The Lemmings And The Cliff

Sorry, but I couldn’t help myself.

We’re now down to just 99 days until the Federal election. And for 99% of the Australian community, it just can’t come quickly enough. For those planning to vote for the coalition, it’s a simple case of wanting to be rid of this toxic government as soon as possible. For the die-hard Labor supporter, it’s a matter of ending the agony.

The smell of death is thick in the air around Canberra. Former Labor power broker Graham Richardson put it memorably in this article last week, comparing Federal Labor’s reaction to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief. In fact, two Labor MHRs, Alan Griffin and Daryl Melham—the former who holds his seat by a comfortable 7%—have already packed up their parliamentary offices, effectively declaring to their constituents that they concede the election, and there’s really no point voting for them at all. Such defeatism is becoming increasingly widespread among Labor ranks, as panic takes hold and a climate of every-man-for-himself becomes the order of the day.

Recent Caucus meeting shows Labor members somewhat pessimistic

Those who are fighting on, are doing all they can to distance themselves from the Labor brand. Take Jason Clare, the Member for Blaxland: Paul Keating’s old seat in Sydney’s deepest Labor heartland. Here are his campaigners, all decked out in the Liberals’ royal blue!

Labor In Blue

Wearing the enemy’s uniform, all right: the word “Labor” is conspicuously absent from the T-shirts, posters, flyers and other promotional material. And while Blaxland itself, centred around Bankstown with its extraordinarily high level of welfare dependency, is likely to remain in the red column, Labor’s Western Sydney, as I described back in March, is set to lose eight federal seats to the Liberals, just as they did two years ago at state level.

Says it all: The West is capitalist now: Labor in red, Coalition in blue.

In Queensland, the situation for Labor is even more dire. Polls now show a repeat of last year’s state elections, in which Labor’s vote fell so low (gaining only 7 of the state house’s 89 seats)  that under Australian electoral law they no longer even qualify as a political party for purposes of funding. Projections now indicate that Ministers Craig Emerson and Wayne Swan, Parliamentary Secretaries Yvette D’ath, Shayne Neumann and Bernie Ripoll, as well as Government Whip Graham Perrett, will all lose their seats, leaving—in an outcome that is either supremely ironic or poetically just—former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as Labor’s sole Queensland representative in Canberra’s Lower House.

Of the senior Labor ministers that have experience in a genuine reformist government of adults—that is, the Hawke-Keating government of 1983-1996—Gillard has purged them all. Former Labor leader Simon Crean left the ministry after taking it on himself to call a leadership spill to resolve the ongoing instability created by Rudd; Martin Ferguson, who during the Hawke-Keating years was leader of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, went further, resigning from parliament altogether. One of the last great Labor figures, his dignified and emotional resignation speech to the House last week was as contrasted by the thinly-veiled nastiness and damned-with-faint-praise response of his Prime Minister, as it was matched by Tony Abbott’s heartfelt, gracious and statesman-like reply: a man clearly ready to lead the nation:

And so the countdown continues. But it is not without worrying portents. As Queensland is today, Australia on September 15th is set to become, for all intents and purposes, a one-party state. This is most definitely not a good thing for Australian democracy, which has always worked best with strong centre-left and centre-right parties in balance. In days gone by, senior members of both major parties were in fact in agreement on a wide range of issues of public policy and good governance; where there was disagreement, it was debated in our national forum, with a distinctly Australian passion, wit, humour, and intellectual honesty; far from the shrill name-calling and personal abuse that passes for debate in today’s Party House.

We need a parliament peopled by Australians of diverse working backgrounds and not career politicians; my own local member, Dick Adams, as a former shearer, is one of the few government members left with a traditional Labor background. Not one Labor member of the Lower House lives outside a greater metropolitan area. Our parliament needs career professionals, teachers, doctors, policemen, farmers, barristers, small business owners, tradesmen and shop stewards, and not the economics-law and “studies” graduates and union hacks that in recent years have formed much of the Canberra claque that have insulated themselves from everyday Australian life and have earned the contempt of the general public, which they presume to rule and not serve.

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25 Responses to The Lemmings And The Cliff

  1. cartoonmick says:

    And to sum up the situation, the problem is not in the politics, it’s the politicians.

    Both sides are sadly lacking in talent. We should have a clean sweep, remove the lot, and start all over again with some “common sense” ground rules.

    Mainstream Oz media could also do with a damn good scrub and mouth wash.

    Back to the politicians, maybe this cartoon of mine depicts the basic problem…..



    G’day Mick, and welcome to LibertyGibbert; I probably should have added cartoonists to the list of professions we need in parliament! Oz

  2. cartoonmick says:

    Thanks for the fine thought, but cartoonists are probably better value being left to make political comment with their cartoons and hi-lighting politicians antics.
    Keep up the good work,

    I suppose you’re right, Mick; the more cartoons the merrier. Check the blogroll at the right of the page: I’ve been a fan of Larry Pickering since I was a kid; Fenbeagle over in England is one of our community who now has a blog of his own – Oz

  3. Kitler says:

    Heavens you are so backwards, you should follow America’s lead and rig the elections so well that 108% of voters in one Ohio district voted for the POTUS. Vote early vote often and don’t let death stop you voting either and if that doesn’t work buy the Diebold corporation.
    Actually it’s refreshing to know that somewhere in the world the corruption isn’t as bad as it is here and elections mean something. There may be hope for the world yet.

  4. Ozboy says:

    Further to the rise in Australia of a class of self-appointed “ruling elite”, journalist Nick Cater has just released his latest work, The Lucky Culture. According to Cater, one of the best measures of affinity with the “chattering class” is the Kenny Index.

    For the non-Australians, this is a reference to Kenny, a 2006 mockumentary which follows the daily grind and philosophical musings of a plumber who installs portable toilets for public events. Do yourself a favour and rent a copy, because it’s one of the funniest movies you’ll ever see.

    The Kenny Index is the ratio of lawyers to plumbers in a given geographical region. In this blog post, Cater breaks down the lawyer:plumber ratio by federal electorate. An L/P ratio of greater than 2 (that is, twice as many lawyers as plumbers) indicates the “chattering classes”. He also includes the Greens primary vote in the 2010 election (always higher in the CC electorates). I have extended it further in this Excel spreadsheet, adding Member name and party affiliation (and lowered the L/P threshold to 1).

    If you were to analyse the Australian House of Representatives and Senate, you would have a Kenny Index of ∞, the ultimate chattering class, because the place is swarming with lawyers and not a plumber in sight. A pity, because all the lawyers in the country put together don’t seem to know how to extricate us from the poo we’re in right now. I reckon Kenny’s moment may well have arrived.

  5. Ozboy says:

    …and today the speculators are out in force in the MSM. Current scuttlebutt is that Gillard will be approached to resign (she won’t), Rudd will take over and move the election forward to about three weeks’ hence. This story is typical of many today:

    Even Catallaxy is in on the fun:

    Could be something to do with the fact today’s a public holiday down here, and no-one can think of anything better to write about. It’s all too late, anyway: the die is cast.

  6. Ozboy says:

    James’ current article on “Trougher” Yeo in England served to remind me: “troughing” is a phenomenon common to ruling elite the world over. Former Australian Treasurer Peter Costello puts it masterfully in today’s Melbourne Herald-Sun.

  7. Luton Ian says:

    as Izen doesn’t appear to be around to argue in favour of the kindly and well meaning jackboot on your face…

    If Acton’s dictum (all power corrupts…) is true
    Then why the hand wringing when those who are allowed positions of power – are found to be corrupt?

    Surely the answer is to render the positions impotent, rather than to try to find that great oxymoron; and honest politician, and watch as the inevitable happens yet again.

    Hi Ian,

    If I recall, we’ve had this discussion before (a fairly standard debate in Libertarian circles). I want the Leviathan in an iron-bound cage. You’re in favour of slaying the beast entirely. I presume that, were the latter to be the case, your explanation of how the law of the jungle wouldn’t take over, would have nothing to do with Izen’s “complex adaptive self-organizing systems”? Oz 😉

  8. Luton Ian says:

    I was going to deposit these in Kitler’s litter tray – but the komments are closed

    We’re all “criminals” now

    and how is it that all the libertarian nut jobs turn out to be something else -in this case one hell of a vindictive leftie spouse;

  9. Kitler says:

    Luton Ian which is why the 19th amendment should be repealed.

  10. Luton Ian says:

    @ Oz
    only slaying (or in your case, slimming down and caging) the fictitious idea – certainly not the individual folks who labour under and infest that fiction.

    -just so our new friends, whom we’ve still to meet, working in GCHQ, and various locations in Eastern Virginia and such like places, understand the nuances of libertarian language and don’t spin off on some tangent of projecting statist speak meanings onto us.

    I see the liberals have played into Julia’s hands again with the sheep shearer humour “gillard Quail” on the menu “small breast, massive thighs and a big red box” giz a tinny Bruce.

    as if (likely true) accusations of sexism, trump (allegedly true) accusations of corruption, kiddie fiddling and heavens knows what else…

    perhaps in a democracy they do?

    What a load of BS is that confected outrage over a menu card. What that story conveniently didn’t tell you was that a) the menu joke was done by a friend who wasn’t even a member of Brough’s LNP party, b) Brough didn’t see – or approve – of the menu before the event (a party fund-raiser – why should he?), c) the menu was in fact never shown or distributed at the event (as this link confirms) and d) this event took place back in March, and the Fairfax media has sat on it till today, when Gillard launched her ill-conceived sexist attack on “men in blue ties”. What a coincidence. The story is a bagatelle, a deliberate distraction, nothing more.

    The MSM have abandoned even a pretence of impartial reporting, and have cast themselves as Gillard’s re-election media strategists. Pathetic – Oz

  11. izen says:

    Izen tried to post this yesterday, but for somereason it dissappeared into the aether and I ended up posting it elsewhere…

    I cannot raise much enthusiasm or interest in which faction of unproductive narcistsist are gaining the upper had in a local election ( sorry Oz!) but I do wonder if there is a ‘libertarian view’ on privacy in response to the NSA monitoring story.

    Not a new story, does nobody remember Stellar Wind and room 641a.
    Bush II bypassed the FISA to collect all calls, emails and texts after 9/11 to monitor foreign agents, but people involved in the program revealed that they kept monitoring journalists… To exclude them as people who often contacted foreign sources!

    Only the politically naive could think that the program actually stopped when it was exposed in 2008.

    No modern government finds it acceptable for its citizens, or subjects, to be able to communicate secretly with other citizens or foreign sources. The content of any communication can be secret, but the fact that the communication occurred must be information that the government can access.
    This was one of the problems the Blackberry phone and messaging system encountered. india especially objected to the strong encryption on the Blackberry messaging system that prevented government from knowing the source, destination and time of any messages being sent.

    Pattern recognition programs that spot the type of communications made by terrorists, activist, journalists and sexual deviants only need the source, destination and time of any call, email, message or clicked link to detect a ‘threat’ to the state. Reading the content is not required to detect suspicious activity. Anybody that thinks that their emails and intenet use plus phone and messaging activity is being read is paranoid and ignoring the logistical problems of analysis that much data. But it is not paranoid to assume that both the governments and commercial organisations are collecting the source, destination and time of all online and phone activity.


    Can’t blame your lack of enthusiasm; no apology necessary – Oz

  12. Luton Ian says:

    As an attempt to tie Oz’ remark about a blatantly partizan lamestream press, and Izen’s about the snooping together,

    Was there anything tricky Dicky Nixon’s regime did which the present commie in chief’s hasn’t also been caught doing?

    Was there anything Bush the dumber’s did which the present narcissist hasn’t continued doing (gitmo, patriot act, too big to fail, QE…)?

    The difference?

    The lamestream press give those who use the jackboot that’s on your face in the name of socialism, their backing.

  13. Luton Ian says:

    I saw this and thought of you
    I think you’ll like it

    I think so too – Oz

  14. izen says:

    @-“I saw this and thought of you
    I think you’ll like it ”

    I’m flattered, I think?grin?

    A bit… thin?
    Rather skims over a big subject of language, speech and sentience to somehow conclude all this stuff about how we do things with language validates a concept of methodological individualism in the Austrian school tradition?

    The start of the essay mentions the concept of ‘speech acts’, credits J L Austin, but omits the context of ideas about identity and intentionality which lead to collectivist ideas I doubt the Rothbardians would relish.
    It seems to skim over the wholelanguage battle with Chomsky, innate grammar and universal concepts; paradigm that got ground down by new ideas of memetic evolution, the paucity of empirical evidence, and advances in neurobiology that invalidate underlying assumptions about what one individual can ‘know’ about the inner state and intentions of another.

    My grasp of how the article tries to link speech acts, language development and Bastiats binary zero sum ideas was limited by my grasp of the ‘Austrian School’ philosophy that provides the context.

    But to claim that the implicit assumption in our use of language is the explicit recognition of our and others autonomous individuality is a stretch. Language is also the perfect paradigm of the human collective. They are shared, they are a key identifier of the community. From tribal to international level local dialects and America-English pronounced with Asian accent can define the multitude of collectives that exist, and membership of those groups..

    Languages expand and develop with the expansion and development of communal societies. written language emerges from city states along with religion and kings. Trade requires a common language. All this hardly seems good foundations for claiming that talking to each other is evidence that absolute individual autonomy is at the root of all value.

    Okay so it has prompted a wall of words, another enjoyable wonder round the fringes of the epistemology of structuralism as a coherent philosophy and I can see absolutely NO way of linking this back to Gillard and the lemmings, sorry OZ, this off topic divergence is all Ian’s fault with your encouragement!

    @- “The lamestream press give those who use the jackboot that’s on your face in the name of socialism, their backing.”

    And some Socialist might say the same with the substitution of capitalism.
    I think its a difficult position to maintain given… well just MURDOch for example (there are others)
    The MSM support the extant power. They may also play a role in conferring and validating it.
    I wonder which autonomous individual is using the speech act of MSM to make their Misesian value judgement. ?!

  15. Luton Ian says:

    Hmmm, I’m not so sure that the lamestream were quite so supportive of Tricky Dicky Nixon when he was the extant power and had been caught doing what the big zero’s regime have been caught doing.

    I’m too young to remember the media storm (I remember Tricky going), but others remember it
    here’s Firehand’s take in the comments

  16. Luton Ian says:

    Now back to the Gizzard*

    As Oz has shown us with links, the lamestream are proving very supportive of her.

    fortunately the future cannot be linked to, however it looks like the ensconced powers whom the lamestream in Oz land are sucking up to – won’t be there for much longer, and likely won’t be back there for a number of years.

    I’m sure the next temporary Luis xiv and their little Colberts will continue to extend special privilege to the lamestream

    but backing the current shower hardly appears to be a rational action

    political bias seems a much more satisfactory explanation.

    *poultry references can be non misogynist

  17. Luton Ian says:

    how do individuals choosing to cooperate somehow imply a borg like collective?

    The bit I thought you’d like was the emergent order part.

    Chomsky is a bit of an odd one – he seems to be a marxoid, but it was the an caps who published him. His socialist central planning model of a “language module”, doesn’t seem to hold up very well. Got to admit that the neuroscience and cognitive psychology of language is an area I only learned about by listening to friends trying to work out how to test hypotheses about where language resides in the brain – without access to an MRI scanner

    Click to access SetolaReillyBandL.pdf

  18. Luton Ian says:

    Time for a little hactivism
    I’ve just opened a new email account – with a provider who isn’t in the united state.

    obviously it is no guarantee against snooping by statist goons, from there or else where, but I have sent feedback to my old provider (yahoo) telling them why

    hopefully that information will get to their advertisers too.

    my next step is to go for one of the varieties of linux which publishes its source code – to show it has no spy ware built in.

    It’s a miniscule start, but hopefully if others do likewise, then the united state will be forced to consider which of its chosen evils – authoritarianism or crony mercantilism, it prefers.

    I have zero hope of it renouncing both for old style free market and small (or even better no) leviathan.

  19. Kitler says:

    Luton Ian it’s not your service provider that’s the issue they can scan all the traffic and read whats in it, as for Linux based operating systems again it will be harder for them to read your information on your PC but they will especially on the more popular flavours of the operating system as it’s open source they can read the code and figure out it’s vulnerability’s and it will have them. Or they will masquerade as program providers or offer free tools for your use. Personally they have already begun to kill the internet by banning lots of people from popular sites and making them very very boring, so people say sod it and go and do something else involving common kitchen appliances.
    I think Western civilization is close to collapse and will end not with a bang but with a total apathetic whimper.

  20. Luton Ian says:

    There’ll be riots alright when the state sector pay checks and the entitlement scheme payouts all bounce.

  21. izen says:

    @- Luton Ian
    “how do individuals choosing to cooperate somehow imply a borg like collective?
    The bit I thought you’d like was the emergent order part.”

    I liked the fact they acknowledged language is an emergent system.
    I did not like the fact they misrepresented the type of emergent complexity and the implications of that.
    The ideologically dogmatic assertion that as an emergent order it was inevitably unresponsive or damaged by central control is a logical non-sequitar.

    Nobody chooses to cooperate in learning and shaping the language they use. It is imposed by the historical contingency of the society they are born into. Its as much an imposed system as the borg nanotech and an assumption that just because it follows evolutionary pathways it is resistant to centrally directed control is about as silly as claiming that biological evolution prevents domestication and selective breeding.

    isolated languages spoken by small groups mutate very rapidly. literacy slows change, but trade and encountering other languages and cultures expands and complexifies language. All of these are collective effects, emergent from groups of individuals but causally independent of any one person.

    Reflect on the fact that one of the very first examples we have of written language is that anathema to libertarians, the regulation and taxation of the market by government.
    “Nearly one-half of the Code deals with matters of contract, establishing, for example, the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon. Other provisions set the terms of a transaction, establishing the liability of a builder for a house that collapses, for example, or property that is damaged while left in the care of another. …Only one provision appears to impose obligations on an official;

    @-“Got to admit that the neuroscience and cognitive psychology of language is an area I only learned about by listening to friends trying to work out how to test hypotheses about where language resides in the brain – without access to an MRI scanner”

    interesting link tho, and clever way to examine how word meaning might be physically encoded in the brain without direct measurement! Interesting that speech may activate some of the same, or similar neural pathways as mirror neuron systems.

    Oliver Sachs in ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat’ (I think) tells a story of a ward of patient with significant brain damage from strokes etc, similar damage, but on different sides of the brain, watching a speech by Ronald Reagan. Those with right hemisphere damage could understand the dictionary meaning of words and parse the grammar of a sentence but were blind to the emotional tone of the speech or the emotional weight of the language. Those with left hemisphere damage were unable to decode the meaning of the words but could read the emotional content.

    The right damage people were puzzled. To them the speech seemed an arbitrary sequence of statements or claims with no coherent meaning. To the left damaged it seemed funny. there were big shifts of emotional import with no apparent cause or reason, serious to casual and accusatory to congratulatory without rhyme or reason.

    Only the staff who were able to process and combine the emotional and declarative aspects of the speech found it meaningful.

    Posting of links with no hint of their content is impolite, at least give a title or quote so that all can see the context. In retaliation; however with a hint, nothing political in this link, it just explains how telepathy works! -grin-

    And for more in the same vein for all the players of music –
    “Using duet guitar playing as a paradigm, we identified coupled activity in the alpha and beta frequency ranges within and between two brains. Notably, and as predicted, the directionality of the observed couplings varied as a function of the musical roles of leader and follower. “

  22. Luton Ian says:

    Breaking news from Britain on the runaway school girl and teacher:

    Seems the girl has the balls to stand by her action. good for her, she’s probably more of a man than he is.

    I’m not sure what the state is going to do to him.

  23. Luton Ian says:


    I’d be interested in your opinions on these suggested alternatives to prism enabled quizzling ware

  24. Luton Ian says:

    Thinking on from what this graun article says about “inadvertantly gathered info”

    Is that what the google cars were up to when they drove around hoovering up any wireless activity?

    was that the purpose of the google cars driving around in the first place?

    I’m suddenly a whole lot less sympathetic to Google over its UK tax bill.

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