Ransom Demands

With final election results still in limbo, three of the independents likely to hold power have released a list of demands. They are actually calling them, “Requests for Information,” but much of the information they are requesting are written undertakings for specific deliverables. The most dangerous of these is the second part of point 6:

In this same letter of comfort, we seek a written commitment that whoever forms majority Government will commit to a full three year term, and for an explanation in writing in this same letter as to how this commitment to a full term will be fulfilled, either by enabling legislation or other means.

They’re trying to make themselves sounds so noble here – they’re just interested in stability. It’s pretty clear that the stability they’re after is their own position of power. Windsor did this at a state level as well, so he has form.

The full-term thing wouldn’t be so bad if Greens weren’t set to get balance in senate – there is no way the Coalition can risk agreeing to that. Even if the Coalition wanted a three-year term, that’s not something they can afford to show their hand on. They need to be free to at least give the threat of a double dissolution so that a hostile senate doesn’t lord it over them. This clause will make for a reckless senate.

The clauses for a DD exist in the constitution for a good reason, and the Coalition (and ALP too, for that matter) should tell them where to go. But they have to do it carefully, or they’ll be painted as uncompromising and power-hungry. So the way they need to sell it is to say publicly, “I’m sorry, but we can’t agree with this because [xxx]. We fully realise that this might cost their support, but as much as we’d like to form government, we have to put the country first.”

Then, the Coalition needs to whip up voters in the ex-National electorates to get their act together – and make it clear they want them to support coalition. This worked in toppling ETS, and I suspect it can work in knocking sense into these independents.

Of course, voters in these electorates don’t mind (and probably expect) a good deal of horse trading to get their electorate a “good deal,” but the list of demands don’t seem to help much in that area – and at least two of the three amigos sound partial to a great big new tax.

Meanwhile, Gillard has reportedly indicated her support for all seven demands.

Interesting times…

UPDATE: Abbott has given verbal agreement to 3-year term, but nothing in writing yet (hopefully he’ll allow himself some wiggle room if/when he does). He has, however, said no to Treasury doing the costings.

UPDATE 2: Check out this photo – the kingmakers treated like royalty. Is Swan bowing?

23 thoughts on “Ransom Demands

  1. Can these three members of Parliament truly be so ignorant as to believe they can legislate away the Constitutional power of the Governor-General to dissolve the House of Representatives? We’re in good hands, indeed.

  2. .Richard, I don’t think they’re asking for that – just undertaking that the parties themselves won’t call an election.

    That’s quite possibly the stupidest request of them all. How on earth can you function in this environment under our system without being able to go to the people and request a mandate especailly with a wafer thin margin?

    It’s even dumber than asking the libs to have the most compromised Treasury and Treasury Secretary in history cost out their promises.

    Think about this for a second. The Libs have basically nixed Henry’s my fair-share-tax and these idiots are asking him to reign supreme over the libs undertaking vs Labors, who have undertaken to introduce the awful tax.

    They’re either insane or just labor stooges.

  3. These guys are really bad news. i had the feeling they were Blackjack McEwen style protectionists and Katter definitely is. Bob is probably the worst and comes across as a raving narcissist, an economic illiterate, anti Coles and Woolies, anti privatisation, and wants protection and tariffs re-introduced. I guess we should be prepared to cut him a bit of slack, as this is the first time in years that he has managed to feel relevant.

    He has mentioned his dream of the biggest wind and Solar system on earth between Charters Towers and Mount Isa. My guess is that it will be government created as he loves state ownership, he is in favour of broadband but only if it is owned by the government. He opposed privatisation of Telstra, detests rationalists, and loves ‘clean coal’ and subsidised ethanol.

    Oakeshott is a GW fanatic while Windsor supports having a tax on carbon claiming, “the worst thing that can happen if it turned out that the climate did not change would be that we would pay a bit more for our power.” In other words if GW fails to happen, they want to keep the tax. Both along with the Green want a resource rent tax on mining, their only area of disagreement with Katter.

    They all came from the old National Party so they are not likely to have much experience in reality based thinking. I was always amused by the fact that, to the credit of the party, they were strongly anti socialist. In order to prevent socialism ever taking hold they tended to want to control or regulate, production, distribution and exchange, and believed strongly in state owned monopolies.

    On the face of it they seem to be a better fit with Labor, but I doubt that Abbott would have to move much further to the left to accommodate them.

  4. He has mentioned his dream of the biggest wind and Solar system on earth between Charters Towers and Mount Isa.

    He makes no sense. None at all. He’s not just a climate sceptic but an anti-AGWer.

  5. Dot:

    I’m calling him out on his hypocritical position and then suggest alternative sources in his electorate.

    It’s pretty objectionable.

  6. He makes no sense. None at all. He’s not just a climate sceptic but an anti-AGWer.

    It does make sense jc Bob will grab any bag of goodies he can get. He doesn’t have to believe in it, just get the money spent in his electorate.

  7. For a while I actually though Swan really was groveling in that photo. However on examination it looks like he was turning and the camera angle wasn’t favorable. A tragic image for Swan. It does seem however that the ALP would sell their souls to win at the moment. Abbott is being wise in not giving too much too easily.

  8. “Bob will grab any bag of goodies he can get. He doesn’t have to believe in it, just get the money spent in his electorate.”

    Exactly right. He’s perfectly consistent in that way.

  9. “Abbott is being wise in not giving too much too easily.”

    I’ve noticed that too over the last few days. It just goes to show that Abbott (while not perfect), is not beholden to anyone and is quite principled.

    Somebody this country has lacked for quite a while.

  10. Isn’t Windsor suffering from Parkinsons and not expected to contest his seat at the next election? So nothing to lose on his part…

  11. lol – could be Tron… I thought it looked like he was getting ready to kiss his ring (so to speak), whilst Gillard looks like she’s thinking, “Oh my God, Oh my God… he’s going to ask me to the prom, I just know it!”… And is Oakeshott checking out Swan’s backside?

  12. I think you’re right about Oakeshott. Sorry for not adding any critical comments on this occasion but there are too many smiles to take any of them seriously. Swan & ‘JR’ Katter can’t even look each other in the eye.

    “Chinese proverb. One picture is worth ten thousand words.”

  13. Greatest political piccie since Biff Latham’s Handshake of Death with Howard back in ’04 !

    That ain’t a Biffo handshake though – more like how you would gingerly pick up something nasty out of the toilet bowl.

    And is that a leather bracelet on Swannie’s wrist ?!

    Tony Windsor may be all smiles in the background – but, those crocodile eyes – shudder !

  14. “Tony Windsor may be all smiles in the background – but, those crocodile eyes – shudder !

    Haha – crocodile eyes – that’s it!

  15. And is Oakeshott checking out Swan’s backside?

    The eyeline is all wrong. He appears to be looking down at possibly a desktop where I suspect he has just noticed Swan has left his wallet.

  16. This photo is just a gift… I saw a news report on the night of their meeting (which I wish I’d captured for youtube,) where Julia said something to the effect of, “We’ve prepared this folder of some ideas for your electorates”

    I’m a pretty cynical dude, but even I found that astounding. Really icky stuff… I’m surprised she didn’t start twirling her hair and say, “Is there anything else I can do for you boys?”

  17. Oakeshott looks like he is in the twilight zone. That silly look on his face. Those alleged independents will all go Labors way. They are not independent at all. I would rather be without that stupid Kattar and Oakeshott and Windsor without them on the Liberal side as they would only be there to cause trouble.

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