Fuelling Abbott’s arsonism

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Islam is not a source of feminism or liberation for women.  Secular liberal democracies are.

Arguing the former might be trendy, but plays into the hands of Australia’s worst xenophobes.  Arguing the latter might defuse that xenophobia, but only if we stop reifying Australian Mulsims just for being Muslims.

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Election diary 2010 — Week Five

Time to get down and dirty

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The screaming headline ‘Bloodbath’ in Brisbane’s Sunday Times notwithstanding, every day there’s not a negative news lead about Gillard or Labor, the election slips a little further from Abbott’s grasp.

There may be a poll in Queensland predicting a 5.7 per cent swing to the Coalition, but the poll on its own is more likely to galvanise traditional Labor voters to swing back to the party of habit rather than remember why they were in two minds about Gillard’s Labor.

It should also not be taken for granted that the swing towards the Coalition might be no more than a swing away from Labor based on media coverage of the leaders’ performance that occurred up to two weeks ago. In any case, as i said at the outset, every day Abbott does not have Gillard on the back foot is a day on which Gillard wins hearts and minds.

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Election diary 2010 — Week Four

Electorate letters

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Today was my day – one of the two or three days in the electoral cycle on which I make my feelings known to my candidates. I wrote letters to the Greens, Labor and Liberal candidates. Without going into details I suggested that, all partisan rhetoric aside, general economic and national security policies were so similar between the parties there was no need to discuss these, and that I was looking for individual views on general principles and specific stances on social policy issues. I wonder whether I will get responses that aren’t form letters cut and pasted from policy bumph.

The very nature and form of response itself might indicate who is the most hungry for my vote, if not also who is the most deserving. Wouldn’t it be a sad indictment of them all if I got what I fully expect: the brush-off by overworked and disinterested staffers.

Labor’s three-ring circus?

The Sydney Morning Herald this morning suggested that the spectacle of having three Labor figureheads (a former leader, a former PM, and the incumbent PM) intersecting each others’ orbits in Queensland today was tantamount to the Labor campaign becoming a circus.

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Election Diary 2010 – Week One

First-timers disenfranchised

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The decision to call for an election on a Saturday would be otherwise unremarkable had it not meant that new voter registrations close at 20:00 on the following Monday, almost certainly disenfranchising a swathe of first-time voters.

One must assume that the ALP party machine was aware of the consequences of its timing for calling the election, and therefore doesn’t care about these votes, or has reason to fear them. In either case, that can’t be a good sign for Gillard because that constituency is likely to share a mind-set with a larger group of already registered voters.

One might be tempted to draw the conclusion that Gillard’s centerpiece education reforms aren’t really that popular with its intended consumers – students. One might also infer that ALP strategists have decided that the election will not be fought and won education policies; a reasonable assumption, I would think.

These matters notwithstanding, the timing of an election so soon after a leadership change was probably smart. Gillard hasn’t yet had time to make mistakes in her own right as leader of the party, enjoys a substantial honeymoon boost in the ratings, and is likely to slip in popularity the longer she waits if there aren’t any major new initiatives she can deliver prior to and separate from election pork barreling.

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