Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time for a double dissolution election

The Labor federal government is trying to pass a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. Basically, it's a carbon trading scheme in principle, and a carbon gifting scheme in practice - the biggest polluters will get free permits, and the funds raised from the sale of the other permits will be used to subsidise petrol, natural gas and coal to ensure that consumers don't end up with higher prices. Now, the whole point of any trading scheme or tax is to raise the price so that people seek alternatives. If fossil fuels become more expensive, wind and solar and taking a walk look more attractive. So if you ensure the prices stay the same, well then it's just another way of handing cash to big companies and squashing small companies.

Anyway, the Government lacks a majority in the Senate. To pass anything, they need either the support of the Opposition (Liberal-Nationals), or else the Greens plus the two independents. One of the independents is this bloke Fielding. Fielding represents Family First, a front party for the Christian fundamentalists the Assembly of God, your basic god-bothering fruit loops, playing with snakes, speaking in tongues and all that. He's a Senator from Victoria. He got in by accident: we have a funny system where we vote preferentially, numbering who we want from 1 to 150 (or however many Senate candidates there are).

Most people don't write all the numbers in, and just put a "1" in the party box, their vote then goes however that party says. Once they establish who first gets in, they start looking at everyone's 2nd preferences, then their 3rd, and so on. It's a bit like the decathlon - if you come (say) 3rd in every event, you win the decathlon overall. Well, Fielding got in because the major parties put the Greens last, and each-other second-last, and him in the middle. So while only 1.8% of people actually voted for Fielding, he was one of the six Senators elected.

The major parties aren't making that mistake again.

Now, if legislation is rejected unamended by the Senate a few times, the government can say "double or nothing!", ask the Governor General to dissolve both Houses of Parliament and call fresh elections. Then, assuming they win government, they have a joint sitting of the two Houses and force it through.

I think the CPRS is a load of bollocks, and a complete waste of time, yet another corporate handout. But it'd be an excellent chance to get rid of Fielding. Let's get rid of the fucking fruit loop and get someone with some more hearty breakfast food for brains instead.

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