Monday, May 09, 2005

Juggling Penguin

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(Bless - I didn't actually think there'd be a picture of a juggling penguin but here we are. And what a fetching bowtie. Draws attention away from the expanding waistline.)

Another QP Lite posting today, sorry. I am indeed juggling many balls (sadly, only metaphorically) at the moment. Work is unprecedently insane, I've started up at the gym after a hiatus so my body is in constant pain (although I did get to have a training session with a spunky if condescending gym instructor), I've just booked the Barcelona-Rome leg of my flight, I'm finalising plans for my birthday dinner, preparing for one of my closest friends to stay with me next week and, if time permits, getting in the odd quarter-age freak out.

Just quickly: saucy sexpot Michelle Grattan is on the case about ALP whoring itself to Family First. Bearing in mind this is the party that said of Kevin Rudd: "KR has made some highly offensive statements in complete ignorance (about FF)...He should keep quiet..." Obviously, Labor has "gotten over it's (GRRRR!!!!!! EMPLOY ME AS AN EDITOR FOR FAMILY FIRST PRESS RELEASES!!! IF NOTHING ELSE I WOULDN'T ALLOW INCORRECT APOSTROPHOPES IN PRONOUNS TO GET PUBLISHED!!!!!) sour grapes (to) explore ways to move forward". Oh yes, because FF is such a forward-thinking, progressive party. Jump forward into 1958...

Would this be the first time both major parties are so offensively brown-nosing a Senate minor party that actually has no voting clout? Obviously as Grattan points out, the Coalition is doing this for insurance should "rebel" Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce flex his muscles a bit and not tow the line (let's not forget previous Queensland dissident Bob "The Mad" Katter). But what's Labor's excuse?

Back to the juggling. Circus music, please.


At 9/5/05 12:31 pm, Anonymous Stephen said...

It's a mistake isn't it (please note two apostrophes correctly placed) to say that Family First have no voting clout. Surely the whole point is that these fundamentalist dynamic pentecostal churches flourish in the mortgage belt areas..Hillsong in Sydney, and Paradise in Adelaide for example.
Paradise is on the edge of two swinging electorates in SA...and has clearly influenced the outcomes. Possibly even as much as Guy Sebastian!

At 9/5/05 1:32 pm, Blogger Sam said...

This is true Stephen, but I meant FF's actual voting clout in the Senate, ie they don't have the balance of power and are essentially as redundant in the Senate as the Greens, Democrats etc. As I've said before, it was a sad, sad day when I found myself relieved that the Coalition gained complete control of the Senate as the alternative would have been FF holding the balance of power. Quite terrifying.
PS - I like to refer to Guy Sebastian as "God Duck Boy". The God bit is a given plus his (I believe) uncanny resemblance to a duck.

At 9/5/05 1:42 pm, Anonymous Harley said...

QP already knows I disagree with him on FF's source of influence. However, I see two possible reasons for why the majors are courting FF preferences.

1) The majors are trying to appear values-friendly to the middle majority. On the basis that people vote identity rather than individual policies, each party is trying to get that warm family friendly glow back after years of harsh economic and 'unwashed alien' focus. Most voters don't care how ridiculous FF's policies translate in substance; but when they see FF shaking hands with Labor/Liberals, the sincerity of values, which matches more an idealised image of the voter's own values (than say reality), is bestowed. This will grant not so much an avalanche of FF preferences, but enough of an over-glossed image to make the major look more friendly to the middle swing voter who probably wouldn't ever vote for a non-major anyway. Decades of pol-sci research supports this scenario.

2) The major parties genuinely think FF will garner enough primary votes that it may tip them to win a few marginal seats in outer Adelaide, Western Sydney, or Senate seat in any state. One federal election worth of anecdotes supports this scenario.

Note the way neither major has distanced themselves from FF the way they did with One Nation. Both parties had similar hateful right-wing policies in practice. However, lesbian burning notwithstanding, FF has played their image masterfully into the middle ground of inoffensive 'values'.

At 9/5/05 1:47 pm, Anonymous Harley said...

Review in light of Sam's clarification.

The ALP would be looking at FF in light of preference swaps at the next election, not so much in the upcoming Senate. The ALP will rightly play into the public's fear of giving absolute power to any government, even if that means jumping up and down, but not actually negotiating with the true holder of the balance of power (in a technical sense, the Government).

At least that's why I would do if I were in their position.

At 9/5/05 1:53 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Very true - there are some diabolically ingenious marketers behind FF who have made it look like a middle-ground, touchy-feely "values" party instead of the dyke-burning political branch of AOG it really is.
I also appreciate the value of pandering to an influential minor party whose outposts of tyranny are in marginal seats. However - and I could be wrong here - I'd be keen to see the split in Labor/Lib preferences for No 1 FF voters. I imagine so long as Labor is maintaining even the thinnest pretence of support of queer rights, no amount of sucking will ever get FF preferencing Labor over Liberal.

At 9/5/05 3:13 pm, Anonymous Stephen said...

I agree with Harley that it is not about the balance of power in the Senate but the sheer number of voters who can be garnered to send preferences in one direction or another.
There is also, I think, a sort of religious envy on the part of the new Christians...concerning the perceived influence that the old Christians, in particular the Anglicans, Catholics, and to a lesser extent the Presbyterians and Methodists, are thought to wield.
This is overstated by most. But no one quite has a handle, I think, on how important it is.
The new Christians at least want to try and flex their muscles, as they see their American cousins do.

If you were a politician wouldn't you just feel a bit tentative about organisations that can cause a significant number of people to move in one particular direction.
It may not be that they vote in favour of you...but they can perhaps try to get people to not vote for you.
Those who remember how conservative Catholics kept the Labor Party out of power for 20 years through the agency of the DLP and the influence of key Church leaders, can see that potentially the Pentecostals could do the same thing.
This is no doubt why the ALP power brokers want to keep them friendly.
I wish them well and I don't think they'll succeed.
You are, after all, talking about reason vs fundamentalism....both religious and political

At 9/5/05 5:00 pm, Anonymous Bazza said... Guy Sebastian, he is setting up a counselling agency to help females who are considering an abortion and advise them of the woes of their ways. Now I thought the "Virgin" Australian idol had never done it! so were does his expertise come from? Of course silly me! PARADISE!!

At 9/5/05 5:13 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Dear me. Who on earth would take family planning advice seriously from a duck?

And now for the bad and somewhat esoteric joke/pick-up line: Hey baby, what do your legs and North-East Road have in common? Both go all the way to Paradise.

Did we ever meet in Adelaide bazza?

At 9/5/05 6:33 pm, Anonymous joe2 said...

Armageddon out of here!
Far to scary. The Green's and Democrats will be sucking up too.

One member with so much power.
Just jealous.

At 10/5/05 11:43 am, Anonymous Bazza said...

Good one sam.
No, don't reckon we've met. I'm your average spunky agipop leftwing poufter, who only eats "Mars Bars"

At 10/5/05 1:16 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Yes I remember the Mars Bar diet well. These days I'll only eat them every few months (and with that length of time between them, they're surprisingly tasty, not as bland and depressing as when I was eating them every week).


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