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.

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 ...

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The declining progressive vote

Given some of the attacks I've copped on this Blog about preferences, it is worth giving some further analysis about the actual impact of those preference decisions on the results. I do this not just to address some of the myths floating around but also to highlight what I think is more important, which is that the overall progressive minor party vote has now dropped so low that it ...

someone else’s view on preferences

For a different view worthy of consideration, try http://enmorestation.up.to/ Perhaps it is indeed time to stop being so reasonable and get out there and really raise heck. (Although the Greens didn't preference Hanson ahead of the Dems, but they put her ahead of Family First. and they did put Non Custodial Parents ahead of the Dems, etc, but we've been through all that stuff back in the October blogs.)

final Senate result – the winners & losers

Whilst its been clear for a while what the end result would be, the official Senate numbers (and names) are now finalised. In amongst all the claims and counter-claims, there are a few straightforward facts. After all the claims about preferences, a few points should be made: Pre-election warnings about the Government's chances of winning control of the Senate proved to be true. If the Greens had swapped preferences with ...

Campaigning stories

A couple of stories from the campaign from Democrat volunteers (a nice one and a bad one, just to balance things): 1. While I was handing out the HTV cards a man with a thick accent came through and made sure he got a HTV card from every party and continued on inside to vote. After he voted he came and stood in front of all the people handing ...

preference ebbs and flows

I doubt a day went by during the campaign when the Democrats didn't warn about the prospect of the Liberals controlling at least half of the seats in the Senate. The Democrats (and clearly some of Labor's) preferences were aimed at minimising the chances of that happening, by steering some preferences from the conservative side of the spectrum away from the Liberals. It appears that the reason why the ...

A view from Paris

There'll be plenty of places and times for comment on the election result. I received this viewpoint, which went to a number of newsgroups, so I thought I'd reproduce it here. I don’t agree with all the views expressed - especially the overly positive view of what the Labor Party offered, but it does indicate well what is now at risk of being permanently lost. That some of these ...

36 Hours to go

The polls are showing that a large number of people still haven't made up their mind about how to vote. It is likely that whatever that number is, it would be even higher in the Senate. That means there are plenty of people who can have their decision influenced, if they are made aware of the importance of the Senate and the danger that it may be weakened ...

Adelaide

In one of those wonderful pieces of election timing that make you wonder if the gods of politics have it in for me (yes, I do still think it's an open question), the day I choose to make a final foray into Adelaide is also the day that Howard and Latham choose to make a final foray into Adelaide. No doubt they both got wind of the fact ...

various campaign bits and pieces

The Green Party released their IR policy today saying they can deliver industrial peace in our time. Labor released their policy on Tas forests, promising a scientific assessment to decide which forest areas will be protected. I thought the Green Party would be outraged that they've just got another review with an unknown result not being delivered until after the election, especially after they'd already handed over their ...

Pig City launch and other distractions

We're heading into the final week of the campaign, and I noted an item from Newspoll stating that 25% of people haven't given much consideration to how they are going to vote yet. I imagine it's far higher than that for people's Senate vote. It's time to start working even harder now.I was mildly surprised how totally uninterested I was in the Rugby League Grand Final. It reminded ...

heading into the final week

Latham's Medicare Gold stuff seems to have got some momentum behind it, (judging by some of the feeling of journos in the Press gallery anyway). Hard to know if it's a grand idea with some flaws that need ironing out or a great sounding idea with no hope of working even remotely like they say it will or for the price they say it will. Needs more detail ...

Releasing refugee policy in Adelaide

Some OK articles in some of the papers about the Press Club speech, although nothing to suggest there'd been any major shift of consciousness in journalist land about the urgent need to give greater attention to the potential Senate outcome. Totally atrocious coverage in one paper who shall remain nameless and none at all in another. Stopped into a Sanity CD store with my staff person so they could ...

Speech to National Press Club

Received a lot of positive feedback from the speech to the Press Club. It's impossible for me to be objective about it obviously and also hard for me to judge when I'm delivering it rather than on the receiving end like everyone else. However, the feedback was more positive than usual. Still, you can never tell if it will get coverage and if so, which aspects or ...

Campaigning in Tasmania

I've always enjoyed visiting Tasmania. It really is an exceptionally beautiful place and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone. Even though I've lived all my life in Brisbane, I'm not a big fan of the heat and I often appreciated the soothing cool that Tassie provides. The visit was too short as always. I'm starting to develop a list of things I will try to do in the months ...

Greens and a blog

A weekend of watching the AFL Grand Final on the TV (a sad result in my view, but still an amazing effort from the Lions over 4 years), preparing for and then doing Meet The Press on Sunday morning. I was followed by Andrea Mason from Family First party. The exaggerated claims about Family First being an extreme right wing party were left unsubstantiated, but I guess ...

Melbourne – young people in nursing homes and Grand Final breakfast

I flew to Melbourne Friday morning on a 6am flight. I had one of those awful 'wake up to turn off the alarm and then go straight back to sleep' experiences, waking up 20 minutes after I was due to leave. Fortunately my exceptionally wise, long-suffering and underpaid staff person who books all these things for me has learnt to book my cars about 20 minutes earlier than ...

airwaves and airplanes

A happy birthday to Nick Cave (for the 22nd), which provides yet another excuse to plug his new album - do yourself a favour and grab a copy. Really enjoyed doing the interview on 4ZZZ. Radio is so the best medium. I think if more politicians and the like did more interviews on community radio, there's probably be more genuine information come out about their views. You're inherently less on ...

In Sydney on Insight

In Sydney tonight. Did a live forum with a group of people on SBS Insight. Always hard to get much of a word in on those things, although I got more of a run than most of the people who were present, many of whom missed out altogether. I sat next to a cabbie who has his own blog - worth checking out at http://cablog.com.au/ ...

to sleep or not to sleep…

It's fairly late at night - sitting in my office in Canberra now but off to Sydney in the morning. I'm starting to get in trouble from my staff for not getting to bed earlier (probably cos they know how grumpy I can get and they don't want to have to endure that ;-), but late at night is the best time to clear the thoughts and let ...

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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.

  • 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…)

  • 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.

  • 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.