Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

From state election to Brisbane City Council election (with a by-election on the side)

I was so focused working on the Queensland state election campaign, (relieved by the occasional brief break of feeling despondent about the Queensland state election campaign), that I didn't get around to blogging about it. Now that that election is over - although counting is still being completed - it's straight into the local government election campaign, with an extra serving of unexpected by-election happening in the seat ...

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A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

Fundamentally, I don't greatly care about the outcome of Labor's leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The ...

Ashgrove – The Narrowing!

As is usual with elections, there has been a lot of coverage on the personalities and the contest and not so much on the policies and issues.  Still, the unusual strategy the Liberal-Nationals have adopted of having their leader and proposed Premier campaigning from outside of Parliament has invited an even greater focus on Campbell Newman himself and also on the seat of Ashgrove which he is contesting. Regardless ...

Back to the blog

Having had a couple of months break from this blog thing, I thought I'd have a go at trying to use a bit like I did when I first started it out back in 2004 - giving some occasional updates of things I've been doing. A few months ago I became Convenor of the Queensland Greens, which has meant I have become a lot more immersed in the internal, ...

Climate Change package and the Senate

Barack Obama's visit to Canberra this week has generated a lot of attention.  But I was much happier being  in Canberra last week for the Senate’s historic vote to pass the package of legislation that will finally start moving Australia towards a clean energy future. I partly wanted to be there as a way to bear witness to the efforts of so many members and MPs of the Australian ...

Interview with Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam on this week’s 4ZZZ show

This week I had the privilege of having Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam in the studio for an interview.  Together with my regular interlocutor, Mr Peter J Black, we spoke about the recent carbon pricing announcement, the internet filter and the NBN, and nuclear waste, nuclear power and Fukushima. You can listen to it all by clicking on this link - (unfortunately due to copyright laws I have to edit out ...

Greens, Democrats and the Senate balance of power

Today marks the day the Greens officially gain sole balance of power in the Senate. It also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the day the Democrats first gained the Senate balance of power back in 1981. Many people focus on the difficulties and disappointments of the Democrats declining years, and it reasonable to consider how the Greens might best avoid this fate. But it is equally important to remember ...

This week’s 4ZzZ interview with Peter Black

I haven't posted one of these here for a while, but each week on my radio shift on 4ZzZ FM I do an interview with QUT law lecturer and obsessive follower of social issues and media, Peter Black. The topics covered include the Greens taking on the balance of power in the Senate and how they might fare compared to the Democrats; a few other things happening in federal ...

Victorian election

Despite being far more interested than politics than most people, I have often struggled to get overly interested in state elections. In an ideal world, I think Australia would be better off without the states - or with many more, smaller state/regional governments, alongside a local government (one that is genuinely local) which is recognised in our Constitution. One of the less-noticed aspects of the agreement reached between the ...

Walter Taylor by-election result continues positive momentum for the Greens

The Greens got a very positive result in the by-election held today for the Brisbane City Council ward of Walter Taylor.  The Greens candidate, Tim Dangerfield, came in second with 23.5 per cent of the vote, with Labor at 16.8 per cent and the Liberal Nationals on 57.1 per cent.  The Greens outpolled Labor in every booth (apart from a tie at the Kenmore South booth), with their ...

Polling booth results in Brisbane and Ryan

Looking through the votes in different polling booths across an election gives a reminder of just how diverse our community is, even within a single electorate. I was certainly pleased that the Greens managed to break the 20 per cent mark in the seat of Brisbane. This is obviously well above the 9 per cent I managed when I stood for the seat as A Democrat candidate in 1996, ...

Brisbane climate change forum

Last Tuesday night, I was part of an election forum on climate change with the other two main candidates for the seat of Brisbane.  It was quite well attended, and included media representatives from the Courier-Mail, Brisbane Times and ABC Online. It also used a question format where people wrote down their questions and then had a moderator group them in topics and ask them, rather than questions ...

6 years of blogging

It's been such a long time since I started this blog, and both I and the blog have been through so many transitions I'd forgotten what time of year it was that I started it. So it was a complete coincidence that I thought I might look to see when the first entry was, and discovered it was precisely six years ago. I started this blog as an experiment ...

Piece on The Drum about challenges ahead for the Greens

As I noted in my previous post, this week's Newspoll saw the Greens register 16% support - the highest that party has ever achieved, comparable to the Democrats best Newspoll result of 17% back in 1990. History suggests it is unlikely that this peak will be maintained right through to election day (or even the next Newspoll) but it is part of a continuing trend of solid Greens ...

Both big parties on the nose in Newspoll

The latest Newspoll may turn out to be an outlier, but the marked drop in support and approval ratings for both Labor and the Liberal-Nationals, and their respective leaders, does seem to have a logical connection to the diminishing credibility and increasing cynicism and shallowness which both party’s leaders have been displaying of late. The 16% support level recorded for the Greens is not just a record for that ...

A weekend of campaigning

It’s a fair while since it was announced that I was contesting the House of Reps seat of Brisbane for the Greens at the upcoming federal election.  Since then, I’ve spent a fair bit of time preparing the foundations for that campaign, as well as working within the party on our overall campaign in Queensland.  Whilst I’d love nothing more than winning the seat of Brisbane, my first ...

The UK election & some possible Australia parallels

With the UK election happening this week, I recently wrote a piece for New Matilda about some of the parallels (as well as some of the differences) between the rising third parties of the Liberal Democrats in the UK and the Greens in Australia.  You can read the full piece at this link. For space reasons, I had to leave out a couple of other points I was going ...

It’s Official: Tasmania really is different!!

It’s Official: Tasmania really is different!! Parochialism seems to be part and parcel of the human condition, and is part of what gives rise to people making exaggerated claims about how different their city, state or country is from all the others, and also to exaggerate how different (usually in a negative way) other places are.  Living in Queensland all my life has shown me plenty of examples of ...

A few bits of history as SA Upper House results declared

The fascination with the still unresolved post-election situation in Tasmania has drawn some attention away from the somewhat more run of the mill situation in South Australia.  With the Rann Labor government gaining a clear, albeit slightly unexpected, victory in the South Australian election, and the Liberals in that state quickly reverting to type and engaging in internal squabbles, it is fair enough that the curious Tasmanian situation ...

Running again

It's nearly two years since the last election, when the Democrats lost all their seats, and over sixteen months since I finally left the Senate,  as did the Democrats as a party.  After a lot of thought,  I’ve decided to get back into party politics and contest a seat at next year's federal election. It was formally announced today that I will be running in the seat of Brisbane, ...

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Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

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  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good. The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one.

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  • A final comment on Labor's leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there. Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition. But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

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  • A long time between hits

    In amongst all the politics and policy stuff, I try to make time to do some things that are completely disconnected from that*.  One thing I’ve found myself doing recently is doing a bit of practicing with a band, which has led to me doing a live performance for the first time in a long time.  Readers of this blog with a very long memory for minor matters may recall that I played keyboards in a couple of mini-performances with a band as part of promoting the Rock Against Howard compilation CD prior to the 2004 election.  However, drumming is what I’m better at – although I’m still a long way short of being able to say I’m good at it – which is what I am doing in the band I’m currently doing stuff with.  They’re doing their first full live Brisbane show tonight – which I think will be the first time since 1988 I’ve played drums in a live show.  It’s all nice and low-key, and for peoples’ enjoyment rather with an eye to making money out of it, so will make a nice change. *Actually, I don’t think anything is completely disconnected from politics. By coincidence, today also happens to be National SLAM Day – Save Live Australian Music.  As their website shows,

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  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs - interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it. It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same. You can listen to the interview at this link.

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  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.

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  • Stuff from my 4ZZZ shift this week

    Every Monday morning I do a shift on radio 4ZzZ FM102.1 – Brisbane’s longest serving community radio station (36 years old this year). And almost every week I talk with social media expert and lawyer Peter Black about some current political and other issues. You can listen to our talk this week by clicking on this link (it goes for over 30 minutes and has the occasional sweary word, so probably best just for dedicated fans). You can see the songlist I played this week – as usual featuring a sizable number of local artists – at this link, which in most cases also contains further links to other videos, information or photos of the artists.

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