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.

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 ...


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 ...

Benefits of Migration

In the last year or so, those who regularly argue that migration levels somehow harm Australians and the Australian economy achieved much more political traction than usual, leading to all political parties sending various signals suggesting that migration should possibly be scaled back.  This has been one factor  (amongst four or five others) linked to a dramatic drop in the number of ...

Peter Black interview + songlist from this morning’s 4ZzZ show

My weekly on-air chat on 4ZzZ FM with Peter Black can be heard at this link.  It covers the flood levy stoush, the Egypt stoush, the advertising stoush at Online Opinion - and suggests checking out a new site, Readability, that makes websites easier to read. You can also have a look at my songlist from the show this morning at this link. My recommended Brisbane band of the ...

Population piece in latest edition of Overland

Overland magazine has been going since 1954, and is one of the few remaining independent literary and cultural journals left in Australia.  I have a piece published in their most recent edition (issue #201) on the topic of population and the so-called 'Big Australia' debate.  Actually, it is sort of two pieces - both myself and Assoc Prof Mark Diesendorf were asked to provide a progressive perspective on ...

Victorian election

Despite being far more interested than politics than most people, I have often struggled to get overly interested in state elections. In an ideal world, I think Australia would be better off without the states - or with many more, smaller state/regional governments, alongside a local government (one that is genuinely local) which is recognised in our Constitution. One of the less-noticed aspects of the agreement reached between the ...

This week’s Peter Black chat: NBN, Troops, Marriage, Courts and those utterly disgraceful cricket selectors

You can listen to this week's edition of my regular Monday morning chat on local radio 4ZzZ with constitutional lawyer, compulsive tweeter and pathological loather of Australian cricket selectors, Peter Black, by clicking on this link. (For anyone interested, the playlist for my shift this week can be viewed at this link.

Burma: How to help?

I usually complain that the Australian media (and Australians in general) pay little attention to elections and other political events in nations nearby to us in the south-east Asian region.  It is somewhat ironic that the 'election' which seems to be getting a lot of coverage is one which is so unfair and rigged as to barely justify being called an election at all.  None the less, it is ...

Interviews from my 4ZzZ show: Peter Black, BEMAC + the Church

Click on this link to listen to the interview I did with Peter Black on my show on community radio 4ZZZ-FM this week.  We talked about the USA midterm election results and the Brisbane International Film Festival, as well as a bit of bank bashing and a mention of Longreads - a website dedicated to long-form journalism. I also interviewed Jo Pratt, Director of BEMAC, a local organisation dedicated ...

The Church – then and now

I did an interview on my radio show this morning on 4ZZZ with Tim Powles, drummer and producer of The Church. It was nominally about the 30th anniversary tour the band is about to embark on – including shows in Brisbane this month - but it really went more to the history of the band and where they and the music industry is at these days. I remember ...

Our obsession with stopping boat people

I've written a short piece on the Asian Correspondent website about the Australian media coverage of Julia Gillard's visit to south-east Asia. I've been frustrated, but not surprised, that the majority of the coverage - at least amongst what I've seen - has been focused on the issue of a few thousand asylum seekers who arrive here in boats, and so little on the significant economic, human rights, environmental, ...

This week’s chat with Peter Black

Click on this link to go to a recording of my weekly radio chat with Peter Black. Today we covered the US mid-term elections, the topics of banking reform and proposed merger of the Australian & Singapore Stock Exchanges, as well as the rebirth of New Matilda and the start of the annual Brisbane International Film Festival.

New Matilda reborn

Back in May, I noted the closure of New Matilda, a website which provided one of the few independent political media outlets in Australia. Creating a viable financial model for such projects is difficult, and they weren't able to consistently cover their costs. However, they are obviously a determined bunch at New Matilda, as they are giving it another go. The website was resurrected last week, and rather than ...

Into the second week of campaigning

I've had a piece published at Online Opinion where I give some of my impressions of the first week of the campaign. Obviously, this is the first federal election I've contested with the Greens, but it is the eighth I've been involved with as either a campaign organiser or a candidate - always of course from the perspective of a 'third party' trying to convince voters to reduce ...

Piece on The Drum about challenges ahead for the Greens

As I noted in my previous post, this week's Newspoll saw the Greens register 16% support - the highest that party has ever achieved, comparable to the Democrats best Newspoll result of 17% back in 1990. History suggests it is unlikely that this peak will be maintained right through to election day (or even the next Newspoll) but it is part of a continuing trend of solid Greens ...

Wild Rivers

Contention over Queensland's  Wild Rivers legislation has been bubbling along for quite a while now. Unfortunately, as with many issues which become polarised, each "side" is focused on defending their position, which has meant that some important underlying issues are not getting the attention they deserve. I've just had a piece on this topic published at The Drum on the ABC's website.  It's fairly long, so they published it ...

The UK election & some possible Australia parallels

With the UK election happening this week, I recently wrote a piece for New Matilda about some of the parallels (as well as some of the differences) between the rising third parties of the Liberal Democrats in the UK and the Greens in Australia.  You can read the full piece at this link. For space reasons, I had to leave out a couple of other points I was going ...

Articles on Indian students, failed UN summits & refugees in our region

Items on Indian students, refugees in our region and Copenhagen Below are links to some recent pieces I have written on other sites: - some impacts from the recent murder of an Indian man living in Melbourne; - connections between the failures of a UN Summit on hunger and the Copenhagen climate change summit. - articles detailing some more mistreatment of refugees in our region here and here Below ...

The Hunger Summit

I've posted a piece over at The Stump about the links between global hunger and climate change, and the unfortunate parallels between the less than successful climate change summit in Copenhagen and an even more dismal outcome at the recent Hunger Summit in Rome, which received far less attention.

Posts from elsewhere: More refugee mistreatment & CPRS endgame

Following are links to some posts I've written elsewhere: Focus is continuing on the conditions Tamils taken off the boat in Indonesia are being kept in. But there's even worse happening in Thailand. Regional cooperation will need to be part of our future approach, but it will a hard, slow road. From Asian Correspondent, a look at where the CPRS is at with one sitting week of the Senate remaining. Also ...


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.