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Milne fights battle for Green relevance

Sarah Hanson-Young could be pivotal to the Greens retaining sole balance of power. AAP/Alan Porritt

Greens leader Christine Milne faces her existential moment at the coming election. Her predecessor Bob Brown took the Greens to their present high point - nine senators and the sole balance of power in the upper house. If Milne loses that pivotal position, the Greens will automatically be stripped of a great deal of their clout when the new Senate starts in July next year. It would be seen as the beginning of the minor party’s decline.

The Senate contest is far more crucial to the Greens than what happens in Adam Bandt’s seat of Melbourne.

Milne’s spray this week against the Gillard government, breaking the 2010 alliance, is a strategic move in this fight for continued political relevance. Anticipating an Abbott win, the Greens' pitch for Senate votes is a more extreme version of the old Democrats' line of “keeping the bastards honest”. The Greens will say they’d try to stop an Abbott government wrecking the country.

With the conservatives enjoying such strong support in the polls, the electoral task ahead of the Greens is formidable, despite having only three of their nine senators facing the people – Sarah Hanson-Young in South Australia, Peter Whish-Wilson in Tasmania and Scott Ludlam in Western Australia.

Depending how the vote goes in various states, Tony Abbott could have a Senate that allowed him to repeal the carbon and mining taxes with the support of Right leaning crossbenchers.

In the Senate proportional representational voting system, how the numbers play out will depend not just on how the Greens poll but also on Labor and Coalition levels of support.

Of the three upper house Greens up for re-election at this half-Senate poll, the safest will be Whish-Wilson, who took Brown’s casual vacancy last year. Tasmania is Green heartland. Ludlam and Hanson-Young both face tough fights, with the position of Hanson-Young particularly dicey - despite her high profile - because of Labor’s soft vote.

On the other hand, the Greens have a chance of picking up a seat in Victoria and possibly in New South Wales (where their candidate is Legislative Council member Cate Faehrmann). Green sources believe their continued grip on sole balance of power could depend on whether Hanson-Young survives, whether Ludlam can prevent the conservatives winning four seats in WA - or whether (an extremely outside chance) Simon Sheikh, who brings the formidable GetUp! campaigning skills to the task, can snatch a seat in the Australian Capital Territory.

If things go well for the conservatives and badly for the Greens an Abbott government, seeking the crucial 39 votes to pass legislation, could be negotiating with independent Nick Xenophon (who has earlier enjoyed a taste of the balance of power, with his dancing partner then being Family First’s Steve Fielding) and the DLP’s John Madigan. A Katter person from Queensland could also be in the mix. (And who knows what other crossbench candidate might fluke a seat?) It’s highly unlikely the Coalition could win outright control of the Senate.

Milne’s task in appealing to people to vote for the Greens as a Senate check will be challenging because she needs to draw from two constituencies. Most obvious is the Greens hard core base. These true believers just want an Abbott government thwarted. But the second, and potentially large, group (given the polling is showing public uncertainty about Abbott personally) comprises voters who would just like the rougher edges taken off a Coalition government. These are in the middle of the political spectrum, not on the far left of it.

Here arises the argument about “mandates”. An Abbott government elected with a good majority would surely have a mandate for its main, well publicised policies, including repeal of the carbon and mining taxes. But if they retained sole balance of power the Greens would claim they had their own mandate - to stop those policies. This absolutist stand might put off some of those people who would otherwise like a watchdog Senate. The upper house contest naturally is the secondary story in an election campaign. But it can be extraordinarily important. Howard’s unexpected clinching of Senate control at the 2004 election led to WorkChoices, which brought radical changes to the industrial relations system. When that backfired, quite a few Liberals regretted that the Coalition hadn’t been saved from itself by an upper house check.

At this Senate election the stakes will be very high for not just the Greens but the major parties. If the Greens retain sole balance of power and Labor joins with them to block the carbon tax repeal (which would be a big decision for the ALP), there would be a double dissolution. Despite Labor’s claim that Abbott would retain the tax, he would not have a shred of credibility if he did not keep his word.

In a double dissolution the quota is small, so in theory it would be good for the Greens. But if a small party is on the nose, it can be another matter. The DLP was swept out in the double dissolution of 1974, never to be seen in federal parliament again until Madigan’s election in 2010. The Greens have different, more solid, roots but can’t be cavalier about the long term.

So if Milne did retain sole balance of power, the exercise of that power could bring its own big problems.

Postscript

A political operative with a head for numbers has prepared this ‘'poll of polls’‘ on the Greens primary vote. It brings together Nielsen, Newspoll, Essential, Morgan (both telephone and face-to- face), and Galaxy. From a high point of 11.7 per cent around the time of Bob Brown’s resignation in April last year, the trend has been generally down, to 9.6 per cent now.

Join the conversation

75 Comments sorted by

  1. Ronald Ostrowski

    logged in via Facebook

    Another speculative piece based on current polling stats and some farts (apparently sources) in the corridors of Parliament House. Will Abbott really risk a double-dissolution after winning an election, with the able assistance of the MSM, as the very small and protected target he is now? Australians may vote him in but the penny will drop for them soon after. Nah, he will do a Giilard and compromise to stay in power.

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  2. Jack Bowers

    Learning Adviser

    A lot of "might be" in this article, and the usual rhetoric that "this time" there "may be" a wipe out of the Greens. No surprises there: Grattan has never been a fan of the Greens, and would clearly love to see the precocious Milne brought down a peg or two.

    The reality is, as usual, a little less prosaic. Whoever wins the election, it is highly likely that the Greens and Xenophon will hold the balance of power in the Senate; not very exciting news, perhaps, but for all the over-indulgent breathlessness of the media, the probable outcome.

    As for Abbott's double dissolution, don't bet on it. He will excoriate the Greens for getting in the way, but he will prevaricate until we get the cap and trade system we should have had from the start.

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  3. Peter Kington

    Raconteur, ideas man and food whore at Self Employed

    Michelle Grattan's crystal ball has, again, been well polished in anticipation of this pointless piece of speculation.

    A far more interesting and relevant article might have involved Ms Grattan analysing the logistics of Abbott's rollback of the MRRT and Carbon 'tax'. The structural impost on business, supposedly the Coalition's natural ally, will be enormous. Not only will this produce a revenue shortfall for the budget (whilst spending initiatives offered by the government are retained) but…

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    1. Kim Darcy

      Analyst

      In reply to Peter Kington

      Surely, MG can give us all the "real story" on the shocking, just so very shocking, confessions of "inappropriate Stilnox taking" by the Australian men's swimming relay team in the UK six months ago. C'mon Michelle, is it true, did they really only "take one tablet each"?

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    2. John Davidson

      Retired engineer

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      After watching the Scott Ludlum conversation with the Senate it is a bit hard to imagine any rational person voting for our Barnaby or Tony if the alternative was Scott.
      It is worth noting that Qld gained a Greens Senator after the last election. Michelle seems to be ignoring the possibility of that gain being repeated this time around.

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    3. Maddy Larkins

      Keen observer of humans

      In reply to John Davidson

      My thoughts exactly John. Despite the media shutting the Greens out, despite the lies, dirt and accusations against the Greens, they seem to just do better each time. All but the most naive are starting to see this. There's more evidence that they will improve their vote than go down - as disappointing as this is to some commentators.

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  4. Liam J

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Oh for f's sake, Greens are NOT 'far left', they have a fundamentally different worldview to LibLabs and any resemblance to eg. rightwing responsibility or leftist regulation is just coincidental. Any political journo who hasn't worked that out is just a hack propagandist for the economic rationalist suicide cult.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Liam J

      This is a central problem for the Greens I think Liam - that they have failed to adequately distance themselves from the dominant paradigm of left/right management of the economy.

      To do that they need some very imaginative and inspiring strategies for creating jobs - serious numbers showing what renewables and growth based on them can produce.

      But the situation requires far more than an electoral spurt of independent thinking for the campaign.

      Much better incidentally Michelle ... some…

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    2. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Sorry Peter, more growth is not something i can paint in any sort of a green light.

      The Greens have to play lip service to this dominant religion, some of them may even believe in it i wouldn't know. I however am free to notice the increasing number of shrinking economies of the world, all energy importers by a funny coincidence, and chuckle quietly as journalists, economists and politicians all chant their unshakeable belief in the physically impossible. Nature bats last.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Liam J

      Depends what you mean by "growth" Liam ... if you are talking about increased rates of resource extraction and consumption, sinking a few more million in subsidies to traditional mortor vehicles, building yet more inner city freeways and the like... then yes we don't need that.

      But growth in the sense of creating new jobs, new markets and new technologies based on reducing humans' impact on the planet ... like renewable energy, more efficient technologies and improving resource use, then that's the sort of growth we most urgently need.

      We need to be very careful with our words and our ideas.

      Growth is good. Growth is urgently needed. But it must be growth towards the light.

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    4. Liam J

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Shrinkage! There, i said it, heresy in the land of the growthists. Happily i feel no need to convince, it is happening regardless of what anyone thinks.

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  5. Dave Smith

    Energy Consultant

    This piece is predicated on the old left-right thinking. Under this paradigm, if Greens are "hard left" and Labor is "soft left", it is ludicrous to think that an LNP supporter would vote for Green senators to keep a check on Abbott.

    But concern for the environment - and climate change in particular - does not fit into this paradigm. There may well be many LNP voters who ARE concerned and who might vote Green in the senate to prevent Abbott ripping up Labor's clean energy framework.

    Now THAT would be an interesting analysis. Instead, Grattan rehashes the situation of a decade ago, but with "Greens" substituted for "Democrats".

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    1. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Dave Smith

      I had wondered if the promise to "rip up" the carbon and mining "tax" legislation may backfire on them. so far both pieces of legislation haven't had anywhere near the impact that the Coalition have been screaming about for the last few years and if last weeks Q&A audience is any indication, it is not as loathed as the Coalition would like us to believe.

      Also given Greg Hunts performance vs Tania Plibersek, when it comes to rational discourse vs the polico-party line, the Coalition may not be able to sway the swingers to their point of view.

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  6. Gavin Moodie
    Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Adjunct professor at RMIT University

    While there are other important issues to consider, perhaps more important than the composition of the Senate, nonetheless the composition of the Senate is very important before one even gets to consider the mechanics of dismantling the carbon price. It is also worthwhile exploring the issues now so that citizens may reflect on the implications before voting.

    Considering the composition of the Senate is inescapably speculative until counting finishes, altho the speculation will have better information…

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  7. Vincent Restuccia

    retired senior technical officer

    Michelle I am not so sure that your comment about the Greens in Tasmania is all that valid anymore there are a lot of people who feel let down by them as they palled up to both the State and Federal Governments. The Greens like any political power wish to maintain their relevance in the face of the voters and while they will never form a Government in their own right they must retain their power in the Senate otherwise they go the same way as the Democrats. Now I feel they have become more populist in their policies which is a shame but after Bob Brown departed the new leader has changed direction from save every tree in the forest to save the ones that benefit us.

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  8. Michael Shand
    Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Tester

    Who the hell thinks Abbott just needs the rough edges taken off? this is a highly speculative piece with an insane LeftvRight perspective on Australian Politics which doesnt reflect the reality of the situation

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  9. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Milne here is described as having a 'spray' when in fact she gave a considered set piece political speech to the National Press Club. Chris Pyne has 'sprays' and no-one sprays further or better than Barnaby Joyce. This language in relation to Milne is bias, plain and simple. So is describing routine Greens voters as 'far left'. Enough of this juvenile name calling. If you want to describe Greens members and voters as of the 'far left' how about justifying that with reference to history where genuine…

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    1. Riddley Walker

      .

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      National Press Club Address
      video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXNAU1zmFUo

      text:
      http://greensmps.org.au/content/news-st ... press-club

      People I speak to right across the country tell me about the pressures in their lives, the sense that the world is becoming a harsher place, a less caring place. Different to the analysis of the major parties though, the Greens understand that these pressures are not just about money, but about time and a sense of losing connection to community and the environment. Not just about finding work but about finding work-life balance. Not about building more roads, about spending less time on the roads. Not just about how to benefit from the boom but asking, is there a future after the boom.

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    2. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Yes Riddley, the search is for a way to mobilise, live by, genuinely human values. This is the real project of a life, methinks.

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  10. Riddley Walker

    .

    What I would like to see is the Greens hold Melbourne, and take Batman, Sydney, Grayndler, Adelaide, Perth or Fremantle, and Denison, and hold a balance of power with Windsor and Oakeshott, as well as picking up a few more in the Senate.

    I doubt that will occur though.

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  11. Brian Boss

    Architect

    Mandate!!! lololololollol.

    You old tories crack me up.

    The weirdo republicans in the US and their sisters, the LNP over hear have trashed the meaning of the word 'mandate' with their juvenile obstructionism.

    Thanks to the Tories, mandate is now officially irrelevant and meaningless.

    Its all out warfare from now on....

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    1. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Brian Boss

      Brian, it's certainly starting to look that way, isn't it?

      Maybe everyone just made the old mistake of 'I'm sure we can reason with the Vikings...'

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  12. bill parker

    editor

    I'm with Liam J. In all the years I have watched the Greens I have never found anything Left or Right. I am certainly not far left and I always vote for them.

    And to think of it, we have months of this boring speculation ahead of us. The Conversation can and should do better than this.

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  13. Jack Arnold

    Director

    Another pro-Abbott piece of "yellow journalism" that speculates about an indeterminate political future for the country. Seemingly, Ms Gratton enjoys the prospect of what some European persons have described as an Abbott fascist government to keep the ratbag "lefties" in order during her dotage.

    The interesting point is that Ms Gratton has now included the Greens among her political targets, damning them with inappropriate labelling.

    Perhaps Ms Gratton could exercise her vast network and write a piece about the fact that Tony Abbott has no majority in his own party and as such could reasonably be considered unfit for office on that point alone, regardless of the 2/3rds of Australians who give him a negative polling result.

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    1. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      What's your evidence that Abbott has no majority in his own party? Van Onselen reports that Abbott has strong support within the Liberal party cos he got them surprisingly close at the last election and has had the Coalition with a strong lead for several months.

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Hi Gavin. Do the numbers. Abbott defeated Turnbull by a one vote majority at the last leadership ballot of the Liberal Party. Since that time, his patron, Senator Nick Minchen has retired and Peter Slipper has become an Independent. The thoughts of any new members are unknown because there has not been a ballot for the Liberal Party leadership.

      Van Onselen writes like a Liberal Party political hack who ignores the polling results showing that about 2/3rds of the Australian people do not want Abbott as Prime Minister for whatever reason.

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    3. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      But since the Liberal leadership election Abbott has gained much more support from within his party because of the great success of his tactics. As van Onselen says, Abbott is much more popular within his party than outside, and, incidentally, Turnbull is much less popular in his party than outside.

      Van Onselen does indeed support the Liberals, having briefly worked on Tony Abbott's staff when he was Minister for Workplace Relations in the Howard government before the 2001 election, as his Wikipedia entry notes. But as van Onselen says, this does not make him an Abbott supporter: quite the contrary.

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    4. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      You make a fair point Gavin, but it's equally quite arguable that Abbott single-handedly lost what should have been an eminently winnable election in 2010, then doubled down on that score by managing to lose the negotiations after we had a hung parliament.

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    5. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to Felix MacNeill

      I agree that Abbott seems to have mishandled the hung Parliament negotiations badly.

      I understand that some Liberal MPs are apprehensive about a government led by Abbott, some on policy grounds, but I gather some because of the way they anticipate he will mismanage government. I am curious about what precisely their reservations are. Anyway, 1 possibility is that an Abbott Government is so dysfunctional that it is ineffectual and risks losing government after just 1 term.

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    6. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Hi Gavin, you say "Turnbull is much less popular in his party than outside."

      Uhm ... it was my understanding that elections to the Federal Parliament required all adult Australians of both genders to attend a polling place and cast a vote (valid or invalid as they personally choose), rather than just the card carrying Liberal Party members & their political lackeys who control the pre-selection process.

      The point is that Abbott is unacceptable to 2/3rds of Australians as consistently shown by the polling results since the 2010 election.

      In contrast, Turnbull has about 2/3rds of Australians supporting him as preferred Opposition Leader.

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    7. Gavin Moodie
      Gavin Moodie is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Adjunct professor at RMIT University

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Unlike the election of the US president, the Australian prime minister is elected by the members of their party - by members of parliament in the case of Labor, the Liberals and the Nationals or by all members of the party in the case of the Democrats.

      I presume that both Abbott and Turnbull will retain their seats and so will remain eligible for the Liberal leadership. But they would be elected Liberal leader not by the general electorate, but by the Liberal party room. According to van Onselen, Turnbull is not very popular within the Liberal party room. Again according to van Onselen about 12 months ago, if Abbott fails the Liberals would try the shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison and Joe Hockey before they tried Turnbull again.

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    8. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      Thank you for the correction Gavin. The point I was trying to make was that the Australian electorate has to want a government led by Abbott with all his inherent faults otherwise they will vote for candidates from other parties, including INDEPENDENTS who owe their allegiance to the electorate rather than the unelected political party hacks who control pre-selection for the benefit of party financial sponsors.

      Joke Hockey or Scum Morrison would be suitable alternative choices to Abbott as both appear to have had a charisma by-pass.

      Van Onselen remains a Liberal Parry hack employed by News Ltd. Enough said.

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    9. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      i'd imagine that the Liberal Party may be as unsure about Abbott as a Prime Minister as the general population, but he seems to have worked out well as opposition leader.

      Personally i'd prefer an opposition leader to debate and make amendments to legislation than just saying "no" to everything and playing games. i.e. SHOW us that you are a feasible alternative government through your actions, not just expect us to take your word once every 3-4 years that you'd do a better job, just because.

      It is after all a Job interview.

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    10. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      may not even make it that far if the possibility of double dissolution occuring comes true

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    11. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Gavin Moodie

      wouldnt that be a fascinating development, Tony Abbott losing his seat at the election lol

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    12. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      i have often wondered what our parliament would be if you banned political parties

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  14. Stephen Paul

    Community Worker

    More would'ves, could'ves and should'ves - no analysm or facts!

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  15. RJ Lohan

    Software Engineer and Father

    I'm sure I just saw this on the frontpage: "The enemy of trusted journalism is spin and PR."

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  16. Trevor Kerr

    ISTP

    MG, thanks for taking on the thankless task of running the blind.
    See, they are all here, wasting their valuable time & talents, while others are looking hard at how Abbott & his cronies seek to subvert democratic processes.
    Keep waving that tea-towel, but, remember, the CEC boys enjoy a flick on the rump every now & then.
    Laissez la règle de l'anarchie!

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  17. Maddy Larkins

    Keen observer of humans

    MG does it again and again. I used to just think she was a cautious analyst that gave overly generous leeway and excuses for the LibNats. Now it's clear where she comes from.

    The Greens policies are not left or right - compared to the other sad bunch of choices, they are just way out in front! How about giving them some credit occasionally.

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  18. wilma western

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    Handy to know how many and which Greens are up for re-election - with 3 out of 6 that puts them in a pretty fair position I would have thought so the stuff about "the beginning of decline" seems premature.
    Xenophon also up for re-election - why assume he's a shoo -in?

    If the Greens did have the balance of power how could they not oppose repeal of the carbon tax ? Yet a double dissolution would be pretty risky.

    And what do you make of Milne's statement that she would negotiate if Abbott won…

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  19. Marsh Robinson

    Music Teacher

    I was first attracted to The Conversation website by the publishing of articles from academics and researchers who have the credibility of membership of a faculty. Is that why Michelle Grattan has been appointed to a university post? so that she can publish here?
    I won't be reading her posts (I can get better analysis from Antony Green on electoral matters), and will be ditching my daily read of The Con when it is no longer clear to me whether I am reading a considered professional opinion or run-of-the-mill sh*t-stirring.
    Can we please stick to discussion of facts and not opinions? Please??

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    1. bill parker

      editor

      In reply to Marsh Robinson

      Marsh R is right. That's what I liked about The Con. Notice the past tense.
      So what do I do? UNSUBSCRIBE or just ignore the political claptrap?

      As a scientist I enjoy the content written by people who have professional credentials but if the bias goes away from the informed writing I am outa here.

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  20. Marilyn Shepherd

    pensioner

    The standard of the Conversation has now reached the absurd lows of the once excellent AGE.

    Why use words like abolutist to describe the Greens? Should they bow down to the child torture and human rights violations our media and pollies love so much?

    Should they say rip up the entire country for crap and be buggered about the next generations?

    Get real Michelle, you should have gracefully retired.

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    1. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Jeez, you're harsh Marylin. If Michelle retires she'd be in the same position you are - plenty of time to say whatever she likes. Is that what you really want?

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  21. John Phillip
    John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Grumpy Old Man

    Michelle, thanks for the article. It's great to see opinions expressed that shake up the hornets nest. Cheers :)

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    1. Tony Dummett

      Optical Engineer

      In reply to John Phillip

      I suspect the Editors think the negative reaction to Grattan's columns so far is beneficial under the "Any news is good news" dictum.

      What they will think when readers just stop reading is another.

      I haven't read one article from the front page since Grattan has been here. They're all suspect now.

      Perhaps I was naive in thinking all those disclaimers (which Grattan, by her "special" status, no doubt, is generally NOT required to attach to her articles) meant something. Seems I was wrong.

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    2. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Tony Dummett

      Sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming "lalalala" isn't generally regarded as a good argument past the age of 5, Tony.

      It might surprise some of those here to learn that politics is about people, first and foremost. The self-interest of politicians and their personalities is a core part of the business of politics, perhaps even more important than the policies that are put forward, since they determine which policies are possible.

      For example, Gillard remains in her chair because…

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    3. bill parker

      editor

      In reply to Craig Minns

      I don't agree Craig. Politics is not about people it is about corporations and how their interests can best be served by parliament.
      Gillard and Abbott are just about to "least worst" people we could have a choice between.
      Or is it a choice? I no longer think so. I cannot be bothered with either of them. The fact that I will have to give preferences to one or the other having voted Greens annoys me.

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    4. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to bill parker

      Hi Bill, a vote against a personality is just as binding as a vote for one. The people who will decide the election may well choose the least worst option, and they'll do so largely on their perception of the personality and obligations of the leaders.

      Both parties have gone out of their way, for ease of selling a story, to try to turn our Westminster system into a pseudo-presidential system. They have succeeded beyond their dreams and they are now victims of their own success.

      You're right that the real agenda-setters are corporations, both capitalist and pseudo-collectivist. However, people still vote on their perception of people, whatever the corporate allegiance of those people.

      The system is atavistic at its heart and sophistry can't change that.

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  22. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Michelle

    RE the PS

    Adding up a pile of bad data and averaging it doesn't make it good data Michelle.

    To the extent I can read the little graph provided all I am struck by is how all over the place these data points are ... looks rather random doesn't it? - like they're not measuring a common trend across the "electorate" at all.

    Now if you got your numerate mate to do a bit of analysis comparing these data points and looking for evidence of a common trend - a correlation - it's a simple process - you might actually find out something interesting about opinion polls - what they mean - and, more precisely, what they don't.

    Put you a good five lengths in front of the Press Gallery and the pollies.

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    1. Kevin Bain

      Teacher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Poll data from a "political operative with a head for numbers" must be self-serving. No background as to how these 5 poll series are merged.

      Would anyone else have the gall to represent unvarnished self interest as objective analysis?

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  23. Tim Gamage

    Metallurgist

    Has Michelle Grattan read The Conversation's charter?

    https://theconversation.edu.au/our_charter

    So where is the "new thinking and evidence-based research" or "fact-based ... free ...of political bias"?

    Michelle has a great deal of experience - she could discuss the topic she is an expert at - how journalism works in Canberra, rather than continue to spin.

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  24. Joanne Gamage

    Home Carer

    I read the conversation so that i can have direct expert comment from academics expert in the field being discussed, science professors speaking on science issues, politics professors speaking on politics. Please don't water down the conversations' power with journalistic comment on politics. Michelle is welcome to comment on journalism as her area of academic interest.

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  25. John C Smith

    Auditor

    Greens "the reds after an acrylic bath' has been running the joint since the last election. Thanks to our horse trading democracy they have tricked us all to where we are. RIP those electocuted undr a pack of fibre glass insulation. My conversation comment is costind 5 cents more rounded down and I have asked Intel to develop a chip for my brain so I can use the NBN to the nose; "Milne fights..." and you got a picture of the cry baby. A baby who cries for spilled refugees; a future block vote and for terroris who loose themselves wh en overseas..

    A personal question to the author; ex-FairFacts, Has the overseas intelligence service connected with the FF has anything to do with the reds covered in green? Looking at their policies and their policy concepts I beleive it is the case.

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    1. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      i don't know what it is either, makes me feel like i've been walking the dog and need a plastic bag

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  26. Garry Baker

    researcher

    Using the term far left, and the Greens in the same breath - There's a weirdness about this thinking, and it's certainly not evidentiary based. Sort of like saying an unidentified flying object(UFO) must be from another planet - given that no one can pin a tail on it. When the truth of the matter is, we are uncertain as to what the blob in the sky has in store for us. So it is with the Greens - at least for some. Better to study the blob, methinks

    Personally I think they are an honest mob…

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    1. Riddley Walker

      .

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Sensible defence policies, like say, oh yes, let's buy 2 dozen F-35 JSF http://www.jsf.mil/ from our allies the AMericans. A bargain at 300 million each, and the price only doubling every second week. Too slow, too fat, can't turn - well they CAN turn - in about the same turning circle as a 747, and with a range equalling about the distance from Sydney to Canberra, perfect for protecting politicians and their families. I'm pretty sure the Greens would not have fallen for that old snake oil.

      Pretty keen on making a dollar out of the fast food industry we call "mining" and returning it to fund projects that support what we laughingly call "the rest of us". Mike Seccombe, editor of "the Global Mail" stated on "the Drum" last week: "The Greens are the most fiscally responsible of all the parties, currently."

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    2. Riddley Walker

      .

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Oh yeah. P.S. I forgot - the JSF CANNOT be operated with 25 miles of a lightning storm. This is actually true, I am not joking.

      Now, children, where do we get the most lighting storms? Yes, Nina, age 5? Northern Australia. Where would the most likely military threat occur? Yes, Jimmy, age 6? Northern Australia.

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  27. Riddley Walker

    .

    Today in the The Age, we have an article by Katharine Murphy: "The ALP is in a terrible mess, Kevin Rudd is challenging etc etc"

    And another by Peter Hartcher: "Some people say Abbott is a bully, but if you meet him he is a really really nice guy, thoughtful and kind etc etc".

    This is what is called "political reporting".

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    1. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      i think everyone in Australia is aware of the MSM (murdoch and co) barracking for the Coalition.

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    2. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Given the ALP rhetoric being used to try to paint Abbott as some kind of lunatic Tea Party woman-hater who wants nothing more than to enslave the population for some eldritch purpose that is never specified, it seems reasonable to do a piece that discusses what he might actually be like.

      I find it fascinating that so many are lining up to complain about the Grattan pieces, while contributing nothing useful of their own. A snapshot of all that's wrong with the pseudo-intelligentsia that have come to dominate progressive politics, really.

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  28. Riddley Walker

    .

    Here's an example of the Greens in action in Government. Senator Larissa Waters grills Ministerial advisers in the Senate Estimates Committee:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vwfcPv4EW-I

    This is the kind of ACTUAL material that should be reported on in the media, and especially by senior political journalists. Not endless repeats of irrelevant personality gossip about the ins and outs of the endless intrigues of Labor internal politics.

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