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.

(very) belated final thoughts on 2010 result

I have finally got around to closing the Facebook page I set up when I was running as a candidate for Brisbane at last year’s federal election (promptness isn’t always my forte).  Writing a note notifying people of that gave me cause to look again at the result (nationally as well as in my electorate of Brisbane) and at what has happened since. As I’ve noted before the result ...


2010 federal election workshop

After every federal election since 1996, a group of political scientists have gathered at the Australian National University in Canberra to examine a whole range of factors from the election just gone. I’ve spoken at each of these since the 1998 election, speaking about the campaign from the Democrats perspective – apart from the one held after the 2007 election, where I couldn’t quite muster the enthusiasm. The workshop ...

The full Senate results

The Senate contest in Queensland was formally declared today, and the results in other states and territories will be officially declared over the next week or so.  The understandable focus on who would end up forming government has mean there has been very little attention given to the results in the various Senate contests at this election, especially given it was obvious on election night that the Greens ...

A moderate pace is best indeed. The greater hurry, the worse speed.

All of the 150 House of Representatives seats now have a clear winner. Unlike some other recent elections, there has not been any real knife edge seats, which is probably just as well given the uncertainty over who will form government. Given how finely balanced things are with the hung Parliament result, it could have caused real mayhem if the 2007 result in the Victorian seat of McEwen ...

Liberals smearing of Treasury is dangerous nonsense

Mr Abbott's excuses for not enabling such important economic information to be made available to the Independents - who after all do have to make the rather crucial decision as to who should form Australia's government - are risible. It is a worrying sign for where our democracy might be heading that he is not being pilloried by every political commentator in the country for trying to prevent ...

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, ...

Radio chat on the election

Every Monday morning during my radio show on community radio 4ZzZ FM, I chat with Peter Black, a constitutional lawyer, follower of social and political issues and obsessive user of social media. I don't normally put links to those chats on this blog, but given that our talk this morning was all about the federal election, I thought it was worth putting a link to it on this ...

Assessing the election – part 1

It was a fascinating election result, and also a historic one on a number of fronts. The Greens historic achievement in winning a House of Representatives seat at a general election, combined with the probability of a hung parliament, presents a real possibility that we may finally be faced with a real chance to start breaking down the two party stranglehold on Australian politics, which in my view ...

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 ...

Pre-election ‘Debate’ Farce

Given I am now running as a Greens candidate, I suppose it is no surprise that I am indicating my agreement with a comment that Bob Brown made today.  But I would also say that it isn't any secret that I haven't agreed with every public comment that Bob has made, and I would agree with the following comment about the schoolyard level nonsense regarding another possible leaders ...

Nauru redux – it ain’t no ‘boarding school’

The prospect of the refugee detention camps on Nauru being reopened has become very real, with the issue of asylum seekers in boats apparently being of such magnitude to Tony Abbott that he would make it virtually his first priority for action above almost everything else, should he end up being elected on the weekend. Apart from a visit by Philip Ruddock and the then shadow Minister for Labor, ...

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 ...

Election forums in Brisbane – Seniors & Chamber of Commerce

Having stood as a candidate many times before (six times, for anyone wanting to know), I'm used to the plethora of candidates forums which occur during the election period.  Except for very large events, I doubt these shift many votes, but I believe they can be an important mechanism for exposing candidates to the views of concerned and engaged constituents. Because my two main opponents on this occasion have ...

Rail to Redcliffe on again?

It is over five years since I wrote a post on this blog about the many promises that have been made over the years to build a rail link from Brisbane to Redcliffe. In the five years since, plans to build to build the railway have been put on and then off the table once again. Redcliffe has also ceased to be a separate city, being forcibly amalgamated with ...

Into the second week of campaigning

I've had a piece published at Online Opinion where I give some of my impressions of the first week of the campaign. Obviously, this is the first federal election I've contested with the Greens, but it is the eighth I've been involved with as either a campaign organiser or a candidate - always of course from the perspective of a 'third party' trying to convince voters to reduce ...

Recent Interviews

Following are links to a couple of recent radio interviews I've done, plus an online one

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 ...

Speaking out against refugees getting hammered once again

One of Afghanistan's most prominent human rights advocates is in Australia this week attending a conference in Canberra. Nader Nadery has been a commissioner on the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission since it was established in 2002 and he was part of the Afghan delegation to the Bonn conference on Afghan reconstruction after the US led invasion. ELEANOR HALL: What's your view of the Australian Government's change of policy on ...

First candidate forum for Brisbane

The contest for the House of Reps seat of Brisbane at this year's federal election will almost certainly be the only one which features 3 competing candidates each with over 10 years of experience in the federal Parliament. Those 3 candidates are: - Arch Bevis, who has held the seat on behalf of the Labor Party since 1990; - Teresa Gambaro from the Liberal National Party, who held the seat of ...

What will happen if/when Copenhagen fails?

It seems more and more likely that the Copenhagen Summit will fall well short of what many people had hoped for. Some hope that the arrivals of some key players like  President Obama and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might still help bring about a positive outcome, but it is hard to see it happening. If the Copenhagen outcome does fall short, a crucial factor in what happens next ...


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.

  • 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.

    More... (7)
  • 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.

  • 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,

    More... (0)
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.