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Defying Empire commemorates the 50th anniversary of 1967 Referendum

Right wing, left wing… what about the bird in the middle?

By John Hargreaves - 21 November 2014 15

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There has been much discourse in recent times on the relative importance of having a healthy budget position versus having a significantly funded safety net.

The orthodox right wing ideology has it that a healthy budget surplus is the only way in which a county can prosper. If there are plenty of profits to tax then social responsibilities can be afforded.

This can be summed up by the view that if the rich are really rich they will look after those less well off.

The other side of the coin says that we must have social safety nets in place as our priority. We don’t need a budget surplus to make sure that pensions can be adjusted to match the price of price increases, that universal health care is a right not a privilege, that education should be available to all not just the kids of the rich, that defence should not merely be a line item in a budget document.

This view needs only a healthy economy with a good credit rating to deliver to the citizens of its domain.

So it is that the contest of ideologies plays out in our federal arena as we watch.

But are the two necessarily mutually exclusive?

The far left of the argument have it that the state must be the controlling influence over all things and the far right has it that capital must be the controlling influence.

But what about a marriage between the provider of the capital, the carrier of the risk and the provider of the labour which delivers the outcome?

The provider of the labour must acknowledge that without the capital, without someone carrying the risk of a business, there is no business. Thus there are no jobs available for the workforce.

The provider of capital must acknowledge that human beings are not commodities to be treated like components in a factory; they are not inanimate objects to be applied to the factory production line. They have skills which are essential to success, and available for a fair price. In addition to technical expertise, a workforce provides commitment to success, a loyalty to the product and a personal investment in the success of the business. Surely this is worth something.

We haven’t seen anything approaching a recognition of the need for this marriage since the Accord in Hawkie’s time. Perhaps it’s about time we did.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Right wing, left wing… what about the bird in the middle?
dungfungus 7:58 am 26 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

I can’t argue with that but which political parties other than the “staunch left and right” ones best represent the middle?

IMO we had a much better political system when the 3rd major was the Democrats, unfortunately there demise was mostly due to the prominent rise of the Greens as an alternative at the time. The greens has actually pushed labor closer to the middle in some aspects or even right on policies revolving around immigration and asylum seekers.

It still comes down to winning the voters in the middle as the far right and left will switch to people like PUP and the Greens. In Canberra I think there are many people in the middle, who tend to vote Labor, purely because its the safest for them. That said I feel Canberra needs these little periods of forced redundancies to keep things in check, public servants don’t like to admit, but they are very well off in society compared to many. Sure they also have financial pressure on their household budgets when tough times hit, but usually come out well on the other side. However its completely understandable when Labor are basically the best cash cow to vote for.

Another great post. You should be a lecturer in politics at ANU.
The Democrats were talked about on Onesiders this morning with Barry Cassidy making the observation that Meg Lees was the only one in her party who negotiated on the GST to get it passed.
Leadership squabbles then led to the demise of that party.

Hey, that was a very positive comment from me so where are the accolades from my detractors who are always bagging me for being negative.
Credit where credit is due?

Did someone hack your account and write it 🙂
Tony Abbott would have a far easier time negotiating with say a democrat led balance of power IMO. I’m actually surprised by the stance of PUP in general. You’d say they were right wing, but they are also definitely no allies of the coalition. Many of the independent senators are also right wing/moderate. It says something about the policies. I think he has gone in too hard on many policies, thinking he’d be ok, but at the same time he has upset a lot of voters. I don’t think cutting carbon tax and MRRT was as a big a deal to the voters as they thought it was. My electricity bill has hardly changed! I think many moderate voters didn’t think the MRRT and carbon tax where vote changers. I also don’t think for all its flaws the previous Labor government was as bad as it was made out to be. The coalition did a very good job though of making them look bad.

Next election will be very interesting.

The next election may be sooner than we think. The stress that Abbott is under now that he is dealing with 4 voting groups in the sham- Senate is starting to show.
It would be responsible to dissolve both houses and have an election to eliminate the impasse there is now.
In fact, the coalition is not governing at present. Strangely, the Labor opposition isn’t goading them to hold an election either.
I don’t care who the “winner” would be as long as they have a clear majority in both houses so all uncertainty could be removed for at least the next 3 years.
Actually, I would like Labor to win and inherit the mess they left.

“Actually, I would like Labor to win and inherit the mess they left.”
It looks like the lack of any challenge to my declaration means that everyone agrees with me.

dungfungus 12:39 pm 25 Nov 14

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

I can’t argue with that but which political parties other than the “staunch left and right” ones best represent the middle?

IMO we had a much better political system when the 3rd major was the Democrats, unfortunately there demise was mostly due to the prominent rise of the Greens as an alternative at the time. The greens has actually pushed labor closer to the middle in some aspects or even right on policies revolving around immigration and asylum seekers.

It still comes down to winning the voters in the middle as the far right and left will switch to people like PUP and the Greens. In Canberra I think there are many people in the middle, who tend to vote Labor, purely because its the safest for them. That said I feel Canberra needs these little periods of forced redundancies to keep things in check, public servants don’t like to admit, but they are very well off in society compared to many. Sure they also have financial pressure on their household budgets when tough times hit, but usually come out well on the other side. However its completely understandable when Labor are basically the best cash cow to vote for.

Another great post. You should be a lecturer in politics at ANU.
The Democrats were talked about on Onesiders this morning with Barry Cassidy making the observation that Meg Lees was the only one in her party who negotiated on the GST to get it passed.
Leadership squabbles then led to the demise of that party.

Hey, that was a very positive comment from me so where are the accolades from my detractors who are always bagging me for being negative.
Credit where credit is due?

Did someone hack your account and write it 🙂
Tony Abbott would have a far easier time negotiating with say a democrat led balance of power IMO. I’m actually surprised by the stance of PUP in general. You’d say they were right wing, but they are also definitely no allies of the coalition. Many of the independent senators are also right wing/moderate. It says something about the policies. I think he has gone in too hard on many policies, thinking he’d be ok, but at the same time he has upset a lot of voters. I don’t think cutting carbon tax and MRRT was as a big a deal to the voters as they thought it was. My electricity bill has hardly changed! I think many moderate voters didn’t think the MRRT and carbon tax where vote changers. I also don’t think for all its flaws the previous Labor government was as bad as it was made out to be. The coalition did a very good job though of making them look bad.

Next election will be very interesting.

The next election may be sooner than we think. The stress that Abbott is under now that he is dealing with 4 voting groups in the sham- Senate is starting to show.
It would be responsible to dissolve both houses and have an election to eliminate the impasse there is now.
In fact, the coalition is not governing at present. Strangely, the Labor opposition isn’t goading them to hold an election either.
I don’t care who the “winner” would be as long as they have a clear majority in both houses so all uncertainty could be removed for at least the next 3 years.
Actually, I would like Labor to win and inherit the mess they left.

watto23 11:50 am 25 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

I can’t argue with that but which political parties other than the “staunch left and right” ones best represent the middle?

IMO we had a much better political system when the 3rd major was the Democrats, unfortunately there demise was mostly due to the prominent rise of the Greens as an alternative at the time. The greens has actually pushed labor closer to the middle in some aspects or even right on policies revolving around immigration and asylum seekers.

It still comes down to winning the voters in the middle as the far right and left will switch to people like PUP and the Greens. In Canberra I think there are many people in the middle, who tend to vote Labor, purely because its the safest for them. That said I feel Canberra needs these little periods of forced redundancies to keep things in check, public servants don’t like to admit, but they are very well off in society compared to many. Sure they also have financial pressure on their household budgets when tough times hit, but usually come out well on the other side. However its completely understandable when Labor are basically the best cash cow to vote for.

Another great post. You should be a lecturer in politics at ANU.
The Democrats were talked about on Onesiders this morning with Barry Cassidy making the observation that Meg Lees was the only one in her party who negotiated on the GST to get it passed.
Leadership squabbles then led to the demise of that party.

Hey, that was a very positive comment from me so where are the accolades from my detractors who are always bagging me for being negative.
Credit where credit is due?

Did someone hack your account and write it 🙂
Tony Abbott would have a far easier time negotiating with say a democrat led balance of power IMO. I’m actually surprised by the stance of PUP in general. You’d say they were right wing, but they are also definitely no allies of the coalition. Many of the independent senators are also right wing/moderate. It says something about the policies. I think he has gone in too hard on many policies, thinking he’d be ok, but at the same time he has upset a lot of voters. I don’t think cutting carbon tax and MRRT was as a big a deal to the voters as they thought it was. My electricity bill has hardly changed! I think many moderate voters didn’t think the MRRT and carbon tax where vote changers. I also don’t think for all its flaws the previous Labor government was as bad as it was made out to be. The coalition did a very good job though of making them look bad.

Next election will be very interesting.

dungfungus 8:21 am 24 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

I can’t argue with that but which political parties other than the “staunch left and right” ones best represent the middle?

IMO we had a much better political system when the 3rd major was the Democrats, unfortunately there demise was mostly due to the prominent rise of the Greens as an alternative at the time. The greens has actually pushed labor closer to the middle in some aspects or even right on policies revolving around immigration and asylum seekers.

It still comes down to winning the voters in the middle as the far right and left will switch to people like PUP and the Greens. In Canberra I think there are many people in the middle, who tend to vote Labor, purely because its the safest for them. That said I feel Canberra needs these little periods of forced redundancies to keep things in check, public servants don’t like to admit, but they are very well off in society compared to many. Sure they also have financial pressure on their household budgets when tough times hit, but usually come out well on the other side. However its completely understandable when Labor are basically the best cash cow to vote for.

Another great post. You should be a lecturer in politics at ANU.
The Democrats were talked about on Onesiders this morning with Barry Cassidy making the observation that Meg Lees was the only one in her party who negotiated on the GST to get it passed.
Leadership squabbles then led to the demise of that party.

Hey, that was a very positive comment from me so where are the accolades from my detractors who are always bagging me for being negative.
Credit where credit is due?

dungfungus 11:04 am 23 Nov 14

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

I can’t argue with that but which political parties other than the “staunch left and right” ones best represent the middle?

IMO we had a much better political system when the 3rd major was the Democrats, unfortunately there demise was mostly due to the prominent rise of the Greens as an alternative at the time. The greens has actually pushed labor closer to the middle in some aspects or even right on policies revolving around immigration and asylum seekers.

It still comes down to winning the voters in the middle as the far right and left will switch to people like PUP and the Greens. In Canberra I think there are many people in the middle, who tend to vote Labor, purely because its the safest for them. That said I feel Canberra needs these little periods of forced redundancies to keep things in check, public servants don’t like to admit, but they are very well off in society compared to many. Sure they also have financial pressure on their household budgets when tough times hit, but usually come out well on the other side. However its completely understandable when Labor are basically the best cash cow to vote for.

Another great post. You should be a lecturer in politics at ANU.
The Democrats were talked about on Onesiders this morning with Barry Cassidy making the observation that Meg Lees was the only one in her party who negotiated on the GST to get it passed.
Leadership squabbles then led to the demise of that party.

2604 10:40 pm 22 Nov 14

watto23 said :

IMO we had a much better political system when the 3rd major was the Democrats, unfortunately there demise was mostly due to the prominent rise of the Greens as an alternative at the time. The greens has actually pushed labor closer to the middle in some aspects or even right on policies revolving around immigration and asylum seekers.

My recollection is that the Dems basically self-destructed because their party rules gave rank-and-file members the power to call for leadership spills. Accordingly, the party was consumed with leadership issues in the early 2000s (after Meg Lees agreed to pass the GST legislation), looked very chaotic as a result, and lost electoral appeal. I also recall that they were further to the left than the ALP.

I agree that the Greens criticise both Labor and the Coalition from the left. However, that’s only because they are a minority party and have the luxury of being able to demand the most expensive and complex solution to everything without ever having to worry about how such solutions will be paid for and implemented. The open-door asylum seeker policy is a good example.

watto23 8:01 pm 22 Nov 14

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

I can’t argue with that but which political parties other than the “staunch left and right” ones best represent the middle?

IMO we had a much better political system when the 3rd major was the Democrats, unfortunately there demise was mostly due to the prominent rise of the Greens as an alternative at the time. The greens has actually pushed labor closer to the middle in some aspects or even right on policies revolving around immigration and asylum seekers.

It still comes down to winning the voters in the middle as the far right and left will switch to people like PUP and the Greens. In Canberra I think there are many people in the middle, who tend to vote Labor, purely because its the safest for them. That said I feel Canberra needs these little periods of forced redundancies to keep things in check, public servants don’t like to admit, but they are very well off in society compared to many. Sure they also have financial pressure on their household budgets when tough times hit, but usually come out well on the other side. However its completely understandable when Labor are basically the best cash cow to vote for.

justin heywood 10:24 am 22 Nov 14

2604 said :

…It speaks volumes of the malaise within modern Labor that the party’s spiritual head was a well-intentioned but incompetent single-termer like Gough Whitlam, rather than a competent and effective leader like Hawke.

Nicely put.

Hawke rose during a period of increasing tension between labour and capital; he and Keating effectively set us up for the prosperity and relative industrial calm of recent decades. Definitely a case of cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Perhaps we’ve had it too good for too long. We’re now so comfortable that there is no real battle to be fought – politics has been reduced to empty rhetoric and confected outrage.

2604 10:55 pm 21 Nov 14

HiddenDragon said :

A Labor Opposition looking for a thoughtful set of policies to take to the 2016 election – which is likely to be held against a background of a less than rosy economic outlook for Australia – could do worse than revisit the concepts of the Accord, and craft contemporary policies which reflect those principles.

I agree, but there is no chance of that. Bob Hawke and Bill Kelty were sensible, measured, courageous and genuinely acted in the country’s best interests. Bill Shorten and Ged Kearney are intellectual and moral midgets by comparison. It speaks volumes of the malaise within modern Labor that the party’s spiritual head was a well-intentioned but incompetent single-termer like Gough Whitlam, rather than a competent and effective leader like Hawke.

HiddenDragon 6:47 pm 21 Nov 14

“We haven’t seen anything approaching a recognition of the need for this marriage since the Accord in Hawkie’s time. Perhaps it’s about time we did.”

Like any policy or set of related policies, the Accord was not perfect, but I have never understood why federal Labor apparently abandoned it so quickly and completely after the 1996 election.

It was equally surprising (ironic) to hear the leading lights of the Howard Government celebrating rising real wages and contrasting that, in a mocking way, with wages outcomes in the Hawke/Keating years. Had incomes not risen quite so quickly in the Howard years, or had the increases been better matched by genuine and sustained productivity increases, our national economy might now be somewhat less uncompetitive than it sadly is.

A Labor Opposition looking for a thoughtful set of policies to take to the 2016 election – which is likely to be held against a background of a less than rosy economic outlook for Australia – could do worse than revisit the concepts of the Accord, and craft contemporary policies which reflect those principles.

dungfungus 3:52 pm 21 Nov 14

John thinks it is a crime against humanity to become rich.
I have been told by some wealthy people that the hard work, risk and sacrifice needed to get rich is easy compared to hanging on to the wealth attained as governments and other people who didn’t contribute to the the journey think it should be shared around.
There is only none thing money can’t buy and that’s poverty.

dungfungus 3:43 pm 21 Nov 14

watto23 said :

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

I can’t argue with that but which political parties other than the “staunch left and right” ones best represent the middle?

watto23 9:46 am 21 Nov 14

What the current federal government fail to acknowledge that is the moderate/swing voters that get any government elected. Putting in extreme ideology based policies is a sure fire way to upset those in the middle. The staunch left and right will always remain so but pleasing the middle seems to be much harder to do for a political party, because after all their support comes from the right or left but the ability to win an election is convincing the middle to change their vote.

Grail 9:39 am 21 Nov 14

You still believe in trickle down economics. How quaint.

The super rich are not going to “look after” the less privileged without some assistance. A better middle ground than continually repeating the mantra of “more profits means more jobs” (which is a false assumption), you need to approach the problem as an economist: where do jobs come from? Businesses that need labour. Which businesses need labour? Businesses with demand for their goods and services. Where does demand for goods and services come from? People with money who want goods and services and are prepared to spend their money rather than provide those goods or services with their own time.

So to better fund business, you need to drive demand. To drive demand, you give the poor people money. By giving them money you move them closer to the point at which they are prepared to pay someone else to provide the goods or services that they want.

So the Government needs to find that money, and one pretty good place to find it is through wealth taxes and increased income taxes for people with ultra-high incomes. Since we already know that the top 10% of the population have over a third of the wealth, it is obvious that we only need to raise taxes marginally in the $200k+ brackets to cover the expense of providing a living wage.

One benefit of this program is the complete removal of various support systems such as disability pensions and NewStart. Other benefits would include the removal of award wages since workers would only take a job if it was better than doing nothing, and there would be less opportunity for exploitation. The savings in red tape (award wages, compliance reviews, reporting) would allow companies to be more profitable not only from wage costs but compliance costs.

Another advantage of a living wage & no award wage system is that entrepreneurs can start up new companies with only capital costs: pull a few interested parties together to start the business, and only pay wages once the company is profitable. The safety net of the living wage means they won’t starve in the meantime.

Of course this is based on a massive redistribution of wealth with the rich shouldering a greater burden commensurate with their ability to extract wealth from the economy. Many won’t like that, and they will no doubt lobby long and hard to avoid spending in taxes the money that would have bought their second private jet or this year’s Veyron.

The trickle-down (“supply-side”) economy is a farce: by pumping money in at the top end of the economy, you just make the parasites richer while the people at the bottom (to whom the benefits were supposed to flow) get poorer. This has been demonstrated in the USA.

The trickle-up “demand-side” economy relies on the good business people to do what they do best: generate income. The demand side economy capitalises on the abilities of the best performers by placing the greater load on them, allowing everyone to draw benefit from the ultra-productive. At the same time. The living wage system provides safety nets for entrepreneurs and massive corporate welfare to increase the efficiency of business.

chewy14 9:38 am 21 Nov 14

I would say that marriage you’re talking about clearly already exists.

The idea that either of our major two parties are pushing hard ideological positions is really ridiculous. The Liberals aren’t and haven’t proposed any really major dismantling of our social safety nets in the favour of capital and Labor aren’t proposing any major expansion of our welfare state.

There’s plenty of things that could be fixed or made more efficient but the spread of ideology in the voting populace prevents any real hard push left or right by the government.

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