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 ...

Bob Brown’s retirement – what next? Discuss

Large amounts have already been written about the surpise decision by Bob Brown to retire from the Senate and as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens. I did a fair bit of media commentary on Bob Brown's announcement, so to get some idea of my views on the immediate context, you can read this piece from the Brisbane Times, listen to this interview with Kelly Higgins-Devine on 612 ABC ...

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 ...

Anita Heiss – positive messages in the face of negative attacks

A few weeks ago I interviewed author Anita Heiss about her new book Am I Black Enough For You?  The book is partly a personal memoir and partly explores the issue of Aboriginal identity.  You can listen to the interview at this link. Anita Heiss was one of a number of people who took columnist Andrew Bolt to court for making a range of false claims which in effect ...

From state election to Brisbane City Council election (with a by-election on the side)

I was so focused working on the Queensland state election campaign, (relieved by the occasional brief break of feeling despondent about the Queensland state election campaign), that I didn't get around to blogging about it. Now that that election is over - although counting is still being completed - it's straight into the local government election campaign, with an extra serving of unexpected by-election happening in the seat ...

Stolen Wages stay stolen – WA’s turn

It's hard to know what to say on this issue that hasn't already been said, but the blithely blatant injustice is still hard to stomach - I can only imagine the fury many Aboriginal must feel about this. Almost five years ago I wrote here about the report of the Senate Committee Inquiry I helped establish in 2006  into wages and other entitlements stolen from Aboriginal people. I also ...

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 ...

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 ...

Is Labor about to risk doing a Democrats?

Every political party - indeed most community organisations - find themselves having to deal with internal turmoil and personal conflict from time to time. In that sense, the main difference for political parties is that those differences tend to be more likely to be played out in the public eye.  But I can't escape the feeling that the current turmoil within the federal Labor Party is much deeper ...

Campaigning visit to Airlie Beach & Mackay

There is often a large amount of variation amongst the 89 different electorate contests across the state, with local issues and local candidates having a much greater impact on the outcome in each seat than occurs at federal elections.  This is even more the case in seats outside the south-east corner – which can often tend to sneak under the media radar given the tendency to focus predominantly ...

Ashgrove – The Narrowing!

As is usual with elections, there has been a lot of coverage on the personalities and the contest and not so much on the policies and issues.  Still, the unusual strategy the Liberal-Nationals have adopted of having their leader and proposed Premier campaigning from outside of Parliament has invited an even greater focus on Campbell Newman himself and also on the seat of Ashgrove which he is contesting. Regardless ...

Back to the blog

Having had a couple of months break from this blog thing, I thought I'd have a go at trying to use a bit like I did when I first started it out back in 2004 - giving some occasional updates of things I've been doing. A few months ago I became Convenor of the Queensland Greens, which has meant I have become a lot more immersed in the internal, ...

Where to next with climate change battle?

Earlier this week, I spoke with Kellie Caught, head of climate change campaigning with WWF in Australia, about the outcomes of the conference in Durban, as well as what comes next following the package of Clean Energy and carbon pricing legislation that was passed by the Australian Parliament last month.   You can listen to that interview at this link. The legislative package passed with the support of ...

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 ...

Climate Change package and the Senate

Barack Obama's visit to Canberra this week has generated a lot of attention.  But I was much happier being  in Canberra last week for the Senate’s historic vote to pass the package of legislation that will finally start moving Australia towards a clean energy future. I partly wanted to be there as a way to bear witness to the efforts of so many members and MPs of the Australian ...

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 ...

Interview with McKisko

One of the best things about doing a weekly show on local radio station 4ZzZ-FM is getting the chance to find out so much about the huge number of local performers producing such a wide variety of fabulous sounds these days - and sometimes I get to talk with some of them on air as well. I had such a chance with my show this week, talking with ...

Lies, Damn Lies and really really Big Lies

With the carbon pricing legislation passing the House of Representatives, the complaints have got ever louder about Julia Gillard's 'lie' on that matter just before the last election. Coming from the party whose former leader coined the phrase "non-core promise", this might seem a bit rich. But as I was reminded tonight when I found a brief clip on YouTube, for a really world-class example of a monstrous ...

The decline (or re-defining) of blogging?

This piece in the SMH details some of the reasons why the breadth of blogging has reduced in recent times. I basically agree with the reasons it outlines, not least because it goes to some of the same reasons I've expressed on this site previously. Ironically, I read the SMH piece because it was linked to in the first post on a new blog by Annabel Crabb, which ...

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 ...

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.