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.

Rocking (or popping) against Howard

Getting up on stage to play a couple of short sets (4-5 songs) of music as a support to Frenzal Rhomb and The Herd was a nice change from straight election campaigning, although they were both Rock against Howard shows, so there was obviously a bit of a political flavour there.

I think we managed to acquit ourselves OK, help get the message out about the benefits of changing the Government, and had an OK time as well. All in all a fun and worthwhile thing to do (although I noted the Sunday Telegraph slagged me off for having a ‘Peter Pan syndrome’, I guess because it’s pathetic to have 40 year olds performing on stage. Someone should tell Neil Diamond before he gets here on his upcoming tour).

My ceaseless and shameless plugging of the top value, 34 track, Rock against Howard double CD will have to cease (only $20 though), as the new Nick Cave disc has come out (also a double album by coincidence). For a good interview, have a read of I will now refer to this with tedious regularity instead.

Managed to watch one of the semi-finals this weekend – Brisbane Lions make it to another grand final. I’m not sure how they’ll go against Port Power, who seemed primed for a strong performance, but it would be dangerous to write them off. I note the usual attacks on Brisbane’s ‘favoured status’ are coming out again because of the extra retention allowance support. It seems to me that, even for people that aren’t into sport, the Lions are an amazing example of what a group of people can achieve when they are willing to sacrifice short-term individual enrichment for a longer-term collective goal..

Even though I think the criticisms of the retention allowance are a crock, the extra amount is insignificant compared to what many of the players have sacrificed in potential individual earnings in exchange for staying together as a team chasing the goal of a premiership, and then the more challenging (but even more rewarding) goal of consecutive premierships. To just discount all of that sacrifice by sniping away about a relatively small and quite justifiable retention allowance is quite insulting.

Still, if other clubs seriously allow themselves to believe that that is the reason the Lions have done so well, they will be less likely to do well themselves because they won’t be acknowledging what really needs to be done to be successful.

The Grand Final could bring forth intense pre-election rivalry in the Democrat camp. I’ve managed to have a couple of year’s fun ribbing Natasha Stott Despoja about the Power failures of the past finals series. I’ve no doubt she’ll be itching to return the favour if the result goes her way next weekend. We’ll soon find out I guess.

I don’t think it will be until after the Grand Final is over that many voters will really start making decisions about how to vote.Visits to Qld, NSW and Victoria coming up over the next few days. Some important policy events too – I expect I’ll be doing more on Education and there’s the report into James Hardie’s action coming out to, which deserves to get some significant attention.


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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.

  • 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.