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Federal Election 2016

Apr 20, 2014

Seats of the week: Mayo and Sturt

After going through a lax period, Seat of the Week plays catch-up with a double-header featuring two Liberal seats in South Australia.

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Mayo

Blue and red numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for Liberal and Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Based around the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island, Mayo was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984 from territory which had mostly been covered by Barker, which was compensated for its losses by absorbing the Riverland from the abolished seat of Angas. All areas concerned are strongly conservative, with Labor never having held Mayo, Barker or Angas. It presently extends southwards from Kersbrook, 22 kilometres to the north-east of Adelaide, through Mount Barker and McLaren Vale to Goolwa at the mouth of the Murray River, and westwards to the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.

Alexander Downer entered parliament as the seat’s inaugural member in 1984, his father Sir Alec Downer having been member for Angas from 1949 to 1963. The only threat to Downer’s hold on the seat over the next 24 years was the strength of the Australian Democrats in the Adelaide Hills, which became a live concern in 1998 when John Schumann, former lead singer of folk group Redgum (of “I Was Only Nineteen” fame), increased the Democrats vote from 12.4% to 22.4% to overtake the Labor candidate and fall 1.7% short of victory after the distribution of their preferences. The Democrats polled a more typical 14.8% in 2001, before collapsing to 1.8% in 2004. As well as bringing an end his 11-year career as Foreign Minister, the November 2007 election reduced Downer’s margin against Labor to single figures for the first time, following a swing of 6.5%. Downer stepped down from the front bench after the election defeat and announced his resignation from parliament the following July, initiating a by-election held in September.

The Liberal preselection was won by Jamie Briggs, who had worked in the Prime Minister’s Office as chief adviser on industrial relations, giving him a politically uncomfortable association with the unpopular WorkChoices policies. With the backing of Downer and John Howard, Briggs won the preselection vote in the seventh round by 157 to 111 over the party’s recently ousted state leader Iain Evans, who remains a senior figure in the state parliamentary party as member for Davenport. Among the preselection also-rans was housing mogul Bob Day, who reacted to his defeat by running as the candidate of Family First, for which he would eventually be elected a Senator in 2013. Labor did not contest the by-election, but Briggs was given a run for his money by Lynton Vonow of the Greens and independent Di Bell, a local anthropologist who had the backing of Nick Xenophon. With the Liberal vote falling from 51.1% to 41.3%, most of the non-Liberal vote split between the Greens (21.4%), Di Bell (16.3%) and Bob Day (11.4%). The distribution of preferences from Day and others left Vonow leading Bell 28.2% to 24.1% at the second-last count, with Briggs finishing 3.0% clear of Vonow after distribution of Bell’s preferences.

Briggs had no difficulties winning re-election in 2010, when he prevailed with a near-identical margin to Downer’s in 2007, or in 2010, when the margin returned to double-digit territory after a 5.2% swing. He won promotion to shadow parliamentary secretary in September 2012, emerging the beneficiary of the one minor reshuffle of the term occasioned by Senator Cory Bernardi’s resignation. After the 2013 election victory he was promoted to the outer ministry as Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Sturt

Blue and red numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for Liberal and Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Christopher Pyne’s electorate of Sturt covers the inner eastern suburbs of Adelaide, including Payneham, Kensington, Tranmere and Skye east of the city, Klemzig, Campbelltown, Paradise and Highbury to the north, and Glenunga, Glen Osmond and Beaumont to the south. When created in 1949 it also covered northern Adelaide, which after 1955 formed the basis of the new electorate of Bonython (eventually to be abolished in 2004). The loss of this territory made Sturt notionally Liberal, prompting Labor member Norman Makin – who had gained Sturt from the Liberals at the 1954 election – to contest the new seat, which was very safe for Labor. Sturt has since been won by Labor only at the 1969 election, when a 15.0% swing secured a narrow victory for Norman Foster. South Australia bucked the national trend of the 1972 election in swinging slightly to the Liberals, enabling Ian Wilson to recover the seat he had lost at the previous election.

Wilson thereafter retained the seat by margins of between 2.0% and 10.3% until the 1993 election, when he was defeated for preselection by Christopher Pyne, a 25-year-old former staffer to Senator Amanda Vanstone. Pyne was already emerging as a powerbroker in the party’s moderate faction, and won promotion to shadow parliamentary secretary a year after entering parliament. However, he would have to wait until the Howard government’s final year in office to achieve ministerial rank, which was widely put down to his closeness to Peter Costello. Following the November 2007 election defeat he ran for the deputy leadership, finishing in third place with 18 votes behind Julie Bishop on 44 and Andrew Robb on 25. He served in high-profile positions on the opposition front bench over the next few years, first in justice and border protection under Brendan Nelson, then in education, apprenticeships and training under Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. In February 2009 he further gained the important role of manager of opposition business, to the chagrin of the party’s Right.

Pyne’s hold on Sturt came under serious threat at Labor’s electoral high-water mark in 2007 and 2010, his margin being cut on the former occasion from 6.8% to 0.9%. He did well on the latter to secure the seat with a swing of 2.5%, going against the trend of a statewide swing to Labor of 0.8%, and was safely re-elected with a further swing of 6.5% in 2013. Since the election of the Abbott government he has served as Education Minister and Leader of the House.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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1368 comments

1,368 thoughts on “Seats of the week: Mayo and Sturt

  1. guytaur

    rex

    Maybe. If so it will be a stronger Labor and stronger Greens.

    The loss of the centre the LNP have ceded will show

  2. guytaur

    “@AustralianLabor: “By July we will launch a one click online joining process, nothing less will do.” @billshortenmp #rebuildlabor #auspol”

  3. guytaur

    “@AustralianLabor: “…every supporter should be able to become a Labor member in minutes, not months.” @billshortenmp #rebuildlabor #auspol”

  4. guytaur

    @farrm51: The nub of Bill Shorten’s message to the ALP: Change or die. http://t.co/g7MOT0HM7w

  5. lizzie

    Rex D

    Why do you say that?

  6. CTar1

    BH

    A ‘sock’ story:

    One Sunday my nephew, his wife and 4 small female’s (between about 2 and 8 at the time) at my place having lunch.

    The first thing I do on arriving home is to ditch shoes.

    The smallish of the clan always gets hers off and lines them up next to mine at the kitchen bench.

    While they’re still ingesting lunch I sneak out to have a cigarette.

    Smallish one turns up in the courtyard to berate me, not about smoking, but for going outside in socks!

  7. guytaur

    “@AustralianLabor: “If you don’t engage in politics, you’ll be governed by vested interests…” @billshortenmp #rebuildlabor #auspol”

  8. zoomster

    briefly

    I’m by no means commited to a point of view here, just exploring ideas….

    [Competition stimulates lowered prices, better quality and better services.]

    Lower prices – I don’t see that that is necessarily so.

    Take this scenario (using, of course, the time honoured example of a widget) — five companies set out to make widgets. They must all buy much the same plant, hire a building of roughly the same size, hire the same number of workers, and have the same amount of administration.

    One company – replacing all five – can buy a bigger machine, with the same output of all the five put together, which will be cheaper (that being the nature of these things) to buy and probably operate than all five individual plants running at once.

    They only need one building, not five; their workforce will not be five times that of the firms they replace; and they will not need five times the amount of administration (there be little or no difference between selling one hundred and one thousand widgets, paperwork wise).

    And, of course, these economies of scale operate throughout the system, from purchasing (in greater bulk) the materials needed to make the widget, to distributing the widgets more efficiently.

    2. Better quality – possibly. But, arguably (and based on the small workshops I’ve observed) the race to provide the cheapest item can reduce quality.

    3. Better service – again, possibly. But that’s not an argument about cost.

    [If monopolies were intrinsically better than competitive markets, the USSR would still be a going concern.]

    A bit of a false analogy, given that I’m talking about Standard Oil, an American company.

    The reason monopolies don’t exist in our system isn’t because they weren’t successful, but because capitalism abhors them as a concept, and most capitalist systems prohibit them.

    Thus Standard Oil – and later, Microsoft – were targetted for dispersal not because they weren’t successful but purely because they were monopolies and thus anti competitive.

    In other words, they were done in by ideology, not because their business models had failed, or they couldn’t thrive in a capitalistic world.

    The ACCC basically exists to try and avoid monopolies happening.

    [Another is that the economy as a whole benefits from having a diversity of enterprises as the system will have more resilience and dynamism.]

    Agreed. But there’s also a downside to this.

    A diversity of enterprises creates winners and losers. A successful company either drives its competitors from the market or greatly impacts on their ability to survive. There’s a real human cost in that — indicated by the 80% of small business owners who go bust annually.

    The price of competition is thus wasted money, wasted resources and wasted lives.

  9. fredex

    Astrobleme
    [ I have worked in Public and Private sector, but haven’t really noticed any real efficiency difference – perhaps it’s not evident in my line of work.]

    Oh dog I’ve noticed a huge difference in my line of work.

    Incoming rant.

    20 years ago 3 of us started up our irrigation business and promptly struck numerous/dozens/even more than that, examples of private businesses’ inefficiencies that we would never have tolerated in our various public services.

    Just about every involvement we had with private companies and businesses was stymied in one way or several by business practices that were inexcusable.

    For example, ‘expert consultants’ recommending equipment of various types that was incapable of performing the required tasks as carefully stated, appointments not kept, supplies promised but later found to be ‘unavailable’, overruns on time and costs usual rather than rare … all of these were, still are, ‘normal’ SOP.

    We had to rapidly adjust our mindset that had been used to punctuality, reliability of promises, accuracy of advice.
    We had to double check, even triple check everything carefully, we had dozens of conversations along the lines of “Do you have such and such a pump part in stock? Could you please go and check your stock now whilst will we wait on the phone – could you label it ‘To be picked up at 11am tomorrow with date by so and so ..thank you.”
    And then – ring back before driving to that shop – “Do you have a spare part under the counter put there by Bill yesterday labelled …?” before wasting a trip there to find nothing at the end.
    Over 20 years we must have had a 100 or more examples of such.
    We learned to winnow out those companies whose equipment was faulty [I can recommend a couple of pump manufactures but not others], service providers who did actually deliver the service they promised. For example pump repair and maintenance businesses dwindled down to one that eventually shifted out of reach and finally to one and one only. We travelled 150 kms , bypassing a half dozen plus others who had promised and failed, to the one mob that can be relied upon to fix a problem in a given time at a quoted price and that because the owner/manager is acutely aware of his obligations to his customers.

    The most recent example I had was a couple of months ago when a pump failed [after 18 years of hard yakka that was reasonable] and I used a local business [which I usually try to do], but that was a mistake.
    They gave me the wrong address, they had shifted premises a few weeks earlier but the website and phone book and the boss bloke on the phone didn’t mention it, didn’t answer their phone in the next couple of days, supplied the pump days late, had no customer name on it when it did arrive, quoted the wrong price, didn’t supply the extra widget as requested, weren’t there when I arrived as scheduled and the lad there had no knowledge of anything but managed to find it after an hour of looking.
    A morning wasted that didn’t need to be wasted.
    I won’t deal with them again.

    Sorry about all that but the realization that ‘private efficiency’ is a myth and fallacy came at a cost.

  10. Rex Douglas

    lizzie

    I think most Australians occupy the centre-right.

  11. Libertarian Unionist

    [In an ‘ideal’ world, a monopoly can produce an item more cheaply than several companies competing against each other.

    This is a fallacy. Competition stimulates lowered prices, better quality and better services…]

    Yes, if it’s free and informed competition, which for many goods it is (e.g. bulk commodities, standard factor inputs to industry, electricity generation, etc).

    [As well, monopolistic production will only result in lower unit costs if increasing returns to scale exist…

    Aside from a very few exceptions, beyond a certain point, there are usually negative returns to scale, which is to say that in general both the producers and consumers of products benefit from competition. This is one reason why this economy should be de-monopolised.]

    I hear this kind of reasoning a fair bit, and I respectfully don’t agree with it, for a few reasons.

    1. Businesses tend to have high fixed costs and low marginal costs. As such, it strikes me that most are operating on the downward-sloping section of their cost average total cost curves, and even if there are dis-economies of scale, many companies haven’t reached them yet.

    2. When decreasing economies of scale do hit, why wouldn’t the budding oligarch open another plant?

    3. Without the recent and near-universal macro policies of inflation targeting and QE, we would probably have seen nominal price deflation over the last 10 years, which (I think) indicates at least some scale effects in globally traded markets.

    Overall, though, the role of competition in reducing prices is overstated because the conditions necessary for this mechnism to work are all to often not present in a market. That is, there is significant market power and/or asymmetric information.

    On the contrary, competition’s role in driving innovation and product/service differentiation, which destroys existing markets and constantly disrupts the production process is very evident in the Australian manufacturing landscape at present.

    On a broader note, in my final year of uni, after completing the standard economic training that any BEcon would, I had some very interesting discussions wrt evolutionary framings of economic systems with some of my more worldly educators. The argument was: In nature, we see one species for each niche. In economic theory, we assume that there are limited niches and many firms competing in them – why? Mathematical/analytical convenience?

    Now what happens to an economy undergoing a significant transition in its composition – if you significantly alter a biological landscape, some of the existing species adapt, but most are replaced; however, and more importantly, in the transient phase, there is a loss of biological activity…

    I’ll leave it to you to complete the analogy, with bonus points if you can include a reference to the “Cambridge capital controversy”, since Joan Robinson was referred to earlier 😉

  12. guytaur

    “@AustralianLabor: “The Labor Party is not the political arm of any one group alone…” @billshortenmp #rebuildlabor #auspol”

  13. Rex Douglas

    Will be interesting to see how the MSM filter runs with this speech.

  14. BH

    Ah, lizzie, I luvs ya. Thought I was the only twit to hang colours together ♡

    Bill Shorten mentioning horror stories of lost membership paperwork. In NSW last Dec/Jan a lot of volunteer help was involved in renewal of membership. There were lots of stuffups so maybe a paid position is needed.

  15. deblonay

    Centre

    ALP-RIP

    The Greens Forever(Caves are quite comfortable and low on maintainence too)

  16. guytaur

    “@joshgnosis: One-click membership sign-up? If they’re adopting Amazon policies will Labor membership be delivered by drone, too?”

  17. guytaur

    “@AustralianLabor: “If you have betrayed the trust of your members… We don’t want you, get out.” @billshortenmp #rebuildlabor #auspol”

  18. guytaur

    “@DrCraigEmerson: At @ABCNews24 studio, ready to be interviewed on Bill Shorten’s reform proposals.”

  19. Rex Douglas

    Has Bill Shorten got anything positive to say about unions ??

  20. Libertarian Unionist

    [Thus Standard Oil – and later, Microsoft – were targetted for dispersal not because they weren’t successful but purely because they were monopolies and thus anti competitive.]

    Sure, but there’s one more step the argument against monopolies – they can use their market power, that is, their ability to affect the market price, to extract a greater surplus (rent) from the market than several competing firms would.

    The same thing goes for price-fixing cartels, and surely your not in favour of those?

  21. Sir sustainable future

    [I think most Australians occupy the centre-right.]

    It varies across the country. Victoria, Tas, ACT and SA seem to tend to the progressive end of the scale; WA, NT and Qld tend to the right; and NSW seems to be charging ever more rightwards, but mostly both sides in NSW just follow the cash of the big end of town and organised crime, as well as the reactionary bogans of west Sydney. they seem to be dragging the whole nation to the right.

  22. guytaur

    “@latingle: The picture of @billshortenmp on sky talking alp reform keeps getting smaller next to kate and william ‘LIVE’!”

    Good on 24 for sticking with Mr Shorten

  23. zoomster

    LU

    I made that clear that was the problem with monopolies in my first post on this subject.

  24. guytaur

    “@AustralianLabor: “This is about saying to people who don’t have a big block vote behind them… the deck is not stacked” @billshortenmp #rebuildlabor #auspol”

  25. zoomster

    LU

    [The same thing goes for price-fixing cartels, and surely your not in favour of those?]

    And I’m not ‘in favour’ of anything — I’m running a line of argument to see where it leads. I might come out of it believing monopolies are inherently Teh Evil.

    My contention, at its simplest, is that, all things considered, a monopoly should be able to deliver goods to the customer more cheaply than a series of smaller competing firms can. Whether they would in reality is obviously quite different…

  26. BH

    [Smallish one turns up in the courtyard to berate me, not about smoking, but for going outside in socks!]

    Haha Priorities, bless her heart

  27. KEVIN-ONE-SEVEN

    It’s a simple calcuation for bill: he needed the unions to get the top job, but he doesn’t need them to keep it – indeed, they’re an impediment to him getting into the lodge. Ergo… The recent leadership rule changes were really quite revolutionary and delivered the leader astonishing power.

  28. Libertarian Unionist

    Sorry Zoomster, must have missed that.

    To clarify, my point was that rule around anti-competitive behaviour are there for the public benefit – which is an ideology I’m more than happy to be aligned with. In contrast, unfettered and imperfect markets (e.g. containing players with market power) are open to exploitation.

  29. zoidlord

    For those talking about the NBN:
    http://www.zdnet.com/at-and-t-unveils-roadmap-to-bring-fiber-to-100-u-s-cities-7000028606/

    AT&T are now rolling out FTTP.

  30. deblonay

    The state of the UNion
    ________________________
    The US columnist James Kunstler,looks at the dire internal state of the USA ,and says the American people must rise up and break the financial power of the super-rich,and also stop the very costly actions of the US military which he says” goes around the world wrecking countries”top keep itself occupied and seeming to be ..essential to the nation
    and he’s not the only US writer saying so these days
    Great stuff

  31. deblonay

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/whats-been-and-whats-next/
    Kunstler writes on the great probllems of the USA

  32. CTar1

    BH – She is is intelligent and seems to have learned most of what her older sisters know.

    ‘A thing of pleasure can be a joy forever’

    (No doubt a mis-quote!).

  33. guytaur

    “@tveedercom: Transcript: Federal Labor leader @billshortenmp’s speech about @AustralianLabor party reform http://t.co/Jds33uy8kt #auspol”

  34. bemused

    zoomster@1276

    briefly

    I’m by no means commited to a point of view here, just exploring ideas….

    Taking your widget example, technological change has the capability to replace widgets with a cheaper and better product. e.g. the move from CRT TVs to LED screens.

    Otherwise we just keep on producing the same old stuff in much the same old way but with marginal improvements in efficiency.

  35. gloryconsequence

    No follow up from Shorten’s speech on Sky. They’re straight to the royals walking past trees.

  36. guytaur

    “@Thefinnigans: Good on Emmo @DrCraigEmerson on @ABCNews24 for whacking on the head of stupid perennial #Leadershits question”

  37. guytaur

    Now 24 crosses to Royals and I am not concerned. I am very pleased they stuck with Bill Shorten then interviewed Dr Emerson.

    At least one media outlet got priorities right today.

    I am recording my appreciation because I do complain a lot when they do things I think are wrong priorities.

  38. Libertarian Unionist

    [ a monopoly should be able to deliver goods to the customer more cheaply than a series of smaller competing firms can.]

    Oh, now I think I see where there is a breakdown in the point I’m trying to convey.

    Let’s assume monopolist with increasing returns to scale can produce goods cheaper than a collection of smaller independent producers; that is, both its fixed and variable costs for producing an amount of a good are less than for many firms collectively producing the same amount of the good.

    It doesn’t necessarily follow that the firm would then price those goods at that cost in the market, if it were able to make more from exploiting its market power and pushing prices higher.

    Basically, prices don’t have to equal marginal costs of production when there is market power.

    This was the problem identified with MS (I’m not familiar with Standard Oil’s situation) – they were pricing much higher than their costs warranted, but had developed themselves into a quasi-natural monopoly by virtue of the ubiquitous use of the Windows OS (which it’s hard to blame them for).

    But this is the nature of capitalism – a drive to create a niche for oneself and exploit it to the hilt. Sure, good products are developed this way, but the public policy goals in this space are intended to produce benefits for society in general.

  39. ajm

    [I think most Australians occupy the centre-right]
    Most of the attitudinal survey stuff I’ve seen puts them on the centre-left, apart from a couple of issues like boats.

  40. zoidlord

    Oh I heard on radio today, they really stretching the string here.

    ‘we need to make some hard choices, so we need to cut funding to recover the debt’.

    I think this was QLD one (not the federal one).

  41. spur212

    The reason Shorten brings up the issue of union membership in relation to people joining the ALP is because there are probably a lot of people who want to join the ALP but won’t because of that barrier to entry specifically. Saying you don’t need a union membership removes that barrier for these people.

    Keating’s been banging on about this for years!

  42. spur212

    It’s like something has been there the whole time but no one knows about it or doesn’t want to talk about it.

    All Shorten’s doing is pointing that fact out with a symbolic gesture to win over voters.

    Same deal as Rudd in my view albeit Shorten’s been far more factional

  43. Libertarian Unionist

    Bemused:

    [Taking your widget example, technological change has the capability to replace widgets with a cheaper and better product. e.g. the move from CRT TVs to LED screens.]

    That’s exactly right.

    This was also the reason moving from industry-wide bargaining to enterprise bargaining under the Accord.

    Firms innovate, not industries and not individuals working in firms, and wage changes should be able to reflect that. Industry-wide wage negotiations give too much market power to unions (oh, hello Pharmacy Guild!), while individually-negotiated contracts give too much bargaining power to management/capital.

  44. Rex Douglas

    spur212 #1309

    I can see a possible surge in right-minded people joining an ‘open’ ALP for one reason or another…

  45. bemused

    spur212@1309

    The reason Shorten brings up the issue of union membership in relation to people joining the ALP is because there are probably a lot of people who want to join the ALP but won’t because of that barrier to entry specifically. Saying you don’t need a union membership removes that barrier for these people.

    Keating’s been banging on about this for years!

    Sorry, but that is largely not the case.

    It applied only where there was a union covering your occupation and even then lacked any enforcement mechanism and was ignored.

    There is not and never has been such a barrier in my 44 years of ALP membership.

    This is, at most, symbolism.

    I do strongly believe the ALP should encourage its members to join a union where there is one covering their occupation.

  46. briefly

    [The argument was: In nature, we see one species for each niche. In economic theory, we assume that there are limited niches and many firms competing in them – why? Mathematical/analytical convenience?

    Now what happens to an economy undergoing a significant transition in its composition – if you significantly alter a biological landscape, some of the existing species adapt, but most are replaced; however, and more importantly, in the transient phase, there is a loss of biological activity…]

    What is common to both economies and biological fields is that they are systems but this does not mean they are the same kind of thing. For one thing, economies can be changed autonomously – by the exercise of the choices of those within the system. Biological systems do not operate that way, for obvious reasons.

    It’s probably more relevant to see biological systems not as a series of niches but as fields of interdependence and complexity within which the existence of different species results from complimentary adaptation driven by competition for scarce resources.

    We can depict economies in the same way. But there are limits to the value of this analogy. It depends what we’re talking about. In a biological construct, individuals have very limited capacity to “adapt”, though species adapt across generations. Within an economy, adaptation by individuals is a pre-condition for their survival and reproduction. In other words, it is the ability to change from one niche to another or to found completely new ones that defines a firm or its constituents and which permits them to prosper. Such a process is driven by knowledge – by the conscious use of information. By contrast, adaptive processes in biology occur (or not) even though knowledge of them may not exist or be capable of being acquired.

    In this respect, perhaps the single best defining characteristic of an economy is that before anything else it consists of knowledge. This is not true of biological systems.

    I will look onto the Cambridge controversy and report back 🙂

  47. CTar1

    bemused

    [This is, at most, symbolism.]

    Talking about nothing …

  48. bemused

    Libertarian Unionist@1311

    Bemused:


    Taking your widget example, technological change has the capability to replace widgets with a cheaper and better product. e.g. the move from CRT TVs to LED screens.


    That’s exactly right.

    This was also the reason moving from industry-wide bargaining to enterprise bargaining under the Accord.

    Firms innovate, not industries and not individuals working in firms, and wage changes should be able to reflect that. Industry-wide wage negotiations give too much market power to unions (oh, hello Pharmacy Guild!), while individually-negotiated contracts give too much bargaining power to management/capital.

    I have no objection to individually negotiated contracts. Provided there is equality of bargaining power. Unless there is such equality, they should be banned.

  49. briefly

    [1276
    zoomster

    briefly

    I’m by no means commited to a point of view here, just exploring ideas….]

    Me too 🙂

  50. bemused

    CTar1@1315

    bemused


    This is, at most, symbolism.


    Talking about nothing …

    You make a lot of comments like this one which leave me wondering if you agree or disagree. 😛

  51. spur212

    Bemused

    Yes! Symbolism! It’s a perceived barrier to entry. Bill’s just removing it from the “brand”

  52. guytaur

    Clive Palmer speaking in next hour.

  53. sprocket_

    From today’s Crikey newsletter.

    [Halfway through April this year, scientists at Harvard and MIT announced something extraordinary: they had found a way to create solar cells that can store accumulated energy from sunlight, and then — with no more than a burst of a few photons — release that energy in a steady and continuous form. These new types of solar cells — called photoswitches — are made from a form of carbon nanotube called azobenzene, which can exist in two different configurations. One collects energy from the photons that hit it and stores it, another releases it. Because they can be switched from one form to another, the cell is essentially a battery, and this solves many of the problems of storage that arise with a weather-dependent system such as solar.

    The great advantage of such a technology is that it would make possible solar cells that were an utterly stable continuous power supply. When you combine it with work being done elsewhere on solar cells that can perform in cloudy conditions, you have the plan for an entirely stable solar delivery system — indeed, one that is more stable than the large-scale privatised power systems that we currently rely on, subject to mass technical failure, Enron-style credit events, and routine under-maintenance.

    Such technology is small miracle, yet it’s only one examples of dozens of advances occurring as renewable energy technology comes into contact with new materials and starts to be transformed by them. Thus, in the weeks and months before this recent announcement, news in renewables included: a new nanomaterial that can increase solar fuel cell efficiency by up to 80%, a solar-powered hybrid car that can charge up without needing to dock at a recharge station; and a plane the size of a 747 that will be able to fly around the world without refuelling. On every front, the renewables revolution is gaining pace — not merely gaining pace, but accelerating exponentially — and the overwhelming reason for this is new materials.

    Graphene and related forms of carbon have busted open the limits that solar technology hit in the 1990s — limits that made it easy for smug members of the fossil and nuclear lobby to argue that renewables would never be able to supply the energy needs of a modern civilisation. That supposition was based on a crude version of what we might call “molecularism” — a willingness to accept given limits of technology based on the aspects of it that used to be close to us: the limit of the molecule. In that conception, it is easy to see why people could believe that there were limits to the capacities of solar and other renewables. There is no excuse now. The new materials revolution means that anything is possible with regard to renewable energy. The 3D/additive revolution means that we can make machines whereby anyone can print these things out from machines that are themselves powered by this energy. The material revolution makes it first conceivable — and then unavoidable — that these new technologies will converge on an energy revolution, one that will leave existing old-school technologies hopelessly behind.
    ]

  54. Rex Douglas

    wave goodbye to the centre-left ALP of the past

  55. Greensborough Growler

    I just wish that Labor would stop talking about itself and focus more strongly on the issues that concern voters.

  56. CTar1

    bemused

    [ou make a lot of comments like this one which leave me wondering if you agree or disagree]

    I’m in full agreement that the current G’ovt should be F#ck Off.

    The current make up of the ALP makes me wonder some what.

  57. briefly

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

    [El Niño likely in 2014

    Issued on Tuesday 22 April 2014 | Product Code IDCKGEWWOO

    The likelihood of El Niño remains high, with all climate models surveyed by the Bureau now indicating El Niño is likely to occur in 2014. Six of the seven models suggest El Niño thresholds may be exceeded as early as July.

    The Pacific Ocean has been warming along the equator over recent weeks, with continued warming in the central Pacific likely in coming months. Another burst of westerly winds is presently occurring in the western Pacific, and is likely to cause further warming of the sub-surface.

    El Niño has an impact across much of the world, including below average rainfall in the western Pacific and Indonesian regions, and increased rainfall in the central and eastern Pacific. For Australia, El Niño is usually associated with below average rainfall, with about two thirds of El Niño events since 1900 resulting in major drought over large areas of Australia.

    The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently in a neutral state. Model outlooks currently suggest the IOD is likely to remain neutral through late autumn and early winter, with two of the five models surveyed suggesting a positive IOD may develop by early spring. Positive IOD events often coincide with El Niño and are typically associated with large parts of southern and central Australia experiencing lower rainfall than usual.]

  58. bemused

    spur212@1319

    Bemused

    Yes! Symbolism! It’s a perceived barrier to entry. Bill’s just removing it from the “brand”

    A mis-perception aided and abetted by people like Shorten continually referring to it.

    So he has built up a great big straw man and now successfully demolished it!

    What a surprise.

  59. lizzie

    “But what do centre, left and right mean? asked Alice.

  60. spur212

    Bemused

    Think I should clarify as this can easily get misinterpreted: it’s not about being anti union, it’s about being open to people who aren’t in a union who feel/believe the ALP’s not open to them.

    Any Labor Party that abandons a collective group of people is no Labor Party at all but that doesn’t mean Labor should be puppets for the AWU, SDA, TWU etc etc etc the way Gillard and Swan were.

    What I’m skeptical about is whether this is just another way for Shorten to maintain factional power, but that’s mostly due to his history. This would be a lot easier coming from someone like Albo in my opinion

  61. Rex Douglas

    bemused #1326

    A means to an end…

  62. briefly

    1321
    sprocket_
    Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I was reading about this technology on the weekend. It’s tremendously exciting…. great post too!

  63. guytaur

    “@ABCNews24: Palmer United Party leader, Clive Palmer is speaking about climate change policy and the federal budget http://t.co/TTkTJ5G5Ba”

    “@ABCNews24: Palmer: I can say today that the majority of cross-benches won’t vote for Direct Action #auspol”

  64. Libertarian Unionist

    [In a biological construct, individuals have very limited capacity to “adapt”, though species adapt across generations. Within an economy, adaptation by individuals is a pre-condition for their survival and reproduction…]

    Capital assets can’t adapt (for free).

    [I will look onto the Cambridge controversy and report back 🙂 ]

    I’m pretty sure the argument is still going 😉

    [In this respect, perhaps the single best defining characteristic of an economy is that before anything else it consists of knowledge.]

    On this point, I cannot find a flaw 😉

  65. CTar1

    ABC24 has Clive:

    I can see ‘Bringing’.

    Is the end of the banner ‘the Pork’?

  66. guytaur

    “@ABCNews24: Palmer: I am concerned about Direct Action for a number of reasons, it looks like a big slush fund #auspol”

  67. bemused

    Rex Douglas@1322

    wave goodbye to the centre-left ALP of the past

    The one you were never a member of?

    What bollocks! 😡

  68. guytaur

    “@ABCNews24: Palmer: We might not pass the carbon tax and we might not pass the mining tax #auspol”

    Hah now Palmer wants an inquiry into climate change policy

  69. bemused

    CTar1@1324

    bemused


    ou make a lot of comments like this one which leave me wondering if you agree or disagree


    I’m in full agreement that the current G’ovt should be F#ck Off.

    The current make up of the ALP makes me wonder some what.

    So what are you doing to fix it?

    Joining and speaking up is a start.

  70. guytaur

    “@ABCNews24: Palmer: Our policy on climate change is to have an inquiry into climate change and examine the science and public opinion #auspol”

  71. Libertarian Unionist

    sprocket_,
    You might also like this: Big off-grid prospects for small 24/7 solar thermal plant

  72. spur212

    Bemused

    The “straw man” was built up by the Liberals.

    A lot of the problem mainly comes from the fact Beazley and co who all wanted to go back to the base after 1996 and he was so hopeless for that first six years of the Howard government in countering all the lies they threw at the ALP.

  73. briefly

    [1323
    Greensborough Growler

    I just wish that Labor would stop talking about itself and focus more strongly on the issues that concern voters.]

    I think it’s possible that the democratic, representative, connected and inclusive character of the ALP is something that does concern voters, particularly when as currently constituted it selects and promotes such shockers as Joe Bullock.

  74. zoomster

    I’m finding it interesting how snarky some Greens are being on my twitter timeline about Shorten’s speech…suggests that they’re a bit worried about what might happen if the ALP reforms itself!

  75. bemused

    spur212@1328

    Bemused

    Think I should clarify as this can easily get misinterpreted: it’s not about being anti union, it’s about being open to people who aren’t in a union who feel/believe the ALP’s not open to them.

    Any Labor Party that abandons a collective group of people is no Labor Party at all but that doesn’t mean Labor should be puppets for the AWU, SDA, TWU etc etc etc the way Gillard and Swan were.

    What I’m skeptical about is whether this is just another way for Shorten to maintain factional power, but that’s mostly due to his history. This would be a lot easier coming from someone like Albo in my opinion

    I never took it as being anti-union.

    I think a lot of ALP members are experiencing a certain ennui about factions and they are starting to break down.

    I hope so.

  76. bemused

    Rex Douglas@1329

    bemused #1326

    A means to an end…

    You may be right.

  77. briefly

    [1342
    zoomster

    I’m finding it interesting how snarky some Greens are being on my twitter timeline about Shorten’s speech…suggests that they’re a bit worried about what might happen if the ALP reforms itself!]

    It’s especially pleasing to see Shorten pay some attention to WA. Preselections at all levels, but most notably for the Senate and Legislative Council, should be radically reformed.

    This will certainly help arrest the flow of votes to the Greens in the suburbs of Perth.

  78. guytaur

    Palmer predicting a Labor Government in Queensland after next election

  79. lizzie

    [Malcolm Farr ‏@farrm51 10m
    my understanding national office rule requires union m’ship but state branches implement varying ways. Q whether Nat exec can change rule]

  80. CTar1

    bemused

    [So what are you doing to fix it?

    Joining and speaking up is a start.]

    It has nothing to do with ‘Joining Up’ and such bull shit.

    If the average voter is not engaged you are rooted.

    The others offer Minties while tearing off your gonads.

    The ALP needs to grow up. Shearer’s are long gone.

  81. William Bowe

    In his submission to the JSCEM inquiry into last year’s election, Family First Senator-elect Bob Day can only identify one area where electoral reform is required: the need for much, much fewer polling booths.

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=em/elect13/subs/sub048.pdf

  82. zoomster

    GG

    [I just wish that Labor would stop talking about itself and focus more strongly on the issues that concern voters.]

    But these are not mutually incompatible.

    If Labor opens its membership up to cater for a wider group of people, then there are a wider number of viewpoints taken on board as part of the policy process, meaning that policies formulated and adopted are more likely to tackle issues which concern voters, in ways which voters like to see.

    If it opens up the selection processes for candidates, so that it’s not necessarily the one with the most factional backing who gets the guernsey, then Labor will end up with MPs who are more diverse, and represent a wider range of views and interests than just those of unions.

    ***I understand and support Labor’s involvement with unions. But, in recent times, the career trajectory has been — join Young Labor at Uni. Get a job as a staffer or a unionist. Become an MP.

    Labor MPs used to come from a bigger pool than they do at present, and thus at least a significant percentage of them had enough experience outside of politics to understand what ideas would float and which wouldn’t.

    Again, I’m not arguing that the ‘join YL —- become an MP” path is necessarily a ‘bad’ one for MPs – just that it shouldn’t be the main one.

  83. guytaur

    “@wardlejon: Interesting point I’d not considered before MT @cyenne40 If it’ll cost $6 a jab to get your child vaccinated, expect a drop in the vax rate.”

  84. spur212

    Guytaur @1346

    Palmer usually says a lot of outlandish things but on this particular one, he’s dead right! 🙂

  85. Player One

    bemused@1326

    spur212@1319

    Bemused

    Yes! Symbolism! It’s a perceived barrier to entry. Bill’s just removing it from the “brand”

    A mis-perception aided and abetted by people like Shorten continually referring to it.

    So he has built up a great big straw man and now successfully demolished it!

    What a surprise.

    I hate to rain on your one man anti-Shorten crusade, but section 5.3.4 of the ALP membership rules (http://www.viclabor.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Final-Rules-April-2013.pdf) says:

    [ Any person who is not a member of any union at the time of his/her application who is eligible to belong to a Union which is affiliated with the Party must belong to such a Union before he/she can be admitted to membership of the Party. ]

    Or in other words, you don’t know what you’re talking about – as usual.

  86. Boerwar

    Six years of silence as Shadow spokesperson for Health. No questions in QT. No policy announcements.

    Now, as Minister for Health, he strikes:

    Six Dollar Dutton.

  87. Libertarian Unionist

    [Six Dollar Dutton.]

    That much?

  88. bemused

    CTar1@1348

    bemused


    So what are you doing to fix it?

    Joining and speaking up is a start.


    It has nothing to do with ‘Joining Up’ and such bull shit.

    If the average voter is not engaged you are rooted.

    The others offer Minties while tearing off your gonads.

    The ALP needs to grow up. Shearer’s are long gone.

    I surrender to your brilliance and await your prescription for success.

  89. Rex Douglas

    Never thought I’d see the day the ALP would aid and abet the campaign of tearing down the union movement.

  90. bemused

    zoomster@1350

    GG


    I just wish that Labor would stop talking about itself and focus more strongly on the issues that concern voters.


    But these are not mutually incompatible.

    If Labor opens its membership up to cater for a wider group of people, then there are a wider number of viewpoints taken on board as part of the policy process, meaning that policies formulated and adopted are more likely to tackle issues which concern voters, in ways which voters like to see.

    There are some who prefer to be big frogs in small ponds and share the spoils of opposition.

  91. CTar1

    bemused

    You can do whatever you like.

    I’ll not be waiting.

  92. Rex Douglas

    zoomster #1350

    Is there a possibility the ALP church becomes too broad and thus dysfunctional ?

  93. zoomster

    Rex

    given in the past, membership numbers have been far higher than they are at present, there’s a fair way to go before this becomes a problem.

  94. Just Me

    [“@AustralianLabor: “If you don’t engage in politics, you’ll be governed by vested interests…” @billshortenmp #rebuildlabor #auspol”]

    Echoes of Plato:

    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

  95. ajm

    guytaur
    [Palmer predicting a Labor Government in Queensland after next election]
    I think he was actually predicting a PUP government by his subsequent comments!

  96. bemused

    Player One@1353

    bemused@1326

    spur212@1319


    Bemused

    Yes! Symbolism! It’s a perceived barrier to entry. Bill’s just removing it from the “brand”


    A mis-perception aided and abetted by people like Shorten continually referring to it.

    So he has built up a great big straw man and now successfully demolished it!

    What a surprise.


    I hate to rain on your one man anti-Shorten crusade, but section 5.3.4 of the ALP membership rules (http://www.viclabor.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Final-Rules-April-2013.pdf) says:


    Any person who is not a member of any union at the time of his/her application who is eligible to belong to a Union which is affiliated with the Party must belong to such a Union before he/she can be admitted to membership of the Party.


    Or in other words, you don’t know what you’re talking about – as usual.

    I put some emphasis into your rules quote to help you with your cognitive difficulties.
    1. Most of the workforce are not covered by an “affiliated union”.
    2. Many other members are not in the workforce. e.g. students, retired etc.
    3. As per an earlier post I made, there is no enforcement mechanism for that rule. However most eligible to join an affiliated union would have as it is part of Labor values.

    I see nothing anti-Shorten in what I wrote. To be critical of a statement does not mean general criticism of a person and I did not confine that particular criticism to Shorten.

    So stop talking out of your arse you unpleasant grub.

  97. bemused

    Rex Douglas@1357

    Never thought I’d see the day the ALP would aid and abet the campaign of tearing down the union movement.

    Have I missed something?

    When is that happening?

  98. Fran Barlow

    Interesting article on innovations in harnessing and commercialising wind energy …

    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/21/real-innovation-wind-energy/

  99. Lynchpin

    [So stop talking out of your arse you unpleasant grub.]

    Gotta love our sense of solidarity in the ALP!!!

    😆