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.

Telstra Board debacle

I must say I find the latest debacle surrounding Telstra quite astonishing. For the board to come out and recommend against a Howard government nominee to the board is extraordinary and must be unprecedented. For the government to foist someone, let alone a political ‘mate’, onto the board against their will on the eve of trying to sell another swathe of Telstra shares is equally bizarre. ...


Telstra Sold – Senate Sold Out

The package of 5 Bills that allow the sale of Telstra was guillotined through the Senate tonight, with Barnaby Joyce voting with the rest of the Government Senators, as he has through every step of the corrupted and tawdry process that was used to prevent proper scrutiny of the legislation and its many flaws. A Senate Committee was given only a one day hearing to take evidence from the ...

Telstra – railroaded, steamrolled or guillotined?

The biggest signal of an extremist government isn't the policies they put forward, it's the way that they try to implement them. I'd have to say one of the phrases I am most suspicious of is "the ends justifies the means". I've always instinctively felt this was a dubious notion. One of the sayings I remember from one of my better University lecturers is that "the means are the ...

Senate resumes – Telstra sale looming

I’ve managed to have a rare weekend at home with absolutely no work related commitments (although I have to dip into the email from time to time.) Tonight I fly back to Canberra for a fortnight of Senate sittings. This ‘two weeks on-two weeks off’ sitting pattern continues through until December. There’s any number of major policy issues on the agenda, from the Telstra legislation, to welfare changes, workplace ...

Musings for Barnaby – dancing with wolves can get you eaten

It shouldn't really be any great surprise that the National Party is willing to support the sale of Telstra, despite the widespread opposition of people living in rural areas (and the rest of the country too). After all, every National Party Senator has voted to sell part or all of Telstra a total of 5 separate times since 1996. The only question mark was whether new Senators Barnaby ...


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.