for its viability. We do not have the critical mass of the 320 million people of the United States, or even of the 65 million people in the United Kingdom, but we do have a population that is rapidly becoming top-heavy with old people. A more credible proposal would be to alter the immigration mix to achieve a heavier emphasis on skills and less emphasis on family reunion, but even this straightforward distinction appears to be too much for Hanson and her party to draw.

And of course — as a token sop to racists (yes, racists) — full head coverings (read: the burqa or niqab) would be banned. I don’t like the sight of people covered from head to toe either. But this pledge, rather than ranking well down the pecking order of One Nation’s priorities, is in fact a headline act near the very top of the bill.

Ms Hanson wants a Royal Commission to determine whether “Islam” is a political ideology or a religion; this half-arsed suggestion is perhaps the greatest attempt to hoodwink the gullible and the stupid in this country in some time.

It fails to draw the distinction between militant, radical Islam (which aims to destroy the liberal democratic societies of the West) and more moderate, orthodox strains of Muslim doctrine (whose adherents don’t want to hurt anyone, and simply want to be left alone). Yet once again, the idiot-simple appeal to bigoted lunatics appears to hold more sway at One Nation than any attempt to prosecute a nuanced, finely argued case, separating extreme elements from the harmless, and coming up with constructive ways to deal with the former whilst leaving the latter well enough alone.

Hanson says she would introduce an identity card to end welfare fraud: not to stamp out identity fraud, which costs Australia billions of dollars per year, but to single out welfare recipients and to brand them all as bludgers and criminals who are on the take. In practical terms, this means those doing the wrong thing will simply have more hoops to jump through to get their welfare cheques (and as surely as night follows day, they will be prepared to jump through them).

There are indeed those who are rorting the welfare system to the cost of both working Australians and of those genuinely needy people who can’t help themselves, who might get more assistance if the Commonwealth wasn’t also supporting the indolent and the unmotivated. But this measure will not make a shred of difference (aside from adding to compliance costs) and, as I said, the real scourge of identity fraud would be relegated to an afterthought.

Apparently, One Nation wants to build more dams, railways, and ports. With what? After its compulsory asset acquisition program bankrupts the federal government, and sources of private sector capital flee Australia in panic, there won’t be any need for railways and ports because the country’s trade relationships will have been destroyed.

As for dams, which I support, good luck with that. After all, if One Nation can’t make a sensible case for anything else Hanson says it is advocating, there is no foreseeable way it can engage the Greens in a fight over damming rivers and come out on top.

On and on it goes; we could be here all day, if the blowtorch was applied to every aspect of this mad, bad, dangerous “vision” for Australia’s future, which in any case is nothing more than a step-by-step recipe to destroy the country Ms Hanson claims she wants to “save.”

Her adherents will lash out at my remarks, claiming they are just a manifestation of the “panic” sweeping major parties that are scared of her; I simply say that the points I have made are merely the tip of the iceberg in any concerted, rational, fact-based smackdown of an agenda that is lunatic in nature and a guaranteed way to wreck anything in its path.

And of course, the articles I’ve linked from the press today contain a healthy dose of the victim mentality on which Ms Hanson invariably trades; she’s had knockdowns. She’s been in prison. They haven’t beaten her. She’s got up again. They can throw everything at her. Blah, blah, blah. The irony is that nobody has ever really subjected Ms Hanson to the full force of a frontal assault over everything she stands for because until now, there has rarely (if ever) been a package of “solutions” put forward by her to take aim at.

Now, however, she has presented a much bigger target for her opponents to attack, and attack it they must: for these ideas are nothing short of ridiculous, and constitute a very dangerous delusion indeed about how this country works — and how the issues that face it can be managed.

It is true that Australia has problems, and readers have seen me repeatedly advocate a program for moderate, mainstream conservative solutions that would be difficult enough for a proper conservative government to implement in the face of irresponsible populism and blather from the likes of Bill Shorten and Labor, but which in any case are vastly more realistic and practicable than anything included in Pauline Hanson’s plan.

I have said before and will say again that Hanson herself isn’t a bad person; I genuinely think she means well. But she is very limited in both her ability to grasp critical issues and comprehend the ramifications of what she proposes, and whether she likes it or not, her voice — and the message of One Nation — are forces of destruction and conflict, rather than agents of anything positive or useful.

The agenda she has unveiled is nothing more than a garbled mishmash of contradictory, populist thought bubbles that would inflict great damage on Australia’s institutions of governance, its economy, its standing in the world, and on Australian society itself.

Hanson has had decades to get her story straight, and if this is the best she can come up with, perhaps it would be better for all concerned if she slunk off into retirement like so many people of her age are doing.

Certainly, the very supporters looking to anyone who will listen to them would be best served if she and her party simply disappeared. It is just one more irony among many that her own supporters stand to be the hardest hit by the policies she now says she will pursue if ever (God forbid) she is elected to a position from which to implement them.

In the final analysis, One Nation is just mad: the Hanson announcement this weekend sounds a clarion call to all parties to tackle this menace once and for all, and to drive from Australian politics a scourge that has been permitted to fester and ensconce itself as a legitimate offering for far too long.

“Responsible” Urgings To Put One Nation Last Are Political Stupidity

THE DEFECTION of an inconsequential, two-bit monument to mediocrity to One Nation notwithstanding, this column maintains that Queensland’s LNP should place both the ALP and Greens below One Nation on how-to-vote cards for the looming state election; the outrage over Steve Dickson’s defection to the far Right party should not cloud the fact supposedly “responsible” observers are using One Nation to goad the LNP into electoral suicide.

It is a very quick post from me this morning; quite simply, I have to go to my office today.

But when you look at what some sneering southern commentators described, for a time, as “the other Australia” — that portion of the country located beyond the usually smugly Left-entrenched citadels of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania — it isn’t hard to see how a disastrous hegemony of Labor state governments came to exist during the 2000s: and how it still persists in South Australia and Victoria today.

Reader have seen two posts from me in the past week dealing with matters afoot in Queensland: one, arguing that the conservative LNP should exchange preferences with One Nation at the looming state election; and two, a scathing piece after the defection of forgettable LNP MP Steve Dickson to the fringe party on the crass pretext of medicinal cannabis.

There is no reason, based in logic, emotion or fact, to suggest that the rabid cabal of fruit cakes at the Communist Party Greens is any better than or different to One Nation in terms of the odious nature of their policies and the insidious presence they represent in Australian politics at any level.

Yet as readers have heard me lament too often — albeit correctly — the Coalition parties, of which Queensland’s LNP is one, couldn’t articulate the desire to purchase sexual services in a brothel if they tried: so defective are their ability to communicate much at all, let alone sell anything, and political strategy and tactics are concepts that all too often might as well be alien to these entities.

Today, an article has appeared in the Courier Mail, this time from generally respected Brisbane political scientist Paul Williams, who makes the spurious case that because one of its MPs has leapt into bed with Pauline Hanson’s nascent outfit, the LNP would be “insane” to preference One Nation after the event.

But this type of argument ignores reality, and the behaviour of the ALP in seeking and accepting preferences from the Greens for decades.

The Greens (and this is an old story) essentially wish to de-industrialise the West — despite whatever feeble rhetoric they offer by way of denial — and despite the territorial risk the Greens pose to Labor, as they seek to devour everything that lies in their path, Labor invariably preferences the Greens above the Coalition and its related entities in almost 100% of cases, as well as pocketing the almost 80% of Greens preferences that are available to it at elections across the country.

So addicted to Greens preferences votes is Labor that in Queensland, it has also rigged the state’s electoral system to ensure it gets them.

I don’t like One Nation any more than I like the Greens, and whilst I regard the Greens with a contempt that is no less than a party of hard socialism deserves, it worries me that people voting for One Nation out of the desperation that follows the fact they believe nobody else listens to them could place their trust and faith in a false messiah like Pauline Hanson and the irresponsible messages she send to milk votes, a public profile, and public election funding.

But their votes are no less valid than anyone else’s: and that includes those cast for the Greens, as offensive and downright dangerous as that party is.

Nobody has ever held Labor to account for the cottage industry of harvesting Greens votes, and as things stand, nobody from the major parties is ever likely to; indeed, the ALP is unlikely to ever revisit this dirty little arrangement.

But there are those who now seek to goad the LNP into a political catastrophe, urging it to eschew One Nation votes on “principle,” when any reciprocal application of such a virtue would and should see the ALP drop the Greens like a hot brick — and seek to preference it out of existence.

I don’t know if Dr Williams has a particular penchant for ALP administrations elected in a landslide, but if he doesn’t, a quick look at history is instructive: the Coalition’s loss of government in WA in 2001, Queensland in 1998 and in the NT in 2001, along with Coalition wipeouts in Queensland in 2001 and NSW in 1999, were the direct result of exactly the behaviour he now advocates in Queensland.

Whilst One Nation will never win enough support to win an election outright (or even as the senior partner in a coalition, if anyone is silly enough to form one with it), it has a demonstrated history of destroying the electoral prospects of those who preference against it — and if “everyone” preferences against One Nation, it takes aim first and foremost against those parties it can inflict the heaviest damage on, and those are the Liberal and National parties (and the LNP).

Tim Nicholls and his associates should ignore the urgings of people like Paul Williams, and seek to harvest all the preferences from One Nation they can.

After all, defeat beckons if they follow this “principled” advice; it would be defeat of epic proportions, and a loss it would take another decade from which to recover.

But this may be exactly what the “principle” merchants want, for seven years in WA, 16 in NSW and 14 years in Queensland were the tenures of the resulting state Labor governments.

If the LNP wants to hold office in the Sunshine State this side of 2025, it would be well advised to ignore the rantings of those who seek to harm it, and — the outrage of Dickson aside — do the deal that will at the very minimum mitigate the electoral damage that One Nation would almost certainly otherwise inflict.

Qld LNP’s One Nation Defector Not Worth A Pinch Of Shit

THE NEWS Queensland MP Steve Dickson has defected to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation — on the laughable pretext he’ll be deputy Premier — has nowt to do with “principle” and even less to do with Ms Hanson or One Nation. Despite a ridiculous excuse about legalising medicinal cannabis, Dickson is merely the latest clump of faeces with deluded ideas about his own importance and in reality, isn’t even worth a pinch of shit. Good riddance.

Nobody denies there is an awful lot wrong with conservative politics in Australia at the moment — the Prime Minister himself is walking, talking proof of it — but the one thing worse than the wrong people running the show attempting to take voters for fools is when some thoroughly unimportant speck of fly shit does it, and masquerades the act as “principle.”

I’ve heard some strange reasons for walking away from the Liberal Party over the years, but the inability to peddle dope has never been one of them, until now; the claim by LNP turncoat and general shitbag Steve Dickson — that he defected yesterday to One Nation because it would give the terminally ill access to medicinal cannabis — ranks as one of the lamest, most ludicrous and contemptible excuses for treachery and disloyalty I have come across in more than 30 years’ association with the Liberals.

Mind you, I’m not completely unsympathetic to arguments about legalising cannabis for medical purposes within a strictly regulated and controlled framework, and I too think more can be done to ease the suffering of the terminally ill, but any member of Parliament who walks away from the party they arguably owe their career to over such an issue — and to a party of the far Right, no less — either stands for very little at all and/or is simply taking the piss.

In the case of Dickson, it is arguably both.

But first things first: readers can peruse a selection of the Murdoch coverage of this issue here and here, and the Fairfax press’ take on it here and here, and my earliest reaction on hearing the news that Dickson had defected yesterday was to mentally lump him in with the likes of Martin Hamilton-Smith — whose bald ambition and pay cheque chasing saw him all but join the ALP nearly three years ago — and another LNP defector in Alex Douglas, whose gullibility was such that he actually believed Clive Palmer would make him Premier of Queensland.

Yes, people really are this stupid.

And stupidity is the order of the day in Steve Dickson’s case, for it appears he has spent some time bragging to his LNP colleagues that he is set to become deputy Premier of Queensland — presumably, that is, if One Nation were to win the looming state election.

One Nation is not — I repeat, is not — going to win a state election, in Queensland or anywhere else, and anyone who thinks it will is just as deluded as Dickson is.

It is not going to win an election in Queensland or anywhere else: not now, not ever.

One Nation could conceivably wreak havoc at a Queensland state election, and tear the LNP apart: much as it did cumulatively across the 1998 and 2001 state elections, but it will not win; rather, the greater its impact, the likelier it is that the ALP will romp home — preferential voting or not — and for a party that claims Labor is its “enemy,” the shortsightedness of people like Dickson in joining it is stultifying.

From 11 years in Parliament, Dickson boasts one very mediocre stint as a junior minister in the government of Campbell Newman to his credit; he may or may not be a half-decent local MP (and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be one of those) but for “star” quality, Dickson has none.

If anyone at One Nation has promised him the deputy premiership — not that they will ever be in a position to gift it to him — then Dickson has fallen prey to the most cynical (and cheapest) form of flattery on the planet if he thinks he can believe it.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls got it bang on the money when he said Dickson’s defection had nothing to do with medicinal cannabis, noting that Dickson had “selfishly put his own interests ahead of the good people of his electorate.”

With an additional year to run on his current term — unless an early election intervenes, which seems likely — there is nothing remotely honourable or praiseworthy about using that term, arguably obtained on false pretences and using the resources, brand and money of the party he now seeks to disavow, to benefit another party that as at today’s date has exactly zero elected authority from the people of Queensland at a state level.

However, having a taxpayer-funded electorate office to work out of, with all the taxpayer-provided resources at the disposal of a sitting MP to fight an election with, is a boon One Nation probably can’t believe it has secured for nothing more than a promise of promotion it cannot and will never have to deliver on.

If this bozo was as good as his “principles,” he would vacate his seat of Buderim and fight out a by-election for it. That would cost money, however, which I doubt One Nation is flush enough with to throw $150k at a by-election, and it would almost certainly result in his defeat.

I tend to think he will be defeated anyway — the Sunshine Coast hinterland isn’t at the top of the list of regions that swung to One Nation in 1998, and any federal pointers drawn from the seat of Longman last year probably had as much to do with distaste for its puerile adolescent former MP than with anything else.

Dickson has asked the LNP, and his former colleagues, not to regard him as “the enemy.” Were I in their shoes, my only response would be to tell him to get fucked.

With media across the country noting that as recently as October, Dickson was publicly declaring himself “loyal” and a “team player,” so far as I am concerned he is no longer entitled to any commensurate respect given he has so starkly revealed himself to be neither of those things.

Dickson has probably quietly congratulated himself on being so “clever” as to give Nicholls just 15 minutes’ warning of the press announcement of his defection and, to be sure, it caught Nicholls on the hop, forcing him to return to work from his holidays early.

But to everyone else watching, it merely reinforced the grimy, opportunistic (and amateurish) appearance Dickson’s actions convey.

The simple truth is that right now, One Nation is polling 15% in reputable polls measuring state voting intention in Queensland; come polling day it may be 20%; it may be 10%. But it will not be enough to win an election.

Dickson — apparently now the champion of an issue the Communist Party Greens have championed since their long-ago days as tree-hugging, do-nothing environmentally obsessed ratbags — has, on the specious pretext of “principle,” deserted the pre-eminent party of the mainstream right for the lunatic vehicle of the hard Right.

If he proves unwilling to adopt the anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, pro-gun catechisms of his new anti-reality friends, Dickson will soon find out that his new friends don’t like him any more than the old ones he shat upon yesterday from a great height.

And whilst compulsory preferential voting will shield the LNP to some extent from the split in the vote on the Right that may have cost it even more seats under OPV, Dickson has probably driven a slew of city voters directly into the ALP’s arms by his actions: and for that, he will be heavily culpable if Labor is re-elected later this year.

As I said at the outset, nobody denies there is a great deal wrong on the conservative side of politics in Australia at the moment, and within the Liberal Party (or LNP, in Queensland’s case) in particular.

Just as the apparent hard Right version of “a conservative party” Cory Bernardi and his acolytes seem certain to launch early this year is no answer, the false messiahs of the far Right — Pauline Hanson first and foremost — will deliver nothing constructive either.

In fact, in One Nation’s case, it is unlikely to deliver anything at all, for there is a limit to how many people can be hoodwinked into supporting such poorly contrived and ill-conceived slogans, xenophobic and anarchic as they are, that could never fulfil the requirements of government if the party were to be elected: which it won’t be.

I am sorry to labour that point, but with electoral behaviour something of a specialty, I have no qualms in stating unequivocally that One Nation will not form government anywhere in Australia at any time.

There are those who have never been involved in politics prior to their association with One Nation, and whilst I disagree with their chosen party, my next point does not apply to them.

But those who have spent years (or, as in Dickson’s case, decades) as members of the Liberal Party (or the LNP) would serve themselves, their party, and ultimately their constituents far more effectively by trying to fix their party from within, rather than taking actions that will not only trash it, but help entrench Labor in power for a generation.

This is all too hard for people like Dickson, who — like Hamilton-Smith, Douglas, and countless others like them — would rather choose the seemingly free ticket to Easy Street than do the hard work required to actually earn it.

People of Buderim, take note: Dickson has shown himself unworthy, and untrustworthy, to be given the renewed privilege of representing the 30,000-odd voters who make up a seat in the Queensland state Parliament these days.

In fact, Dickson isn’t worth a pinch of shit at all: not to the LNP, not to his new chums at One Nation, and most certainly not to the electors of the seat of Buderim.

All he amounts to in the big scheme of things is the latest clump of faeces, diabolically misled about the degree of self-importance he should apportion himself, whose expedience and nihilism is being masqueraded as principle when he has shown that he doesn’t actually have any.

It is to be hoped — to continue the metaphor — that the good burghers of Buderim flush what’s left of his political career away whenever the field trip to the ballot box occurs.

Good riddance.

 

 

Qld ALP Can Root My Boot Over One Nation Preferences

AS QUEENSLANDERS head to the polls in 2017, the ALP — and attack kitten Jackie Trad in particular — is moving to rig the looming election in a brazen one-fingered salute to democracy; not content with fiddling the electoral system to boost its chances, it wants the LNP to shun One Nation preferences on “principle” despite itself relying on the preferences of the scum of the Earth. Labor can go root my boot. As for Trad, it is time she kept quiet.

Aside from One Nation voters themselves, I don’t think too many people are under any misapprehensions that Pauline Hanson’s reborn political vehicle could be categorised as anything other than “far Right;” obsessed with vilifying Muslims, homosexuals, and signalling a green light to flood the country with guns, their agenda (to the extent it is perceptible) is not the agenda of government, but of protest: like all extremes, this one has little to recommend itself to fair-minded mainstream folk aside from its allure as a means of protest.

However, those who vote for One Nation are free to do so.

Conversely, aside from Communist Party Greens voters (and even most of them are oblivious to the true nature of their beast of choice), too few are even aware of what that party stands for: a force of the extreme hard Left, rooted in socialism and communism — with actual communists sprinkled throughout, and at least one openly Communist MP in Lee Rhiannon — the Greens are anti-family, anti-business, anti-mining, anti-industry, anti-car, anti-military, anti-national defence, anti-Western values, and anti-democratic. And that is just for starters. Like all extremes, this one has little to recommend it to anyone at all. It isn’t even a genuinely environment-focused party. It is, in fact, the scum of the Earth: absolute filth.

However, those who vote for the Greens are free to do so.

I begin thus because with a state election almost certain to be held in Queensland this year (and probably sooner rather than later), the local ALP’s chief attack kitten — deputy Premier Jackie Trad — has been belting the can a bit too loudly of late over the issue of One Nation preferences, trying publicly to “shame” the LNP into eschewing preference deals with Pauline Hanson, this time on the convenient (and rather opportunistic) pretext of One Nation candidates posting anti-gay remarks in social media forums.

For the record, I don’t think it is appropriate for the so-called LGBTIQ community to be singled out for vilification on account of their way of life — particularly for political gain — but I do think it’s important to get some context here: after all, if One Nation stands condemned for allegedly doing so, then the Greens must stand condemned for targeting the living standards and way of live of virtually everyone.

Under their policies, electricity and gas would become so prohibitively expensive that millions would be unable to afford them; the car would become a thing of the past, and people would find out just how unfit for purpose public transport really is as a unilateral transport solution; jobs would disappear, as ridiculous taxes and other measures designed to destroy incentive and enterprise deter those businesses that don’t close from hiring anyone; and when the borders are thrown open (once Australia’s defences have been systematically dismantled in favour of “non-violent combat techniques” and other bullshit in the Greens’ manifesto), those characteristics that make our way of life quintessentially Australian will be destroyed forever.

Is the targeting and victimisation of the many — which is the logical conclusion of the Greens’ platform — really any different or better than the targeting and victimisation of the few?

Of course it isn’t.

I feel for my friend, Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls, who must surely be wondering what in hell he did to deserve the odious spectre of a regurgitated One Nation dumped in his lap approaching a state election his party should be favoured to romp home at. After all, One Nation arguably destroyed the then-Coalition state government in 1998, and was in large part the reason for the Coalition’s obliteration in 2001.

Nicholls would make a very good Queensland Premier, if given the opportunity — especially after three years of a government whose only agenda seems to have been to erase the impact of Campbell Newman from the state.

But rather than vacillating and agonising over what to do about preference allocations — a ready trap the Coalition fell headlong into in both 1998 and 2001 — Nicholls and his team should be taking a very different approach this time around.

And that — very simply — is to turn the blowtorch right back on Labor and its grimy, decades-long electoral relationship with the Greens.

Every government that has either shared power with, or been propped up by, the Greens has ended up being annihilated; it has happened to ALP state governments in Tasmania in 1992 and 2014, a Liberal government in Tasmania in 1998, and federally in 2013: in each case, the hard-left lunacy of the Greens infected the government it supported, and a solid majority of voters hurled it from office as a consequence.

Just as Labor bellows about the evils of One Nation, to date there has not been a sustained, concerted and/or effective campaign to destroy the Greens by the Liberal Party anywhere in Australia: the one remotely possible exception was in Victoria in 2010, when then-opposition leader Ted Baillieu preferenced against the Greens statewide, and won a surprise victory.

But there are so many insidious aspects of the Greens that provide ready ammunition for a conservative party half-serious about winning (as opposed to behaving like a crony club) that it beggars belief the Liberal Party has never seen fit to oxygenate them to an electorate mostly sold on the fairy story of tree-hugging hippies chaining themselves to fences to stop bulldozers.

Even if the Greens were that way once, they sure as hell aren’t today.

Queensland, which for 20-odd years has voted at state elections under Optional Preferential Voting (OPV), has seen “exhaust” rates (i.e. the number of votes excluded from counting because they express no continuing preference) as high as 70% in some seats…whilst in the case of the votes of Greens candidates eliminated, the exhaust rate is far lower, and those votes that are distributed invariably split 80% Labor’s way.

In other words — and contrary to the mythology it has allowed to spring up around its unlikely victory in 2015 after a single term in opposition — Queensland Labor was able to form government because of OPV, not in spite of it, as votes that haemorrhaged from the 2012 LNP pile toward right-wing minor parties and independents did not return to the LNP on preferences. Most of those votes that did express a preference went to the ALP, in addition to the usual bedrock of additional support it invariably harvests from the Greens anyway.

Yet just to double down — in an unbelievably outrageous electoral rort — the ALP summarily abolished the OPV system last year without warning, consultation or debate; in its stead comes the restoration of compulsory preferential voting: just to make sure Greens voters are forced into allocating preferences, and in the safe knowledge better than 80% of them will do so in Labor’s favour.

It is no more a point of “principle” to accept or reject One Nation preferences than it is to accept or reject those of the Greens, and this fraught issue that rent the Queensland conservatives asunder in 1998 and 2001 could be neutralised by an all-out attack on the Greens.

It is not acceptable that Labor should harvest preferences from such an odious, noxious and downright dangerous source as the Greens, only to attempt to dictate to the LNP that the preferences of a bunch of rednecks should be off-limits.

I think the LNP is mad if it doesn’t at least place One Nation ahead of both Labor and the Greens, with or without a formal pact with Pauline Hanson’s outfit, on the “reasonable expectation” the gesture will be returned.

After all, Hanson herself explicitly stated last year that “the ALP is One Nation’s enemy,” and given the smoking ruin her preference strategies made of Coalition governments in Queensland in 1998, Western Australia and the Northern Territory in 2001, as well as Coalition oppositions in New South Wales and Queensland in 1999 and 2001 respectively, it would be wiser to allow Labor to fill the role of “One Nation’s enemy” wherever possible.

And besides, whilst reputable polling in Queensland shows One Nation on course for about 15% of the vote (and I remain to be convinced), that vote is also more evenly spread than it was when it won 11 seats off 23% of the vote in 1998. Yes, there are a few seats where support appears to be spiking, and these may fall to One Nation at a state election. But if Nicholls’ LNP can extract two-thirds of One Nation preferences statewide, the LNP is likely to win the election comfortably, and the nightmarish prospect of a One Nation balance of power (possible only in a very close result) will have been averted.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the Greens are complete filth — the absolute scum of the Earth — and the only reason people continue to vote for them, unbelievably, is that there has never been a mass campaign to expose them.

That’s where Tim Nicholls’ election win — and neutralising the threat of One Nation — can be built, not through being backed into a corner of inaction over the alleged evil of whether to place One Nation ahead of or behind the LNP’s real political enemies.

As for Trad, her utter hypocrisy on this issue is exposed by the simple fact she admits her party wouldn’t direct unions (or anyone else) to place One Nation behind the Coalition on how-to-vote cards or other election material.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Jackie. Queensland Labor can go root my boot if it thinks the LNP should be expected to forego up to half a million additional preference votes from One Nation when it continues to jump into bed with a far worse and much more sinister whore in the shape of the Greens.

Trad should keep quiet. Very quiet.

 

Not Again! Pauline Hanson Slithers Back To Elective Politics

THE MURDOCH PRESS reports today that former MP, One Nation founder, repeatedly defeated candidate and general embarrassment Pauline Hanson is set to resume in elective politics, having reclaimed the leadership of the party she founded 17 years ago; this news is a joke, and whatever Hanson’s latest motive or whatever “emergency” she purports to seek to solve, Australia “needs” Hanson like the proverbial hole in the head.

State seats. Federal seats. Lower house seats. Upper house seats. Having first been an obscure local councillor in Ipswich 20 years ago before achieving notoriety as a disendorsed Liberal candidate in 1996 and suffering a plethora of electoral defeats in the decades since, you’d think she might have got the message.

Yet the news this morning that serial candidate and national embarrassment Pauline Hanson is set to re-enter politics would at least make for a bit of sport for election watchers and commentators if it weren’t so ridiculous, or likely to result in the characteristic disruption that seems to follow Hanson wherever she goes.

Nearing the four-year mark of writing on political affairs in Australia, my readers know I have little time for Hanson and her odious agenda, and whilst we’ve discussed her fairly infrequently — and people can recap on these moments here — I think it is fair to say the last thing this column has ever offered Ms Hanson is support.

And why would we?

The news Hanson is set to reclaim the leadership and “chairmanship” of her One Nation party — and to stand, yet again, for Parliament somewhere, anywhere — should send a shudder down the spines of reasonable conservative politicians across Australia, who typically wear the brunt of the lamentable Hanson’s political forays.

And it is unclear exactly where Hanson proposes to stand for office, or at which level of government; about the only thing that can be said with any certainty is that with nominations now closed for the state election taking place in Victoria in a little over a week, it won’t be here — and thank goodness for that.

But with other elections set to occur early next year in two states and a federal election a bit over 18 months away, she might even stand in all of them: because for all her talk of being the “mother” of Australia and her propensity to pop up all over the country in search of seats in Parliament, the last thing anyone could accuse Hanson of is loyalty to one, fixed set of voters.

Whether through delusion or some arrogant conviction that her appeal really is greater than the two modest wins she has to her credit — despite a raft of embarrassing defeats — Hanson has shown she expects voters everywhere to buy into her bullshit.

Now 60 years old, there is no indication that she has any fresh ideas or driving imperative to claim elective office; having previously campaigned on — and alienated — groups ranging from Aborigines to Asians to Muslims, it remains to be seen which will be her target now.

But with recent pronouncements that “16 to 25 percent” of Muslims are radicalised fundamentalists, it’s not hard to guess.

I’m not going to labour the point; having noted Hanson’s re-emergence, the mainstream press would be responsible to limit its coverage of Hanson’s activities, lest it unduly promote her insidious enterprise: after all, in the absence of media oxygen, it will be more difficult for her latest foray into politics to succeed.

And I will restate my biggest criticism of Hanson: even allowing for the possibility she is sincere in her concerns and stands on issues that are valid (which is a debatable point at the minimum), Hanson is adept at voicing “problems,” but when it comes to the former “fish and chip bitch from Ipswich” — as one pop song once caricatured her — there is never a solution to be seen.

I just think Australia has moved on from the era of “shock politics” that propelled Hanson to prominence 20 years ago.

And whilst the spectacle of fragmented upper houses across the country has made stable and effective government virtually impossible, at both state and federal levels, this is a problem that derives from electoral systems that have been progressively rigged by Labor administrations in recent times — and is not some “problem” Hanson represents a fix to.

In fact, she will simply make a bad situation worse if (God forbid) she is ever elected.

This country needs a proven disruptive influence of Hanson’s “calibre” like it needs the proverbial hole in the head.

And with the likes of the insidious, brainless Jacqui Lambie soaking up taxpayer dollars on parliamentary salaries for which there is no merit-based justification in paying, there are already enough idiots in office as it is without adding further to their ranks.

At least this time, nobody can say they haven’t been warned…

 

“Trust” Not The Issue When Talking About Pauline Hanson

WITH A DECLARATION she’s “the redhead you can trust,” Pauline Hanson today confirmed her candidacy for a NSW Senate seat at the coming federal election. When it comes to Pauline Hanson, “trust” is scarcely the point; pandering to rednecks and lacking any moral authority, she deserves to fail.

This, hopefully, will be the last time Australians are encumbered by the public utterances of Pauline Hanson.

The re-emergence today of the serial candidate who last held elected office 15 years ago has a distinct ring of “Groundhog Day” about it, and is enough to test the patience of reasonable and fair-minded folk to the limit.

So far this year — and today’s is the third grand announcement of her intention to stand in this year’s election in three months — she has said she will campaign on water resources, electricity prices, and illegal boat people “because people are disgusted with them.”

Today’s announcement adds welfare fraud, poverty, and “the constant attack on our Australian way of life.”

And all of this is in addition to previously announced campaign themes based on Aborigines, Muslims, Asians, and Africans.

It’s patently obvious that whilst Ms Hanson’s agenda is broader than it originally was in 1996, its core remains comprised of race-related issues.

It’s equally obvious that whilst some attempt has been made to broaden that agenda — by including populist hot-button items like electricity prices — that Hanson’s key targets are defined along racial lines.

And in a direct lift from one of my earlier articles on this issue, the biggest problem with Pauline Hanson is that she is adept at articulating “problems” when it comes to racially based issues; whether it’s Aborigines, Muslims, Asians, or Africans, Pauline knows how to stir the pot to create enormous attention for herself, and to create enormous uproar among more reasonable sections of the political discourse.

But just as she is a deft hand when it comes to airing the “problem,” she is silent at best, and absolutely clueless at worst, when it comes to a “solution.”

This time, she is also attempting to play the victim card. “Yes, I have been in prison. Yes I have been trodden on, but I keep getting up,” she said.

Hanson says she is standing for the Senate rather than a lower house electorate as the majority voting system used in the House of Representatives to find a winner with 50.01% of the vote after preferences is ”weighted in favour of the major parties.”

That system didn’t stop her winning Oxley in 1996, and it hasn’t stopped the likes of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott being repeatedly elected to lower house seats.

It’s fairly obvious she seeks the easiest ride back to a taxpayer-salaried parliamentary sinecure possible, a contention borne out by the fact that of the eight state and federal elections she has thus far contested, five have been for upper house seats requiring far fewer votes, including five of her six attempts at election since losing the lower house seat she was elected to in 1996.

She also vehemently denies she is standing this time make money out of election funding, saying she opposes public funding of elections and would move to abolish it.

But this assertion, too, flies in the face of the reality that she has collected handsomely from the public purse by way of public election funding, as noted by both the News Ltd and Fairfax press today.

I think it would be fair for Hanson to immediately repay the monies she has received from public funding over the years if she is remotely serious on this issue; if she doesn’t, she can be recognised as just another hypocrite, and treated with the contempt she deserves.

Nobody denies there are issues around some of the items on Hanson’s campaign list.

But — as usual — there is no policy, no solution, and no evidence she has anything meaningful to add to debate around those issues in any way.

Can she be trusted? It’s scarcely the point.

The legitimacy or otherwise of Hanson’s stated list of issues aside, few people take her seriously, and very few people genuinely believe she is capable of making any meaningful contribution to public debate.

There have always been those who are prepared to vote for her, but since 1996 never enough of them to get her elected to anything.

Not even to the NSW upper house — the easiest place in Australia to win a seat.

This column — once again — urges readers in NSW, their families and associates to vote for candidates other than Pauline Hanson in September.

If filling in the NSW Senate ballot paper below the line, she should be placed last; if voting above the line for a ticket, we suggest a vote for a group that lists either of the major parties ahead of Pauline Hanson in their printed allocation of preferences.

It doesn’t matter if you trust Ms Hanson; the question is whether she is worth voting for.

Now on her ninth election attempt in 17 years, with a questionable platform and an embarrassingly short list of achievements to stand on, it is the emphatic position of The Red And The Blue that she is not.

As I said at the outset, hopefully the 2013 federal election marks the last time this conversation needs to occur in Australian politics.