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 ...


Using the internet for politics and the 2007 election

There was a piece in the Sun Herald last weekend suggesting the Liberal Party is “preparing a major internet blitz to reinvigorate itself”. The article contained a juvenile little snark from an unnamed Liberal Party source suggesting that “Christopher Pyne, Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey were the only senior former Howard government ministers who could use a computer.”  (disclosure: Christopher Pyne is my Facebook friend, while the other two are ...

Final numbers for Queensland Senate

As mentioned on the previous post, the Queensland Senate count is now final and has been formally declared.  Following are a few comments on the some aspects of the final result. The final quota required for a Senate seat was 345 559 votes. The Greens candidate was the one left short when the final seat was won by Labor. The Greens fell 33 645 votes short (or about 1.4%).

Formal Declaration of Queensland Senate poll

The Senate count for Queensland was formally declared today. The actual distribution of final preferences occurred yesterday; today was the formal announcement by the Electoral Commission, which also provides opportunities for candidates to speak.  There are a few aspects of the count and result which I will write about in a separate post. All six successful Senate candidates from Labor and the Coalition attended the formal Declaration of the ...

Other learnings from Queensland

Moving the focus away from the Senate result, there are a few other interesting features in the House of Reps results in Queensland (and to some extent elsewhere). The Coalition lost a swag of seats in Queensland (between 9 and 12 – my guess is this will end up at 11), but Queensland is still their second strongest state, after WA, with approx 49% two party preferred. Indeed, on ...

Three cornered contests deliver more bad news for the Nationals

Another feature of the Queensland results worth noting are the 3 cornered contests, where Liberals and Nationals competed against each other alongside labor. There were 5 of these seats in Queensland and these results should give the Liberals some cheer in amongst their losses, as they clobbered the Nationals in 3 of them and made up big ground in another.

A narrowing for Queensland

I'll wait until the Senate results are officially finalised before commenting more fully on what the ramifications might be. There are a lot of votes still to be counted, and I think there is a reasonable chance in Victoria that the Greens will catch up with the Liberals to take the final Senate seat there – although if I had to bet on it, I'd still back the ...


Election days always start early and finish late, especially if you’re a candidate. Visiting lots of booths and talking to campaign helpers throughout the day, followed by gathering together at night to watch the results come in and thanking people collectively for all their hard work. When it’s a bad result for people, it can be especially hard to thank them enough, as they are more likely ...

Senate results – balance of power with Xenophon & Family First?

The Senate results can’t be finalised for a couple of weeks until all the absentee and postal votes come in. Quotas can’t be formally determined and preferences distributed until the total number of formal votes are known, so definitive results can’t occur until then. However, the results do seem fairly clear in most states, and I’d have to say barring something quite extraordinary, it seems clear the Democrats ...

The Big Question

There’s only one more full day left before polling day, so I’ve decided it’s time to answer the really big question on the minds of voters.  I’ve been to over a hundred forums, functions, events, meetings and activities over the last six weeks, and there have been three questions I’ve been asked far more frequently than any other. The first is: How’s my campaign going?  The second is: Who ...

Moreton and its “exhausting” refugees

One of the seats I have visited a lot of during this campaign has been the Brisbane based seat of Moreton, which has been held by the Liberal’s Gary Hardgrave since 1996. He currently holds it by a margin of less than 3 per cent. My estimation of him went down dramatically when he weighed in supporting Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews public vilification of refugees who have come here from ...

Days 37 & 38

Yesterday and today are a mixture of media seeking, policy releases and voter meeting. I released some policies on child protection, which managed to achieve a small amount of media interest. Then I headed up to the Sunshine Coast

Libs not even showing up online!

This election has seen wider efforts at using the internet to provide a broader range of information to the electorate beyond the narrow confines of what is served up by the mainstream media. Two in particular are You Decide 2007, which is endeavouring to provide 'citizen-journalist' style coverage at the electorate level, and How Should I Vote, which tries to provide assistance to people on how they ...

Where’s the Immigration debate?

Yesterday I spoke at a session of the Queensland Multicultural Summit. There were about 250 or so people in attendance. The keynote speaker on the first day was Philippe Legrain, the British author of “Immigrants: Your country needs them.”  He has a blog of his own if you want to get a better idea of his views, but in very simple terms, he points the anomaly of a ...

Covering elections

Further to my post from the previous weekend, featuring Michael Gawenda (and me) bemoaning the nature of election campaigns and coverage, Margaret Simons has some suggestions in today’s Crikey on “what might be some more useful ways of covering an election campaign”.

Poll favours Democrats for Senate

It might not seem like much, but when there’s been three years of media coverage consisting mostly of pre-emptive obituary stories, seeing a headline that says “Poll favours Democrats for Senate” in the Sunday paper – albeit above a small story on page 9 – can come as rather a surprise. Even though it was amonst the Australian election coverage, it had been so long since I’d seen ...

Leave a comment on the election campaign

I’ve been charging around campaigning a lot in the last few days, so I haven’t had much time to add any substantive updates to this blog. I thought I would have an open thread where you can leave your comments and thoughts about the election campaign and issues. So if you have any views on what the candidates have been talking about (or not talking about), the media ...

Koala Protection

I launched the Queensland Democrats Environmental Sustainability platform with the Australian Koala Foundation's Deborah Tabart, last week. [youtube][/youtube] It's clear that state and local government have not been able to get their act together enough to prevent excessive clearing of koala habitat - resorting to the tried and true method of blaming each other for the situation. Meanwhile things continue to deteriorate. The federal government has been happy to intervene ...

Labor Party Campaign Launch

According to the word count on my computer program, Kevin Rudd’s speech at the Labor Party’s campaign launch today contained four thousand, three hundred and fifteen words – slightly fewer than the four thousand four hundred and four words in the corresponding speech by the Prime Minster two days earlier. The only specific reference in Mr Rudd’s speech to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people was in the following paragraph: If we are elected ...

Votes already cast before campaigns are ‘launched’

Voting already started at remote polling stations at the beginning of this week. People have also already started to cast pre-poll votes in every electorate around the country.  It’s an odd situation when people have already started voting and the two major parties are still having their main launches and unveiling major policies.  I’ve had two people tell me they’ve already voted for me – only about another 140 000 and I ...


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.