“Save Our Senate” Town Hall full

Roland GRNS 10 August 2007 32

GetUp’s “Save Our Senate” Town Hall Forum, at the former Academy of Science building last night was full to overflowing.

Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans said that majority Governments deliver worse outcomes than negotiating ones. And that government backbenchers, in the past, created accountability measures such as Estimates.

Bob Brown said the consequence of a majority in both houses was all power being vested in one person; and that the Senate should be the backstop for the people. He added that the ACT could make an immediate difference to the balance of power.

Barnaby Joyce took the line that the Senate ought to reflect individual conscience and responsibility, and it was failing as a house of review because of the increasingly strong grip of the parties and their party rooms.

Lyn Allison claimed the RU 486 debate restored some faith in parliament because it was a conscience vote in both houses. And that the Senate should have control of its own rules, timeframes, and budgets, which it doesn’t have under the present government.

Chris Evans suggested that the Senate has saved governments from themselves, but that since 2005 it is no longer a place for real debate. He said that while Labor couldn’t win the Senate, at least two extra non-coalition Senators need to be elected.

Question time was interesting.

The issue of minor parties getting their act together on preferences was raised. Bob Brown advised the Greens had offered an exchange of preferences with the Democrats, as in the past. Lyn Allison said these decision are made closer to election date. The women who asked the question was disappointed with that answer. No-one mentioned that Labor Party preferences in Victoria elected a Family First Senator who earnt less than two percent of the primary vote.

Then an anymous young woman asked Bob Brown what he thought of Kerrie Tucker accepting a donation from the CFMEU. She (Jennifer Butterfield) chose not to tell anyone she’s on Senator Humphries’ staff (nor that she had written the press release attacking Kerrie on the issue, and put it on RiotACT).

So the real issue is about being up front. Who you trust. Telling it how it is.

This morning on radio Senator Gaz was happy to continue his attack on Kerrie for a donation the ACT Greens accepted, and made public. But he was not prepared to tell us where the Liberal Paarty is getting its money from.

Last night he was happy to send along his staff, to do his secret business.

Maybe Kerrie has a reputation for integrity that they hope to undermine. And he and his staff have nothing to lose by acting undercover when they try to do it.

I would bore you all rotten if I kept posting all my political stuff here. I will aim for restraint in future.


What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
32 Responses to “Save Our Senate” Town Hall full
sirocco sirocco 12:05 pm 13 Aug 07


stong, no-nonsense leaders.”

ahaha! sorry, as you might have guessed, I meant “strong”

If you can’t correct yourself, who can you correct?

Thumper Thumper 7:57 am 13 Aug 07

Fair call Sirocco..


sirocco sirocco 10:16 pm 12 Aug 07


if you re-read my post I think you’ll find I made no suggestions as to any political links between Bob Brown and Don Chipp, rather, I was using them as examples of (what I believe to be) stong, no-nonsense leaders.

Thumper Thumper 11:01 pm 10 Aug 07


Bob Browne and Don Chip were poles apart.

If you don’t realise that then maybe you shouldn’t be voting….

Roland GRNS Roland GRNS 10:44 pm 10 Aug 07

I self centredly presumed that people knew who am when I posted. Sorry.

But I see that my name was on the bottom of Kerrie Tucker’s media release on this issue that I posted a couple of days ago,

I certainly would have declared myself had I spoken at the forum last night. That was my point.

And that I take a view that being open and upfront is a virtue.

I was pleased the question was asked because I think that Bob, and Chris Evans, and Kerrie were right.

Although it was a distraction from the main game.

Myrmecia Myrmecia 9:35 pm 10 Aug 07

These posts criticizing Jenni and Roland seem to miss the point and divert us into sniping at individuals (which we are good at – it comes naturally) rather than the issues they raise. Thanks, Roland for posting this topic and thanks, Jenni for one of the most sensible and clear posts on a political issue we have seen on RA for ages.

Nemo Nemo 8:04 pm 10 Aug 07

No it’s not – Roland GRNS doesn’t tell me anything about who he is. I dont know anything about Roland and honestly had no idea until you pointed it out.

Presumably this blog would get more of an audience than the town hall meeting last night.

For the unaware reader, he has done exactly the same thing he is accusing others of doing.

sepi sepi 7:57 pm 10 Aug 07

Of course the unspoken rule applies to all political advisers and spokespersons.

When would it be appropriate for one such to be commenting as if they were an unaffiliated member of the public – excepting conscience vote issues.

Roland’s affiliation is part of his signature.

Nemo Nemo 7:53 pm 10 Aug 07

I find it curious that Roland has not fully disclosed his own political affiliation anywhere in this post. Sure its obvious he supports the greens, but it appears he has more of a role than a mere supporter – is this pot calling the kettle black?

Ralph Ralph 7:27 pm 10 Aug 07

Once you take on a political staffer role, you give up the right to publicly air your own political opinions.

That is outrageous seepi. Does this rule of yours also apply for Greens, Democrats and Labor?

sepi sepi 7:15 pm 10 Aug 07

For me it isn’t about whether Sen Brown would have given a different answer. It is about making affiliations known to all present.

Once you take on a political staffer role, you give up the right to publicly air your own political opinions.

Jenni may have gone to work at parlt. hse for the career opportunities, and not her personal beliefs, but nevertheless political jobs come at a price.

sirocco sirocco 7:11 pm 10 Aug 07

While we may never know whether the words of a spin doctor are his or her own who cares whether she identified herself Sen Gaz’s employee when the question is a valid one? The point is more to do with the question she asked – one that any self-respecting journalist would have asked, assuming they had the same information (which, to my knowledge is publically available…). The meeting was a public one right? Surely that means that anyone was allowed to attend or ask questions. So what if the other side managed to get a rep inside – I would be embaressed to vote the way I vote if I didn’t think that the party I vote for couldn’t defend themselves in a public forum. Stop whining, suck it up! and become a tough competitor the way Bob Brown is and Don Chipp was!! I want to be proud about the party I vote for!

pierce pierce 6:16 pm 10 Aug 07

I’m a little puzzled by the slights directed at GetUp for managing to have a full house at an event.

Should seniors not be taken seriously?

I haven’t seen anything on the GetUp site that claims that organisation is funky youth specific

Cameron Cameron 5:02 pm 10 Aug 07

Disagree Sepi. She asked a simple question that could have been asked by any member of the public.

Would Jenni’s disclosure have altered the response from Senator Brown who quite possibly knew the staffer anyway? Doubtful – and if it would have, then the problem lies with Senator Brown, not with political staffers.

sepi sepi 4:16 pm 10 Aug 07

jenni – I’m sorry, but if you work for a senator that does add a layer of meaning to any public political comments you make, and should be disclosed.

Maelinar Maelinar 4:05 pm 10 Aug 07

Hey Roland, I bet I have planted more trees than you in the last 5 years.

Plastic Greenie.

Ant Pant Ant Pant 3:45 pm 10 Aug 07

I was there last night and I have to say, Ms B was pretty conspicuous – she was just about the only person in the room without white hair and a walking frame. Kinda gives the lie to Getup’s ‘we appeal to the funky young youth of today’ schtick, doesn’t it?

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 3:33 pm 10 Aug 07

Haha… “undercover”. Roland, you start to sound like Lexi Downer…

jennib jennib 3:20 pm 10 Aug 07

Hi y’all,

I feel compelled to respond to Roland’s post here, as he has given the impression that I was somehow acting undercover in asking a question of Senator Brown at last night’s GetUp! meeting. This is not the case. While it is true that I did not identify myself as a member of Senator Humphries’ staff, this is because I was attending the meeting as a private individual, and therefore did not think it appropriate to bring my employer into it. Having come across the issue of the CFMEU donation in the course of my work, I was genuinely interested to hear Senator Brown’s take on it. I understand why Roland (and others) may feel that I should have identified myself, but the fact that I work for a politician does not mean that I don’t have interests and opinions of my own, or that I am necessarily speaking for my employer every time I open my mouth.

Also, since we’re talking about full disclosure, I should advise that I used to work with Roland, and he seemed mightily displeased when I jumped ship to take up my current job with Senator Humphries. This may give you some insight into why he has chosen to identify me personally in this forum – he and I have an existing, and not necessarily amicable (anymore) relationship.

On a final note, I do not post the articles from Senator Humphries, as Roland has suggested. As some of you may be aware, Senator Humphries has two young teenage sons, and they have been introducing him to the new fangled world of the Internet – his postings on RiotACT are an extension of that. When I am posting something on his behalf, I use this screen name so that people can tell the difference.

I hope this clarifies things somewhat, but if anyone would like to discuss this with me further, please feel free to drop me an email: jenni.butterfield@aph.gov.au.


sandwich sandwich 3:15 pm 10 Aug 07

Roland, just to clear a few things up, was this lady asked why she was there? I can understand your annoyance only to the point that you seem cranky that your candidate was attacked here…

and when you say ‘undercover’… was she wearing a balaclava, a wig, a fake nose???

You sound so upset Roland…. arn’t you running for the Senate???

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site