Senate Bingo! The @sarah_capper column

A whole new class of players joined the Upper House this month, and with a record number of cross-benchers – 18, including the Greens – there will be deals-a-plenty and the “spin cycle” on overdrive. Cards will be kept close to chests; cards will be put out on the table; and, as the last week has shown, cards will just as quickly be taken away. While PUP leader Clive Palmer appeals to pensioners by saying he will block the Government’s $7 GP co-payment, so that “those ladies” can “have their chocolate and go to the cinema”, let’s crunch the critical numbers with a round of ‘Senate Bingo’. [Insert archaic rolling wheel of bingo […]

Reading the #WAvotes tea leaves: @sarah_capper

[clear]   Following an Australian Electoral Commission bungle after the federal Senate count last September, West Australians were forced back to the polls earlier this month, in what was supposed to represent either an endorsement for Tony Abbott’s Government and policies – or it would instead show an improvement in Labor’s poor vote in the state last September and suggest the opposition was on the right track. It did neither. Neither of the major parties truly succeeded in their campaigns, both losing around 5 per cent of their share from the September result. This desertion of voters from both major parties went to The Greens and the Palmer United minor parties – The Greens […]

Freedom and Prosperity Party’s @NoDirectAction campaigns from east coast: @GuinevereHall reports #WAvotes

[clear] A handful of the 77 candidates vying to represent Western Australia in the rerun Senate election live in other states. I contacted Bill Koutalianos, president of the Freedom and Prosperity Party and its number one senate candidate, via Twitter and email. At first he said he wasn’t intending to come to Perth in the lead-up to the election. However, after some pressure, he made it over last week to speak to me and will be back next week to be involved in a candidates’ forum. I asked him how well he felt he could represent a state that he doesn’t live in. He agreed it was a fair question […]

#leardblockade: Whitehaven Coal under criminal investigation for allegedly false statements on environmental offsets for Maules Creek mine

Evidence by Environment Department to Senate Estimates Environment and Communications Legislation Committee about Whitehaven Coal’s plan to fell the critically endangered Leard State Forest for a coal mine Senator WATERS (Greens, Queensland): Can I move now to the Maules Creek coalmine approval. Can the department table a copy of the independent review into the offsets issue? Mr Tregurtha : Under condition 10 of the Maules Creek approval, the proponent is required to provide the minister with verification, through independent review, of the quantity and condition class of the box gum woodland and ecological communities before 30 December 2013. Senator WATERS: Yes, and that was provided on the 27th. Can that be made public? Mr Tregurtha : That report […]

#CSG: Conspiracies, mouthpieces and independence: Mark Anning @1earthmedia reports

By Mark Anning On 28 July 2013, the oil and gas industry peak body – Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) – issued a press release, stating: “The recent coal seam gas episode of ABC 2’s Shitsville Express was a pleasant surprise – a balanced piece of reporting on coal seam gas.” Shitsville Express is hosted by Joe Hildebrand, who, according to his Daily Telegraph Google blurb, writes ‘opinion commentary’. Is Joe Hildebrand an opinion commentator? A comedian? Is he a PR man? Or is he a journalist – as described by his Daily Telegraph bio –  bound by the MEAA journalists’ code of ethics? The day after Shitsville […]

Roo Poo and Who’s Who in the Senate Zoo

[clear] By Sarah Capper 18 October 2013 It was perhaps the moment in which I found myself googling “Ricky Muir” + “poo” that served as the final straw in realising the need for Senate reform. Not that I needed much convincing – the new Senator-elect from Victoria from the Palmer United Palmer Motoring Enthusiasts Party is just one of several fresh faces in the who’s new in the Upper House zoo. Anyone who managed to successfully complete their below-the-line Senate ticket form in last month’s federal election deserves a round of applause [pats back]. Voting below the line is always preferable (pun intended) no matter how painstaking, as even the most “ethical” (ahem, […]

Australia’s newest political party – interview with the president: @stephaniedale22 reports

By Stephanie Dale 4 September 2013 Talking to Keith Douglas is a lot like trying to talk to a ping-pong ball in a Lotto machine – he talks fast and ranges wide. I met the Australian Voice Party candidate at what has become the No Fibs office in Forde – the nearby Zarraffa’s Coffee outlet (one of many, given the company’s Australian headquarters are up the road). Douglas is not Australian Voice’s founding member, but as president he is its driving force. In an election where new political parties have sprung up like mushrooms after rain from you know where, Australian Voice, registered on July 2, is the nation’s newest political […]

Beattie Surprise: @stephaniedale22 reports

By Stephanie Dale 3 September 2013 We are in the dying days of the 2013 election campaign, a campaign that has boasted a handful of idiot policy announcements but in five weeks just one true surprise – Peter Beattie. It was a laugh out loud moment for the nation when the former Queensland Premier (1998-2007) appeared on the Forde stage with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to proclaim his bid for a seat in the 44th Australian parliament. In the vivid landscape of my imagination, at that moment only sitting member Bert van Manen was not amused*. The election winds had shifted, the battlefield for Forde changed.  What had appeared to be […]

Family First Face in Hindmarsh: @JackieDettman reports

By Jacqueline Dettman  2 September 2013 Interview with Robert Randall, Family First candidate for Hindmarsh. Would you like to introduce yourself to readers? In 1979 I was elected state MP for Henley Beach, by a margin of 110 votes in a traditional Labor area. Prior to that I had volunteered in local council as a councillor (Henley and Grange Council) and this was as a result of my philosophy of not standing outside criticizing but being inside the decision-making body and influencing outcomes. From there in 1982, because it was a marginal seat and the government changed, I lost my seat.  I continued to work in the Liberal Party in […]

Election campaign? Tangney election wrap by @GuinevereHall

  By Guinevere Hall 2 September, 2013 I recently discussed the election with my 19 year old hair dresser after I remarked that she would be voting for the first time. She only enrolled when sent a notice saying she was going to be fined. Her colleague called out, “It’s only  $20”, to which she swore and wished she hadn’t bothered. So how would she vote? “What’s the choice? I’ll just ask my parents who they vote for and just do that.” I explained that our current representative for Tangney was Dennis Jensen, who didn’t think climate change was real and refused to participate in the apology to the Stolen […]