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.

Bartlett backs start of ‘Don’t Murray the Mary’ kayak trip tomorrow

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett is welcoming the kayak trip along the threatened Mary River being undertaken by Steve Posselt to draw attention to the major damage that will be caused by the Labor government's Traveston Dam. Senator Bartlett will be attending the start of Steve Posselt's kayak trip tomorrow morning in Brisbane. Mr Posselt will be paddling up the Brisbane Rover, hiking to the upper catchment of the Mary ...

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TURN LIGHTS OFF FOR AN HOUR, THEN GO VEGETARIAN FOR A DAY

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett says that while tomorrow night's Earth Hour is a welcome initiative, we could all make a bigger and more immediate difference by going without meat or dairy products for a day. "Overall greenhouse emissions from livestock are greater than that from all forms of transport put together, yet the significant impact we can make from the simple action of changing our diets is still rarely ...

Rudd government should intervene in Queensland Stolen Wages disgrace

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has urged federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin to intervene on the Queensland government's continued refusal to pay back wages rightly earned by Aboriginal people in that state. "Six years after their original inadequate response for repaying wages, the state government has not offered one extra cent, and instead has taken a big chunk of the money back and continued to exclude many people from ...

QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT STEALS STOLEN WAGES ALL OVER AGAIN

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett says the State Government is once again refusing to return money to Indigenous Queenslanders who rightly earned it. "The announcement today by the Queensland Government regarding Indigenous Stolen Wages compounds the injustice of the original inadequate offer made on this issue six years ago," Senator Bartlett said. "It has been established beyond doubt that many Indigenous people in Queensland earned millions of dollars that was never ...

BARTLETT SUPPORTS EXPANSION AND FAST-TRACKING OF SKILLED MIGRATION – Humanitarian claims should also be streamlined

The federal Immigration Minister's aims to fast-track skilled worker visas and consider helping with the wider labour shortage through Pacific Island workers should be supported, according to Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett. Senator Bartlett said the genuine need to ensure migrant workers are protected from exploitation should not be used as an excuse to put barriers in the way of valuable and needed migration. "Migrants and refugees do not ...

Bill to establish a National Commissioner for Children introduced into the Senate

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has introduced a Bill into Parliament to establish an independent National Commissioner for Children. "With no political voice of their own, the rights of children are often ignored or marginalised," Senator Bartlett said. "A Children's Commissioner would ensure that the needs, views and rights of people under the age of eighteen are recognised and promoted. "Along with promoting the rights of children, the Commission would monitor ...

Stolen Generation Compensation Bill sent to Senate Committee

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has successfully referred his Stolen Generation Compensation Bill 2008 for scrutiny by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee. The Bill seeks to implement a reparations process for victims of the Stolen Generation, based on recommendations from the decade old Bringing them Home report. "I strongly urge anyone interested in the issue of formal compensation for the Stolen Generations to make a submission to the Inquiry," ...

Bartlett calls for Government Inquiry into wool industry bribe allegations

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has called on the federal Labor government to set up a public inquiry into allegations of bribery and intimidation by Australian government and wool industry officials. Newspaper reports say many large clothing retailers in Sweden have banned Australian wool products; Sweden's Minister for Agriculture Eskil Erlandsson has urged consumers to boycott Australian wool and there are alleged bribes by a representative of the ...

RUDD MUST CONSIDER TAX CHANGES TO TACKLE HOUSING AFFORDABILITY CRISIS

Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett says the federal government's actions so far to tackle housing affordability are welcome, but are just scratching the surface of a very deep problem. "Every option must be considered, including modifying negative gearing and the existing capital gains tax discounts and exemptions," Senator Bartlett said. "This problem will never be fully solved unless changes are made to the taxation measures which currently distort housing markets ...

Affordable housing tax credits a positive, but much wider action still needed

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has welcomed Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek's commitment to proceed with tax credits to encourage affordable housing. "In amongst all the focus on inflation and interest rates, the affordable housing crisis has continued to worsen, for renters as much as home buyers," Senator Bartlett said. "The indication from Minister Plibersek that Labor will be proceeding with the pre-election promise in this area is welcome, but it is ...

Pacific Island workers a better bet than backpackers to fill employment shortages

Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett has called for the federal government to begin allowing workers from Pacific Island countries into Australia to fill labour market vacancies, rather than further expand the rules for backpackers visiting on working holiday visas. "A scheme for Pacific Island workers to fill seasonal or regional labour market gaps would need to be carefully designed and monitored, but it makes far more sense than relying ...

WAR CABINET ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES SHOULD BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO WORK

Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett has hit out at Coalition critics of the Prime Minister's planned non-partisan 'war cabinet' on Indigenous issues. "There is no other area of policy where government and politicians of all political persuasions have failed as comprehensively and unacceptably, decade after decade, as we have in regards to Indigenous Australians," Senator Bartlett said. "I expressed support for Kevin Rudd's idea when he first proposed it as ...

UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES BOLSTER CASE FOR FURTHER INCREASE IN IMMIGRATION INTAKE

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett says yesterday's low jobless rate and the related labour market shortages in many areas points to the need for further increases in our migration intake. "Even with sharp increases in recent years in the number of permanent migrants, temporary skilled workers and people on working holiday visas, employers in many areas are finding it harder and harder to find staff, even for some semi-skilled and ...

BARTLETT WELCOMES SENATE INQUIRY INTO HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has welcomed the establishing today of a Senate inquiry into housing affordability. "I have been urging for years for the federal parliament to give more attention to the long-standing and growing crisis in housing affordability," Senator Bartlett said. "This inquiry should allow an open and thorough examination of this crucial issue which is hurting millions of Australians across all parts of the country." "It is impossible to ...

Practical follow on from apology – Stolen Generation Compensation Bill reintroduced into Senate

Democrats' Indigenous Affairs spokesperson Senator Andrew Bartlett reintroduced his Stolen Generation Compensation Bill in the Senate today as a practical step to heal the hurt following yesterday's historic apology to the Stolen Generation. This Bill was first introduced as an exposure draft in March 2007 and then formally in September 2007 following public comment and recommendations from Indigenous groups and organisations on its practical application, scope and workability. "This ...

Welcome to Country an important step forward

Australian Democrats Indigenous Affairs' spokesperson Andrew Bartlett says this morning's Welcome to Country to open the new federal Parliament is an important step forward which is as significant in some ways as tomorrow's apology to the Stolen Generations. "Enabling a welcome to country from the traditional owners is a significant action, and the new Labor government should be congratulated in enabling the first Australians to play a key role ...

Cruelty evident in live export verdict

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has called on the federal government to put a stop to the live export trade following the court verdict in the Western Australian Government's animal cruelty case against Emanuel Exports Pty Ltd. "The government can no longer dodge its complicity in allowing verified cruelty," Senator Bartlett said. "The inhumane practice of live animal exports must stop. "This case is just part of a very ...

Nauru detention centre closure welcomed – Change law to stop it happening again and let Nauruans in too

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has welcomed the end to detaining refugees on Nauru, but has called on the federal government to amend the Migration Act to prevent similar actions being done in the future. In the six years that the Nauru detention centres operated, Senator Bartlett was the only Senator to go to the centres, making four visits over four years to meet with refugees and examine conditions. "The Nauru ...

There should be no greater priority than Indigenous issues – pathetic Liberals let Labor off the hook

Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has labelled the Coalition's hand-wringing about whether to support an apology to the Stolen Generations as 'pathetic', and warns the Liberals are letting Labor off the hook on the issue. "Labor has breached their own party platform by refusing to consider a compensation scheme for the many people affected by Stolen Generation policies and practices," Senator Bartlett said. “Yet despite Labor’s half-hearted approach on this, they ...

Bartlett comment on final Queensland Senate count

Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett has formally congratulated Labor Senator elect Mark Furner on winning the Democrat Senate seat following the final distribution of preferences by the Australian Electoral Commission today. "This result marks the end of an era," Senator Bartlett said. "Queenslanders have had a Democrat representative in the Senate since 1981, and this election result means an end - for now at least - to any non-major ...

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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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