Thursday, November 01, 2012

ACT Legislative Assembly results - please hold, your vote is important to us

I need to state up front that last Saturday when the ACT Legislative Assembly election was being held, I had never felt less enthusiastic to exercise my democratic right, privilege and responsibility to cast my vote. We have a local government masquerading as a state government, and those seeking endorsement are frankly uninspiring with very few exceptions. Be that as it may, of course I voted in the manner which I thought was the right way. 

As it happens, in the 17 member Assembly the Liberal Party and the Labor Party secured eight seats each. The Greens secured one seat. We now await the one Greens member, Shane Rattenbury, to decide who he will grant his deciding vote to determine who will govern the ACT. The obvious choice for him is the Labor Party because the Greens' policies are more closely align with the left. I dare say that if you were to ask everyone who voted for the Greens whether they would rather a Labor or Liberal Chief Minister, they would overwhelmingly chose Labor.  I just hope that whichever party negotiates to give Mr Rattenbury its support, it does not sell out its morals or basic principles.

We do need to look back however to the 2010 Federal Election. The independents who held the balance of power, and in particular the ones who finally decided who would be Prime Minister, represented electors who, had they not sent independents to Canberra, would certainly have elected either National or Liberal Party candidates. Yet those independents decided to support the Labor Party and sent Julia Gillard to the Lodge. Presumably they were promised great things for their constituencies, but there is evidence that using the excuse "in the fullness of time" these promises were not delivered. I need to state that even though I am a lifetime Liberal Party voter, and still support the Liberal Party stance on almost all policies, I cannot and will not ever support a party led by Tony Abbott. In other words, even though I think the independents did the wrong thing by their supporters, I breathed a hypocritical (or, I like to think, a pragmatic) sigh of relief when they made their decision.

Will Mr Rattenbury decide to send Mr Seselja to the Chief Ministership in return for the promise of some legislation which may never eventuate? My prediction is "no". I think Katy Gallagher will remain Chief Minister, and from a democratic point of view I think that's probably the correct result. 

Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr - senile or a liar?

Yesterday the Australian Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr was asked by a reporter if he still thought that US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was "bloodless". The question was prompted by a blog by Senator Carr from January this year entitled, "Bloodless Romney Misses Great Counter Attack". As of today (1st November) it is still online.

How did he respond to the question? Well for starters he said, "That's ancient history". Really, January is ancient history is it?

The fact that the blog post is still online did not stop him from saying to the reporter, "I rather suspect you're now inventing things on my blog to throw at me". No Bob, not inventing things, quoting things. Do you understand the difference? By the way Bob, if you're going to deny something, perhaps deleting it from your blog would be a good start because if you don't, everyone can see that the reporter wasn't inventing anything.

Not content with that patently false accusation he then went on to say, "Any view I held at the time has been overtaken by the views I've now got to express on behalf of Australia." The only possible logical interpretation of that statement is that you did hold that view but now are forced to (that's what "got to" means) express views which you don't believe because you are the Foreign Minister.

Of course he also resorted to the standard cornered-rat defence (otherwise known as the Alan Bond defence, or since the Leveson enquiry, the Rupert Murdoch defence) of saying "I can't recall making those remarks". Really? It was only 10 months ago Bob, and you thought it important enough to blog about. Unless you don't actually write (or at least read) what goes on your blog, which I seriously doubt, that leaves only two options - either you really can't remember it, in which case you are senile, or you are a liar. Which is it Bob?

This is where it turned completely surreal. Senator Carr said that since writing the blog post he has met Romney, and stated that he "certainly wasn't bloodless". OK, that statement is fine I guess, for someone trying to be diplomatic. The bizarre bit was the very next thing he uttered which was, "And I deprecate anyone like you using an adjective about someone who could be president of the United States." What? The reporter wasn't using that adjective about Romney. The reporter was quoting something you said about Romney. Can you seriously not see the difference? Of course you can; you were just saying that to try to deflect the valid criticism away from yourself. Unless of course you really are senile, which would be the only explanation for you saying that truthfully.

I'm certainly no fan of Mitt Romney - I think he would be a disastrous US President. I just think with Romney and Carr we are dealing with a case of Tweedledum and Tweedle-even-dumber.