Wednesday, 14 November 2007


Jesse has been bugging me to put up a rundown of the candidates for the HoR seat we're voting in, Brisbane. So, here we go, in the order they appear on the ballot:
  • Ewan Saunders (Socialist Alliance): The Socialist Alliance are left-wing crazies. They don't have much info on their house candidates, and I don't much care to read what they do have, because a brief foray into their policies just made me giggle.
  • Ted O'Brien (Liberal): The liberals' policies, seem centred around throwing lots of cash at the buzzword of the election so far, "working families". There's also a good whack of pork barrelling for roads and sporting facilities in marginal seats (or so it seems to me). Their very mild tax break/reform has been largely offset by all this, as far as I'm concerned. The candidate, Ted O'Brien, seems to be some sort of itinerant businessman, which I find less than inspiring. He had a spot on ABC local radio about first-time candidates, with a Labor candidate from some other Brisbane seat, but Ted pulled out, apparently because the merits of appearing in the media were outweighed by the cost of having the ALP guy appearing in the media. I wasn't impressed.
  • Arch Bevis (Australia Labor Party): There really isn't an awful lot of difference between the ALP and the Libs on policy. Lots of cash being thrown at "working families" and a good slab at roads, offsetting a mild tax break/reform. IR is an exception, and it will be interesting to see how much they strip away from "Workchoices". The candidate and sitting member, Arch Bevis, is a teacher by training, although he spent only a few years teaching, and the time since split between being a union rep and a politician proper. I don't hold being a union representative to be a demerit, and I do like that he has an identifiable "trade" (in a loose sense of the word), unlike O'Brien.
  • Nick Contarino (Citizens Electoral Council): The CEC are protectionist crazies, and will go last on my ballot, as they should on just about every ballot (although the socialists are also pretty wacky).
  • Elizabeth Guthrie (The Greens): The Greens are growing into a more credible party with a broader base of policies, but I still have real concerns that they are more activists than constructive policy- and lawmakers. This is particularly true for Bob Brown. Their candidate for Brisbane is an interior decorator, and seems a reasonable enough candidate.
  • Mark White (Family First): Family First are a conservative "values" party, who do a reasonable job of keeping their religious base out of things, but basically push christian conservative policies on social liberty. They're also a party with a very narrow policy base. The candidate is alright, as far as christian conservatives go, I guess.
  • Don Sinnamon (Democrats): The Dems are a sad affair, a party quite close to my political sympathies, but devastated by personal disruptions. Its hard to identify what their key policies are, but they include rolling back parts of workchoices, and much well-motivated gesturing on climate change without really worked-through policy. The same might be said for indigenous and asylum-seeker/immigration issues. They do seem to be strong on civil rights and parliamentary process, which are two things whose degradation has really annoyed me in the current government. The candidate, Don Sinnamon, seems a good soul, and certainly a much better candidate than they put forward in Ryan last time around.
This is all very cursory. Last time around, my reason for doing a run-down of candidates was to point out that some parties I would consider voting for had candidates that were basically unelectable. This time around it seems better. Arch Bevis strikes me as a good candidate. O'Brien is OK, although I'd be more comfortable if I knew what he did - he seems a bit like a faceless MBA-type. Sinnamon is similar, but a faceless advocate-type. Guthrie seems OK, and the others I can't consider because of their parties (7,6,5 will respectively go to CEC, SA and FF on my ballot, probably).


Unknown said...

Where's my handout, that's all i need to know..

Anonymous said...

Thank you sir! They are a fairly sad bunch, aren't they? I had a quick look yesterday. Much like you, I like the Democrats' stand on civil liberties and their seemingly open approach, but the rest of the policies don't particularly excite or offend me.

Keith Duddy said...

A reasonable analysis Jim, except for the part about Labor and Liberal having essentially the same platform on everything. There are a lot of things that are much the same now, as so many commentators are pointing out (most amusingly to me, Mark Latham writing in the Fin Review last week).

However there are several less prominent policies that have not been getting much media. Like education. The Libs have let higher education in this country to go to shit over the last 10 years... and I do believe that Labor will pump a significant shot of cash into the Unis if elected.

Then there's foreign affairs. You'll see Rudd taking a Gordon Brown-like approach to the US alliance, rather than the Howard/Blair toady approach.

Although they're taking a conservative line on the Environment (seeing Peter Garrett look like an impotent sell-out) leading up to the election, I think (as Garrett joked) that they'll change all that once in power. I would personally love to see Peter Garrett's first act as Environment Minister be to cancel the Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar Valley.

Oh how I wish it was 1971 again! despite my comments above, I have no optimism that a new Labor govt will do anything interesting or good. No Medibank, no free education, no land rights, no Film Commission, nada. Let's face it - it's Not Time.


Lee said...

If you're interested in parliamentary process etc, you might want to suss out what Penny Wong and Lindsay Tanner have been saying on ALP policy.