Cartoon: By Bill Leak
"Elections are when people find out what politicians stand for and politicians find out what people will fall for."– Alfred E Neuman
The Abbott budget appears to be in trouble with a reasonable likelihood that it could be blocked in the senate. The last time this happened was in 1975, resulting in the dismissal of the Whitlam government.
The contentious nature of the move, and the resultant furor has resulted in a reluctance to repeat the exercise. Some on the left claim an injustice owing to the oppositions aim to force an election, however the government of the day was mired in scandal, corruption and incompetence. The one that replaced it was not much better.
In an effort to intimidate the senators from minor parties, Abbott has now threatened to go to another election, which would have to be a double dissolution.
… Laying out a political strategy towards the next election, the Prime Minister said he would not accept attempts to “completely frustrate” the government.
Parliament will start to debate key budget bills within days as the Coalition prepares to force votes as quickly as possible, so that changes such as the new deficit tax can take effect on July 1.
Plans for a $7 fee on visits to the doctor appear set for defeat in the upper house, undermining a wider plan to make $10.5 billion in healthcare savings over the next four years and channel the money into a medical research fund.
Labor frontbenchers met last night to consider supporting the 2 per cent extra tax on incomes of more than $180,000 when Bill Shorten delivers his budget reply speech to federal parliament tonight. …
… While open to “horse-trading” on details, Mr Abbott indicated he would insist on the passage of the overall legislation.
“We’re happy to talk respectfully to the independents and the minor parties in the Senate, and obviously a certain amount of horse-trading is something that you just accept is part of the business,” he said early yesterday.
“What we won’t accept, though, is an attempt to completely frustrate the business of government. I don’t believe that they will try to completely frustrate the business of government because, if there was an election again, hardly any of them would win their seats.” …
Abbott has blown most of the political capital he was handed in the election when voters saw the back of the Labor Greens government with a sense of relief. After two terms of wild spending and mounting deficits, voters understood the need for fiscal restraint.
The problem they have now though, is that during the election campaign, in an effort to make himself a small target, Abbott comprehensively ruled out most of the things he has now proposed in the budget. This makes a clear case that voters were deceived.
The threat to minor parties is real. A committee of major party MPs has analyzed the voting in the 2013 election and unsurprisingly come up with a list of recommendations for a new system for senate elections designed to prevent minor parties being elected.
On the other hand, in a double dissolution the number of votes required to elect a senator is halved owing to the need to elect twelve per state, rather than the normal six. The 25-27% of disillusioned voters is likely to stay constant and they will still be voting for someone other than the Liberal/Labor/Green triumvirate.
This should be good for the Liberal Democrats who only have to hold their vote in NSW for David Leyonhjelm to be reelected outright with a nice base for a second senator. If the 2013 vote holds for us, we could pick up a senator in most states.
With the possibility of a number of the single issue parties falling out, the LDP policies virtually make it inevitable that their memberships will come over to us. These include, the Sex Party, Shooters, Wiki, Fishing & lifestyle, HEMP, and some of the saner members of PUP.
Our message to Tony; bring it on dickhead.