Sunday, 9 February 2014

Winter Olympic Gaymes (sic) and other matters.

Congratulations, advocates of gay rights, for letting Vladimir Putin get into your heads, rent-free.

Instead of concentrating on WHY YOU ARE THERE (winning, and rubbing the Russians' faces in the dust on the basis of pure athletic talent), you have allowed yourselves to become preoccupied with an issue which not a whit of your screaming, whining or protesting will affect one little bit.

Why not? Because Vladimir Putin doesn't give a fuck, never has given a fuck and never will give a fuck about what you think. He doesn't NEED to give a fuck and doesn't WANT to give a fuck, except with regard to how thoroughly he can fuck with your heads with the minimum of effort required.

All you've done is to give your own athletes one more thing to worry about while they're there, and politicised an event which should have remained apolitical. He has quite successfully got you playing the man, not the ball, and you will end up losing both battles.

While you are angsting over all of this and focussing on the horribleness of it all and the importance of supporting gay rights etcetera, etcetera, Middle-Eastern autocracies are quite happily going about their business of not just suppressing expressions of homosexuality but actually judicially executing homosexuals purely for being gay, something they've been doing for quite some time without anywhere near as much noise being made.

Meanwhile, gay activists and pro-gay legislators in the US concentrate their attention on such minor details as bakeries and wedding photographers refusing their services to same-sex couples planning their weddings, as if that were the end of the world, and how such terrible, terrible people ought to be obliged to provide those services to said gay couples under pain of criminal prosecution.

There is a world of difference between stating one's moral position by refusing someone a non-essential commercial service on the basis of their sexuality, on the one hand, and arresting and hanging that someone by the neck until dead because the local law demands it, on the other. Simply to label both actions as "homophobia" as if they were morally equivalent is in my opinion intellectually deficient, and to put more effort into punishing the first group than protesting the actions of the second is something I find really quite disturbing.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

"It's not easy being Green" Part the Second...

...otherwise known as "The resignation was not given but demanded; the sequel."

As with the NBN, so (it seems) with the Australian Greens.

Here, link courtesy of Andrew Bolt, is the source article at the Sydney Morning Herald website.

The text, quoted in full in the event of redaction or modification, is as follows:

Christine Milne has survived an aborted push to challenge her leadership - but some senior Greens claim the Tasmanian senator is now ''living on borrowed time''.

Fairfax Media can reveal the departure of Senator Milne's most senior political aide, Ben Oquist, is linked to moves within the federal party to switch to Adam Bandt, her deputy.

A source close to the turmoil inside the leader's office said Senator Milne had demanded the resignation of Mr Oquist, her chief of staff, after she became aware he had backed moves for Mr Bandt to mount a challenge at Monday's party room meeting.

''This is about disloyalty. Ben was trying to get rid of Christine. Adam Bandt was going to make a run for the leadership, but they called it off about an hour before party room because they didn't have the numbers,'' the source said.

Another Greens source confirmed a push to replace Senator Milne was on, but there was ''not enough confidence they had the numbers''.

Senator Milne's office declined to make any comment on Thursday and Mr Bandt, who is on holiday, could not be reached.

Senator Milne fronted the media alongside Mr Bandt after Monday's meeting to declare both leader and deputy had been re-elected to their positions unopposed. ''We are a strong, united team,'' she said.
Three days later, she had lost Mr Oquist and five other senior policy and media staff.

Senator Milne said the ''flat administrative structure'' she imposed when she took over from Bob Brown was the reason Mr Oquist had moved on. ''I think Ben had a view that it should be more hierarchical,'' she said.

Mr Oquist is travelling overseas and has made no statement other than he left on good terms, but ''fundamental differences of opinion in strategy had emerged''.

Well, now. This does shoot a fairly large hole in the suppositions from my last article; it seems some within the Greens wasted no time deciding they had been led to an avoidable defeat and that action to remove the one responsible was required. And yeah, I have to admit, if I found out that my Chief of Staff had been whispering to the "Other Side" within my own ranks without being frank to me about it, I'd probably send them packing too.

I'd love to know just what this "flat administrative structure" is all about. Hierarchy is important in a political organisation; people need to know who's boss and just where the buck stops.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

"It's not easy being Green" - with apologies to Kermit the Frog.

I just recently wrote this post at Catallaxy Files, relating to this newspaper article about the Australian Greens Party losing six of their leader's staff, and I feel it worthy of some enlargement. I began by quoting The Australian's article:

including chief of staff Ben Oquist, director of communications Georgie Klug and policy adviser Oliver Woldring, her climate change adviser, her economics adviser and campaign coordinator.
I commented that...
That’s pretty much the solid core of a minor party’s staff, especially relevant when one of them is the Climate Change adviser to a Greens party.
...because the Climate Change thing has been central to the Greens' raison d'etre and indeed their brief occupation of the nexus of Australian political power over the last three years. I will now enlarge a second quote from the original newspaper article:
Mr Oquist issued a statement saying he was leaving with good will but cited "fundamental differences of opinion about strategy".
I continued in this (admittedly flippant and VERY hypothetical) vein:
Possible translation: “We fucked up and lost the balance of power in the Senate; we did this because you didn’t listen to me; and now the idiots have gone and kept you on. You’ve made us irrelevant and got rewarded for it. I’m outta here.”
But what else could he do, regardless of the underlying reasons? With advice not being taken and a poor result to show for it, what more can the advisers do but hand in their notice? And what does that say about the person at the top (Milne) and all the people who, in the wake of the result, have elected to keep her there? 
As I said over at the Cat, this should be a very interesting space to watch. Sure, she was re-elected to her leadership unopposed and so was Bandt (deservedly so, if he increased his local stake1), but I think that was a reflex action so as not to leave them leaderless the way the ALP currently is (the Greenfilth2 are doing that one bit right in any case). However, to continue hypothesising, they’re still getting their heads around what a Coalition victory is actually going to mean – especially with the new Senate still not quite finalised and their supreme Lower House influence made irrelevant – and when they’ve finished doing that, we may see rumbles for change.
The advisers seem at least to have waited for the first torpedo (Bandt’s irrelevance in the Lower House) to hit before running for the lifeboats. The rest of the salvo is on its way. (It will arrive when the Senate changes in mid-2014, and Labor and the Greens combined become a relatively3 powerless minority.)
The following election (due 2016) constitutes yet another salvo, with a target-rich environment – the majority of what’s left of the Greens – up for reaping, and everybody knows that at least some of those torpedoes will hit4. At that point, what we will arguably see is infighting for the highest place on the Senate ticket in every state, somewhat akin to a struggle for the last seat in the lifeboats. If there’s going to be a leadership challenge, I suspect that’s when we’ll start to see the leadership knives come out.
If Abbott can set up (but not pull) a DD trigger before then, he might be able to start the panicked stampede early.

FOOTNOTES:
1. I despise Bandt, his party and everything they stand for, but at least in the context of intra-organisational performance, success requires rewarding. Failure, not so much. Some failures are of course beyond the control of those who did the trying, but the differences of opinion quoted above are at least suggestive that this may not be so in Milne's case.
2. A fairly common name for them in the comments at Catallaxy Files, and IMO rightly so. They at times seem resolutely opposed to everything that has made Western industrial civilisation the success story that it is, and their ideology is as blinkered, bloody-minded and ill-informed as they accuse their opponents' of being.
3. Not completely powerless because there may be specific issues regarding which the Minor Parties share their opposition to Government intentions, in which case those intentions might be modified or blocked, but the ability of Labor and the Greens to bloody-mindedly stonewall everything Tony Abbott wishes to do will be destroyed. They are in Opposition now, and cannot offer enticements to the Minors the way they could in Government.
4. The Greens' support fell at the 2013 election, and since the climate modelling on which the anthropogenic argument for climate change - and much of their core policy - rests is looking increasingly shaky (if not already thoroughly discredited), it may yet fall further. The majority of their Senators are up for re-election at that half-Senate ballot and they could suffer rather terribly, especially if hot-headed young guns such as Sarah Hanson-Young or extreme radicals like Lee Rhiannon make a spectacle of themselves.

Monday, 23 September 2013

I cannot add anything; just read what's at the link for yourselves.

Via the helpful crowd at Ace of Spades.


The Aftermath

Confronted with the twin facts of its uselessness and irrelevance, the entire NBN Board hands in its notice. Forensic accounting will now begin. Excellent.

(ETA: Since I posted this, information has come to light which suggests that in fact the new Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, demanded the head of each and every one of these worthless creatures, and that the resignations seem to be either as-requested or to avoid the disgrace attendant upon being sacked.)

Aussie conservatives were rightly in an uproar at David Suzuki getting an entire hour of the show Q&A to himself, to spout his ludicrous theories, but Andrew Bolt reports that the audience was not so generous as the presenter. A few well-informed skeptics made it past the defences, so to speak, and served this hypocritical charlatan his own head on a platter.

Also reposing in the head-on-a-dish department is Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery. His presence on the government payroll ought not to be missed, especially since he was a shareholder in a geothermal energy project that was the recipient of tens of millions of dollars and seems to have contributed very little to the problem of energy generation in Australia except how NOT to go about doing it. When one accesses their instantaneous share price history, it seems relatively stable until one selects a much broader timescale - at which point one sees that a company that started out a little above a dollar begins to trend progressively downwards from May 2009 and, absent a couple of local peaks during the descent (October 2010 and July 2011), is now in the doldrums at about ten cents a share. The October peak is coincident with this statement (from which I quote):

Geodynamics Limited is pleased to announce that all conditions precedent for the $90 million grant awarded to the Company under the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP) have been satisfied. Geodynamics has received confirmation from the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism that the grant is now unconditional and that funding will commence in line with agreed milestones.The $90 million grant was initially awarded to Geodynamics in November 2009 and is the largest amount awarded to any project under the program. The funding deed was executed by the Federal Government and Geodynamics in July 2010.

and the July 2011 peak with this one, which I had problems loading the full text of, but which led from the following text on its webpage:

Geodynamics welcomes clean energy package

11 July 2011
Geodynamics Limited (ASX: GDY), Australia’s most advanced geothermal energy developer, welcomes the Federal Government’s climate change initiatives announced yesterday under the Securing a Clean Energy Future package.
In other words, both share-price surges - neither sustained - seem to relate temporally to the acquisition of government funding or support as opposed to technical achievements. Readers may draw their own conclusions, but mine are uncharitable for obvious reasons. The timescale of Dr Flannery's shareholdings, acquisitions and depositions, if known, would make a fascinating comparison. Does anyone out there have this information?

That geothermal energy works is beyond doubt, and New Zealand is the proof. That it does not necessarily work everywhere now also seems beyond doubt, and Geodynamics could well be the proof of that.

In other news, Islam continues to be the Religion of Peace it always has been (sarc!!), proving that its brave warriors are always up to the challenge of defending the faith, any way they can.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Bureaucratic Butchery Begins

From Catallaxy Files comes this post, which is derived from a list of allegedly "last minute" things that Joe Hockey threw in for axing after the Coalition took power. The author of this list allegedly prefixes the list with:

What Hockey didn’t tell us …Fine print of last minute costings announced with no debate – does Abbott have a mandate for these? 

For full details, follow the link to the Cat. Lefty heads are allegedly exploding everywhere, treating all of this as undiscussed matters with no mandate and the sharpest, harshest cutters at Catallaxy Files say yay, let's do all of this and then some. Let's have a look at it.

INCOME REDISTRIBUTION (away from poor):
• Lower the tax-free threshold from $18,200 back to $6000.
• Abolish the low-income superannuation contribution.
• Abolish the means test on the Private Health Care Rebate
• Scrap baby bonus and relax childcare staffing ratios to fund $75,000 paid leave for mothers earning $150,000
• Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement


 Point one struck me as a straight-out vote-buying exercise. $6000 is arguably too low, but $18,200 is a very odd figure. Why not $18,000? Is there a certain category of worker who would fall just under this level, whose vote would be valuable to the ALP? I'd happily support a value closer to $12k.

Superannuation is a controversial matter. It is, according to the Cat's hyperlibertarians, "enforced savings", which come out of one's pay packet in the first place - they would prefer the individual to have that money to decide for themselves what to do with it, invest, bank or spend as they see fit. Their money, their responsibility, and super treats people like children. I am of two minds. I would not at all mind super being treated either as an opt-in or opt-out thing.

As far as the baby bonus is concerned, I abhor it. It is easy to "game", to keep on having kids and use the money for something else. I would like to see it scrapped and replaced by a fixed offset against the taxes of working members of the new baby's household. IOW you don't get it if you're getting serially pregnant to a series of deadbeat revolving-door fathers.

As far as paid parental leave is concerned, it applies to ALL parents, not just the rich. The list author appears to have conveniently forgotten this, and phrased the point in class-war terms. Disingenuous at best, inflammatory and deliberately misleading (i.e. LYING) at worst.

SUPPORT FOR BIG BUSINESS
• Repeal the mining tax
• Abolish the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission
• Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
• Remove anti-dumping laws


 The list author treats big business as evil? Fine, let's wave our magic wands, abolish "big business" tomorrow... and see how many poor people that puts out of work. And just where does she draw the line and call a business "big"?

The mining tax, as introduced by Kevin Rudd, is a joke - it has brought in next to no revenue and has only generated administrative costs. It deserves to be scrapped. The ACCC and FIRB need to be kept, in my opinion, and as for the anti-dumping laws, we'll get to those in due course.

EDUCATION
• Abolish the means-tested school kids bonus which benefits 1.3 million families by up to $410 per primary child & $820 per high school child.
• Abandon the bulk of the school funding reforms
• Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
• Remove academic freedom through political control of research grants


 The schoolkids bonus is another vote-buying exercise, besides which, nobody can prove that the money is being spent on clothes and equipment for the kids rather than indulgent stuff for the parents. Give it to the schools and have the schools issue the kids with the equipment directly from stock. The school funding "reforms" do nothing to address the deep problems, which are inadequate discipline and poor teaching methods, and an underclass that couldn't really give a fuck about its children's education.

University student unions did not represent me or my interests when I was at university, and I should not be obliged to belong to one or pay it money if this is the case. This is a simple matter of freedom of association.

As far as "academic freedom" is concerned, what rubbish. Much of the "political control" in this case seems to be the pulling of lazy, greedy snouts from the trough of "humanities" research. No wonder the list author is whining - she's about to see her unproductive career defunded. I expect my tax dollars to fund research into things like medicine, mining and agriculture, not philosophical navel-gazing.



JOBS, WORKPLACE RELATIONS
• Repeal Fair Work Act, restore individual agreements
• Cut at least 50,000 public service jobs
• End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws
• Cease subsidising the car industry.


 The Fair Work Act was deliberately designed to spit in John Howard's face and guarantee increased union presence in the workplace, and deserves destruction. An individual should have the right to negotiate their own legally binding conditions with their employer if they so desire. I can't speak to the Industry Super Funds, but the car industry has soaked up huge amounts of money out of all proportion to any good that money has done. I can see a point for an industrial nation like Australia retaining the ability to build its own automobiles, but we are on a slippery slope of diminishing returns and  the ALP practice of simply shovelling money into a bottomless pit only for jobs to keep on disappearing has to be addressed... severely.

ENVIRONMENT
• Abolish the Clean Energy Fund
• Abolish the Department Of Climate Change
• Repeal the renewable energy target and withdraw from kyoto ppotocol
• Repeal the marine park legislation
• Encourage the construction of dams


 The only viable clean energies are either hydro or nuclear. If you want 24/7 baseline without fossil fuels, this is how you have to go in Australia. That means dams (the animus against dams is straight out of the Greens playbook). We've had floods in Gippsland several years running now; the damage this does every year would easily pay for one, and it would have been far better than the useless desalination plant that was built because the scary Green claims of no more rain were forced down the government's throat. The renewable energy target is unrealistic with current technology, and repeal is the only sensible thing.

Solar and wind are not up to scratch on a large scale, so the Clean Energy Fund is worthless and needs to go - if a viable renewable technology is developed, it will pay for itself without requiring bucketloads of government money. The Kyoto protocol is meaningless - a dead issue - and withdrawing from it is the only sensible thing to do.

FREE SPEECH, CITIZENSHIP
• End mandatory disclosures on political donations
• End public funding support for political parties (allowing rich an advertising monopoly)
• Abolish media bias regulations
• Introduce voluntary voting


 The second dot-point is pure class-envy politics, subjective and hateful. I think there's a point to be made for obliging political parties to say where their funding is coming from; it's one of the few things I agree with the list author about. The list author needs to acknowledge that the lion's share of public funding support goes into the pockets of the Liberal, National, Labor and Greens parties, and is paid after the fact based on voting performance at the election just concluded - another example of their disingenous/dishonest approach.

The reason the large parties have the advertising funds they do before the fact is because of MEMBERSHIP DUES - if your policies do not attract sufficient support, why should the taxpayer cough up for you?

 Media bias? Fairfax and the ABC were shilling so hard for ALP/Greens it wasn't funny; Murdoch, with 30% ownership, was getting 70% of circulation because Fairfax and the ABC were turning out propagandist bullshit that nobody wanted to read. For media bias, read "They were saying bad things about our side!"

As for voluntary voting, I absolutely agree with this worthless cretin for once. You live in a democracy, you make the fucking effort or you can get out.
 
MEDIA, PUBLISHING
• Halt and privatise the National Broadband Network
• Abolish the Australian Communications And Media Authority
• Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function.
• Abolish TV spectrum licensing
• Abolish local content requirements
• Deregulate the parallel importation of books, thus damaging our local authors and publishers.


 The NBN's business model was flawed from the start, its budget has blown out to obscene proportions in relation to what has been achieved (very little), and it has had to go so far as to rip up the entirely reliable copper network, taking people's ordinary telephones away from them with no choice in the matter. It needs to be gutted and reformed on the basis of a viable business model, with fibre to the node, and the bandwidth leased to the various content providers. There must be a careful independent inspection of the existing hardware to ensure that a filter has not been hardwired in at some point. Anyone who wants a connection to their home can pay for the last few feet themselves. If they can't afford it, copper is coming along nicely with new data-pushing algorithms.

The ACMA can stay, as far as I am concerned.

The ABC must be gutted, reduced to one television station and Radio National, and ordered not to compete with the commercial networks but to go back to providing niche services.

Some management of the TV spectrum does need to occur, but only insofar as sensible allocation of available bandwidth and frequencies is concerned (to avoid interference).

Local content needs to compete on an equal footing with overseas. If an Australian author isn't good enough, they don't get sales. If they're good enough, they'll outsell the competition. It's that simple. In any case, parallel imports are often cheaper, with the result that the poor (the people the List Author seems to care about) are better able to afford books. Is this not a good thing? The same thing goes for local TV content.

PUBLIC INTEREST
• End all public subsidies to sport and the arts
• Repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
• End all government funded public interest (‘Nanny state’) advertising


 Yes, yes, and maybe. If you're a good enough athlete, there should be no problem with getting an equipment manufacturer to fund you. If you've got something insulting to say, you should have the right to say it without someone hauling you into court - especially if it turns out to be true. (The people who blew up an eleven year old boy in Boston, crashed three airplanes into buildings, recruited Down syndrome people and rape victims as suicide bombers and cut little girls' clitorises off don't exactly identify as Buddhist, do they?)

When I was a kid, the road transport authority - whatever it was called - in my home state used to publish short commercials that gave handy hints for things like night driving (e.g. high-beam etiquette) and lesser-known road rules that would avoid accidents. I think this sort of thing is worthwhile.

PRIVATIZATION, DEREGULATION
• Privatise the CSIRO
• Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport.
• Privatise Medibank.
• Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme
• Privatise Australia Post
• Privatise SBS.
• Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction.


 Quite aside from the fact that someone - either the Cat or the list author - can't organise their spelling consistently, I have to wonder about "privatise Medibank". Doesn't the list author mean Medicare? Something's fishy here, and I share the Cat's suspicion that this list of proposed cuts contains a lot of false claims and bullshit.

My opinion? No (government must support some level of basic research), Yes (if the athletes are that good - and Australia punches well above its weight - private funding should flow freely), No (if Medicare is meant), No (state-constructed power generation assets should remain in state hands IMO; they are a national security issue); ABSOLUTELY NOT (the post is likewise a National Security asset); maybe (make SBS a subset of the ABC); Yes (it does the country no good to add law upon law in a certain area; you end up tying yourself in knots, and it's sometimes better to tear it all down and rewrite from the ground up, especially if the older legislation is so archaic it can't react to changed circumstances).

PUBLIC HEALTH
• Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
• Repeal the Alcopops tax.
• Repeal plain cigarette packaging, rule it out on alcohol, fast foods etc
• Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labeling


Maybe, yes, yes, maybe. I think there are some aspects of preventative health that could be managed at a national level, but this is surely a matter for a person's general practitioner. The alcopops tax was and is intrusive nanny-statism, as is plain packaging. IMPULSE CONTROL, PEOPLE. And as for food and alcohol labelling, just what labelling does the List Author want?

There are a very few matters on which I find myself disagreeing with the Libertarians. I think the list author is finding the sweeping away of her vested interests very discomfiting. Good. After six years of mismanagement and three hundred billion dollars' worth of fiscal rape by the left, the nation cannot afford much of what this stupid twit would like to retain. Let it burn.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Early analysis.

Early and arguably bound to be wrong in the end, because

(a) A substantial proportion of ballots remains uncounted (there were three million postal and prepoll votes out of about 15 million electors).

(b) The Senate makeup isn't settled yet, at least as regards minor parties.

First of all, of course, the wailing and the hate have begun. Particularly the hate: this fucking disgrace of a page (called "Tony Abbott should be assassinated") exists on Facebook, and I strongly encourage all and sundry to go and report it in the strongest possible terms. I also encourage you all to take a screencap of the thing, just so that the disingenuous murmurs of "What? Where? Nobody did such a thing!" that will no doubt issue when its creators realise their mistake and delete it (or Facebook does it for them) can be rebutted with proof.

Second, Kevin Rudd seems to have retained his place in Parliament (on Greens preferences, if I understand correctly; his chief opponent gathered more primary votes than he did). He claims that he won't re-contest the leadership, but he said that before and look at what happened. I don't believe him for an instant. So long as he's in Parliament he'll be plotting a return to centre-stage, which is where his ego loves (needs?) to be. There will always be some excuse for why it all went sour - possibly "You forced me to an election before I was ready, you fools!" - and a refusal to accept that he was part of the problem. Or much of it. He wasn't all of it by any means. There is an entire party of equally purblind fools behind him, chanting in unison that the cause of their problem was disunity. IT WAS YOUR POLICIES AND BEHAVIOUR, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS.  It was IMO also the attitude they held toward the demographic which was once Labor's heart and soul, blue-collar Australia - you do not get voted back in as a Labor government when you have just spent six years accusing a large swath of your voting base of being dumb-as-dogshit homophobic misogynist racists, and when your by-the-length-of-a-bee's-dick win in 2010 was based on a lie ("There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead") and a pair of turncoats.

Well, the turncoats are gone - retiring rather than staying to cop the thrashing they knew they had coming - but the one lower-house Greens MP, Adam Bandt, has most likely survived. It looks like a couple of his compatriots will not. Again, it's too early to comment on Senate makeup, but the evidence so far suggests that Labor and the Greens have lost their combined Senate majority.

In other words, the strategy of ditching Gillard and "bringing Kevin in to save the furniture" (i.e. preserve that majority in the face of an inevitable Lower House loss) has been a failure. And speaking of failed election strategies, what about the idiocy of Rudd's camp importing three of Obama's campaign strategists to help out with the "social media" aspect? Fearsome thought at first, but once you analysed it, it was always going to be a paper tiger. Why? Let's go into it. (This is of course written after the event, but I've said a lot at Catallaxy Files on the same theme, so I think I'm safe from any serious accusations of "retrospectoscopy".)

The Obama team had the advantage (on its home ground) of knowing who was registered Democrat or Republican, which - while not an absolute guarantee of voting intentions, as proved by the good ole' boy who before the 2008 Presidential Election declared that he was "voting for the nigger" - gave them useful targets for directed advertising. Australia does not have partisan registration (and hopefully never will) and this vital datum was lacking. They had the advantage (on their home ground) of being able to concentrate on getting ONE guy across the line on national issues; in Australia they had to get 76 guys (and gals) across the line based on a complex mixture of state, national and local issues in order for their One Guy to count. And finally there was no ability to rely on a concentrated ethnic voting bloc (the likes of which does not exist in Australia) or to mobilise a wave of otherwise uninterested electors who might otherwise not have bothered (because they are all obliged to bother, something else I hope remains). Finally, the Australian and American systems of government are substantially different, even though they are both bicameral democracies.

Getting back to Bandt, though, he is very much today's rooster made tomorrow's feather duster. The result his party had hoped for - a Hung Parliament, with the Greens holding the balance of power in the Lower House (effectively both Houses) - has evaporated, as did a large percentage of their overall support. He is now irrelevant, and can do nothing more than beat his fists in impotent fury against the harsh brick wall of a Liberal/National majority. I would like to go out on a limb here and predict that this second term will be his last; that he will find such fist-beating not to his liking, and will find an excuse to leave rather than re-contest at the next election. Whether he goes so far as to walk out early and cause a by-election for the seat is quite another matter. If that happens, it will probably fall to Labor - it was safe Labor before he came in, but I suspect the demographic of the area has changed radically (a whole lot of Greenie types seeking the comfortable inner-city latte culture they love so much) - unless another Green feels like having a go.

We live in interesting times, but the far-left block lunacy of the Greens would seem at this point to have been replaced with a gaggle of centre-to far-right small parties and Independents which will not stand for any of the bullshit that the Greens were able to foist on Labor (or give Labor the cover of having had them foisted) and thence on the Nation.

While not normally a heartless chap, I shall enjoy watching the wailing and gnashing of teeth of those whose government-sponsored Gravy Train is about to come to a sudden and violent stop.