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.

The Liberal’s compulsion to turn public assets into private wealth – and get the public to help fund the process

The LNP in Queensland have been softening up the public for a privatisation binge pretty much from the day they got elected in 2012. In recent times, they’ve kindly made the public pay millions for a prolonged wide-ranging advertising campaign – badly disguised as a pretend consultation process called Strong Choices. Naturally, any input from the public that didn’t back privatisation was ignored and the recent ...

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Political donations: buying influence and outcomes.

The furore in New South Wales over developers and resource companies seeking to buy influence through political donations has died down a bit as focus has turned to the federal Budget. Whilst no one is linking Budget decisions to specific donations, it is pretty obvious the Coalition has brought down a Budget which favours many of their major financial backers, whilst a very large number of less ...

Time to restore an Upper House in Qld’s Parliament

Calls to bring back the Upper House - or Legislative Council - in Queensland's Parliament appear with fairly regular frequency. Like every other state Upper House at the time, when Queensland's Legislative Council voted to abolish itself back in 1921, all its members were appointed rather than elected - something which certainly needed addressing. However, every other state (eventually) dealt with this through the obvious mechanism of requiring ...

Interview with Peter J Black: Racial vilifaction vs freedom of speech

A recent controversy over a blatantly racist page on Facebook - and Facebook's delay in taking the page down - raised the issue of how best to address cases of blatant racial vilification. Similar issues were raised with the trial of Andrew Bolt for columns he wrote which were found to breach the Racial Discrimination Act. I recently spoke about these issues with law lecturer Peter J Black, who ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Campaigning visit to Airlie Beach & Mackay

There is often a large amount of variation amongst the 89 different electorate contests across the state, with local issues and local candidates having a much greater impact on the outcome in each seat than occurs at federal elections.  This is even more the case in seats outside the south-east corner – which can often tend to sneak under the media radar given the tendency to focus predominantly ...

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 ...

Where to next with climate change battle?

Earlier this week, I spoke with Kellie Caught, head of climate change campaigning with WWF in Australia, about the outcomes of the conference in Durban, as well as what comes next following the package of Clean Energy and carbon pricing legislation that was passed by the Australian Parliament last month.   You can listen to that interview at this link. The legislative package passed with the support of ...

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 ...

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 ...

Interview with McKisko

One of the best things about doing a weekly show on local radio station 4ZzZ-FM is getting the chance to find out so much about the huge number of local performers producing such a wide variety of fabulous sounds these days - and sometimes I get to talk with some of them on air as well. I had such a chance with my show this week, talking with ...

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 ...

Downsides of the mining boom

I'm MC at a free public forum in Brisbane tomorrow (Tuesday) evening on the topic of Can Queensland Afford the Mining Boom? The forum is organised by The Australia Institute, whose Executive Director, Dr Richard Denniss will be speaking. It will explore the economic and social downsides of the mining boom. (I imagine some of the environmental downsides will get a mention too).  I did a brief interview ...

Voiceless animal law lectures happening this week

Voiceless is an Australian organisation dedicated to alleviating the suffering of animals, and each year they hold a lecture series focused on animal law.  This year's lecture features Peter Stevenson, the chief policy advisor for Compassion In World Farming in Europe.  Among other things, he will drawing attention to the potential health impacts from the overuse of antibiotics on animals in factory farming situations. The lectures are happening around ...

Peace Convergence against war games in Yeppoon

I wrote on this blog four years ago about going to Yeppoon to participate in the Peace Convergance, protesting against the Talisman Sabre military exercises, which are held nearby in the beautiful Shoalwater-Byfield area. This weekend I went to Yeppoon for the same purpose, speaking at a rally held on the beachfront. I speak at and support such events because I believe it is important to encourage more ...

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 ...

Quandmooka Native Title claim recognised … at last

In my very First Speech to the Senate back in 1997, I praised the Native Title negotiations then taking place between the Quandamooka people, the Traditional Owners of Stradbroke Island, and what was then the Redland Shire Council.  I mentioned it as a positive example of what Native Title could deliver for our entire community, as those negotiations seemed to be progressing well at the time.  I never ...

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 ...

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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.

    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.

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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,

    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.

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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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