Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 2, 2011

Friday, 1st July 2011 – a new year if you are an accountant, and big changes on the political scene!!

I rather enjoy this not having to rush up of a morning, and drive halfway across the city every day, think I could get used to it, but not yet, especially with a view to a few rather busy weeks I have ahead of me!! So it is simply too early to get into too much of a relaxing mode just yet.  But I’m pleased at the opportunity these times give me for a daily walk. Yesterday’s medical check-up confirmed that my current weight is the lowest it has been for a decade or so, so in one respect, I must be doing something right!!

As for today’s date, amongst other things, it means potentially a major change in the way parliament will be operating. As a consequence of last year’s Federal election, the new Senators who were elected,. Officially take up their positions today, and those who were defeated last August, left their roles yesterday, officially. Senators are elected for a six year term.  The outcome of the new Senate situation sees four new ‘Green’ senators take up their seats, meaning that the Greens will; have the balance of power in the Senate, and because they have ‘got into bed’ with the Labor Government [or is it the other way around?], the Opposition Coalition will not be able to block any measures of the government at the Senate level, unless the Greens support them, highly unlikely. In fact Bob Green, Greens leader, has already suggested that should the Liberals win the next election, they will be hampered by a Senate opposition, which so long as the Greens and Labor team together, legislation not supported by those two groups will not get through!!

The Senate has 76 seats, and as of today it will be comprised of 31 Labor members, 29 Liberals, 9 Greens, 5 Nationals, 1 Independent senator, and 1 from the Democratic Labor Party. This means no side of politics can win a majority of 39 seats in the Upper House [Senate] without the support of the Greens, which at this stage can be expected to favour Labor in most circumstances.  The leader of the Greens is Bob Brown./He  has been a member of the Senate for the past 15 years and became the Greens parliamentary leader in 2006. The 66-year-old former doctor and Tasmanian Wilderness Society director has been recognised as the first openly gay member of Australian Parliament. He has campaigned against deforestation and nuclear energy, while backing same-sex marriage, the rights of asylum seekers and action on climate change.

I guess I will wait and see how this ‘new’ arrangement turns out. Generally, I am not in favour of a minor Party [such as the Greens] been given the balance of power over two major parties, and the fear is that this power has the potential to be used incorrectly, and against the broad interests of the community. On the other hand, perhaps the community has only itself to blame because of it’s inability to clearly decide between the two major parties last August, and in the process, electing new ‘Green’ Senators  –  it is only natural that for a minority government to succeed, of the nature we now have, it should depend on minor groups sand/or independents in order to run government. The Liberal Party is in no confusion about what this all means, and from their online media report today, we read that     ‘Already in a formal alliance with Gillard Labor, the influence of the Greens moves to a new level from today as they gain control of the balance of power in the Senate.  Bob Brown is on the record about the Greens’ agenda  “The Greens are about recreating Australia for the new century street by street, community by community, city by city.”   The Greens want to transform Australia root and branch – not for the better, but for the worse. Their goal stretches well beyond introducing a job destroying economy-wide carbon tax that will push up prices and add further cost of living pressures on already struggling Australians and their families’  That media release then goes through an extensive list of taxes and social reform agendas amongst other things, which I won’t detail here, but which, as far as the Opposition is concerned, provide numerous examples  of the extreme policies that the Greens want to impose on Australia. Actually, some of the social changes which have been hinted at in Green policy speeches, etc make interesting reading, here’s a few of them:-  not all exactly extreme, but with some cause for concern in places.

  • End the Northern Territory Indigenous Intervention;
  • Legalise cannabis for medical use;
  • Support needle and syringe exchanges, and medically supervised injecting rooms;
  • Ban on junk food advertisements during children’s television viewing hours;
  • Limit Commonwealth power to override territories legislation;
  • Give 16 year olds the right the vote;
  • Enact a Bill of Rights;
  • Full public funding of elections;
  • Change the national flag.

So, it will be interesting to see just what kind of success the Greens have in achieving those aims, as well as the numerous policies they have articulated in respect to taxes of various kinds, etc. From what I read, they are a tax orientated party, which doesn’t auger well for the ordinary citizens of this country, who already face  a heavy burden of a wealth of taxes!! I am particularly interested in whether the current approach of constant negativity by Opposition leader, Tony Abbott will be modified  to any degree over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I have just scanned  a very interesting, but lengthy article from the ‘Election blog’ of political analyst, Antony Green [no connection to the ‘Greens Party’] on the subject of the possibility of a Double Dissolution of Parliament, when both the House of Representatives and the Senate are dissolved together, and full elections are held for both Houses. In a normal election, only a half Senate election is held, hence the arising of the kind of situation referred to above.  Unfortunately, Antony’s ‘little’ piece was quite long, otherwise I would have included it with this contribution. I shall retain it for future reference, when and if the subject arises. The double dissolution was devised by the 1891 Constitutional Convention as a mechanism for resolving deadlocks between the House of Representatives and the Senate. Only six of Australia’s 43 elections have been double dissolutions, and only the 1974 double dissolution produced a joint sitting. Despite the state-based origins of the Senate and the double dissolution provision, disputes between the two chambers have always involved party politics rather than state issues.

No visitors here for a week – I think Jodie has fixed her computer problems, so she had no incentive to come over and borrow Susie’s computer while the latter is away – now due back on Sunday according to her advice to me late this afternoon [in response to my enquiry]. Another quiet Friday night ahead of me!  The Men’s Wimbledon semi finals were being played tonight  –  I had the tennis on in the background, though was busy with other things for most of the time.  Men’s Singles Semi Final results were:

Rafa Nadal [Spain] defeasted Andy Murray [Britain] 5/7, 6/2,6/2,6/4, and
Novak Djokovic [Serbia] defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [France]  7/6, 6/2, 6/7, 6/3

Both matches pretty well ending as expected though I was hoping that Murray would have come through against Nadal  – looks like Britain will have to wait another year for a Wimbledon winner!!!




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