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.

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 ...

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PARK(ing) Day in Brisbane

In the last couple of months I have spent a lot of time around the West End area in Brisbane as it is one of the places I am doing some work at the moment. This morning I discovered that a few spaces in West End and the nearby South Bank region will be among many areas in Brisbane taking part in PARK(ing) Day, which occurs tomorrow, Sept ...

Another election appears

I had a momentary flashback as I went down to my local shops to get the papers this morning. There on the footpath were people with some election campaigning posters, including a Liberal Party one with the word HOWARD across the top in big letters. After spending all of last year hanging out for the federal election to be done with, the sight caused an instinctive churning of ...

Sustainable transport rally – “we can’t get much more car friendly than this”

There’s a rally and walk for sustainable transport happening in Brisbane city tomorrow (Saturday) from 11am. It’s another effort to try to draw attention to the bizarre cognitive dissonance that characterises the transport policies of the Brisbane City Council. There is a continued determination to spend hundreds of millions on tunnels and bridges to expand car usage, sitting blithely alongside statements and programs purportedly aimed at ...

politicians, air travel and climate change

It is human nature to overlook or excuse one’s own hypocrisy by saying (or thinking) that other people are worse. This isn’t really good enough though, particularly if you are going to try to convince other people that they need to change the way they act. It is much easier to accept the things that we want to believe are true, while ignoring those facts that are inconvenient. This ...

A Bridge Too Far

The Brisbane City Council made one of those strange decisions today where a majority of people supported something which I can only assume they know is a seriously bad idea. The Council’s Civic Cabinet, which has a Labor majority, agreed today to support the Liberal Lord Mayor’s plan to build the Hale Street Bridge, which will increase the total number of cars on the road and funnel a whole ...

Fuel tax legislation

An issue which has not got very much attention so far has been the planned changes to fuel tax. It is a complicated area, but it has significant ramifications for biodiesel, renewable fuels and oil recycling. The Senate Committee examining the legislation is tabling its report today. I understand it will recommend some changes, although how far they will go I am not sure. (UPDATE: Report can be ...

Brisbane Tunnel(s)

I thought the evidence was pretty obvious by now that spending massive amounts of money on freeways, tunnels and extra road space inevitably just leads to more people using cars, with a corresponding increase in pollution levels and a return to the traffic congestion levels that were used to justify the major roadworks in the first place. Despite this, the Brisbane City Council, with a Liberal Lord Mayor, enthusiastically ...

New runway for Brisbane airport

Brisbane airport has been planning to build a new parallel runway for some time, and today’s Courier-Mail has a range of stories on the possible impacts. There’s four separate stories on the Courier-Mail website (here, here, here, and here, (plus the cartoon). They are also attempting to make more use of the online format, providing an “in depth multi-media report” on the issue, with video interviews and graphics. ...

Getting on with things – Pride, the UN and Qld’s oldest broken political promise

Despite the disruption of losing Senators and staff (and the Government winning control of the Senate), I have still had to keep busy with local and national issues. In some ways I have to keep busier than ever if I want to (a) cover the same number of issues with fewer Senators, (b) balance out the likely loss of some of the forums that previously existed in the ...

From Canberra to Student Unions, Tunnels and Being Re-born

The last week in the Senate once again had a much higher number of Bills dealt with than usual – 19 in total in the 4 sitting days. None of these were very controversial, apart from the law to abolish ATSIC. As usual, details can be found on my main website. I left Canberra on the Friday morning, with the Senate not sitting again until the Budget appears ...

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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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