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.

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 sad saga of Saint Mary’s South Brisbane – an unholy row

It’s hard to think of another time when the goings on at a local Parish church has received so much media coverage.  Father Peter Kennedy, the about-to-be-ex Parish priest of St Mary’s Catholic Church at South Brisbane, featured in the glossy weekend magazines of both The Courier-Mail and The Australian.  This follows a myriad of previous stories in the local media, the ABC’s website and Catholic media in recent weeks covering the ...

One year since the Democrats’ (and Howard’s) end, a long overdue reform arrives

There has been a mountain of articles, opinion pieces and blog posts about the one year anniversary of the election of the Rudd government, and the end of the Howard government.  I think the jury is still very much out on how substantive the Rudd government will turn out to be, although I have to note and praise a few of the reforms in the immigration area – ...

Forums today on Housing and equal rights

Today I’m releasing a package of measures aimed at the housing affordability crisis. It’s an issue I’ve been pushing on for years, and whilst it has finally started to get some political traction at federal level in recent months (mainly because the crisis has got so bad it can no longer be ignored, even by the federal government), there has been surprisingly little focus on it in the ...

Same Sex: same old discrimination

At the end of June, the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission released the final report from their nationwide inquiry into discrimination against people in same sex relationships, entitled "Same Sex: Same Entitlements." It provided two simple recommendations on how to remove the discrimination which currently exists at a national level, including detailing 58 different federal laws which discriminate against same-sex couples in the area of financial and ...

Mardi Gras and law reform

I'm attending the Mardi Gras parade tonight for the first time in a few years. I've been plenty of times in the past, and I've always found it a very up beat, positive occasion. There has been a lot of progress towards equality and acceptance over the decades since the Mardi Gras started. It is now very clear the majority of the Australian community supports non-discrimination on the ...

Meet the new Wedge, same as the old Wedge

The next session of the Senate starts next week. Before each session the government sends around a list of all the legislation they intend to introduce in that session, as well as those they hope to actually bring on for debate and passage. The latest list came through yesterday. As I scanned the list of Bills planned for introduction, one in particular caught my eye. It is called ...

ACT law recognising same sex relationship overturned

The ACT legislation giving civil recognition to same sex relationships has been negated. The Senate failed today in its attempt to prevent the federal government from overturning the ACT law. Liberal Senator Gary Humphries voted against the government and in favour of the Senate's disallowance motion. However, the Family First Senator voted with the government, meaning the disallowance motion failed 30-32. My speech is below.

Legal Recognition of same sex relationships

The federal government's decision to overturn the ACT government's law allowing civil recognition of same sex relationships is also causing some concern in Liberal ranks. To date, the main public concern has been voiced by ACT Senator Gary Humphries. Senator Humphries is usually seen as being more on the morally conservative side of the spectrum, but his concern appears to be based as much on the principle ...

Love is in the Air – has John Howard changed his tune?

It has been interesting to see the large amount of media coverage in Australia about the start up of a law in the United Kingdom recognising civil unions of same sex couples. It is a good thing that somewhere such as the UK, with such strong links to Australia, is formally recognising same sex relationships in some way. However, I noted this comment on the blog of Rodney Croome, ...

Unarmed truth

After getting back from Canberra last weekend, I went to a dinner to mark the retirement of Tony Kelly, one of my lecturers from when I studied Social Work at the University of Queensland. His focus is community development, which is something I always felt was linked to but separate from most aspects of the more formal professional aspects of Social Work. There were a number of people ...

Other Bombings & Killing of Innocents

Just to show that nutbars who set off bombs and kill innocent people come in a range of colours and religions, here are links to a couple of stories from the USA. The first is about a guy who set off the bomb at the Atlanta Olympics. He has been sentenced to life in prison for that bombing and three other bomb attacks, including on an abortion clinic and ...

Mardi Gras

Sydney's Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade was held last weekend and it was the first time in about 7 years that I didn't attend to march in the parade. The Democrats have had a presence in the parade for many years to show support for equality for all people regardless of their sexuality or gender status. The Party Leader, Senator Lyn Allison marched this year along with ...


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.