Guest Post: Driftforge – Response to Tasmania : A province of Victoria

Having been away camping for the weekend in Ulverstone on the north coast of Tasmania, I arrived back to find David Leyonhjelm’s post on Tasmania. Having the privilege of living here, apparently subsidised by the ever-generous Australian Taxpayer, I thought it best I respond.

First of all, it must be understood that Tasmania’s primary export, for which we receive conservatively some $700M per year, is a marvellous product called ‘Warm Fuzzies’.  These have the incredible property of allowing people who have never engaged with the environment in any manner beyond the minimal —at best a bush walk, at worst, pictures in a magazine — to feel ‘warm and fuzzy’ inside, knowing that a place like Tasmania exists out there, somewhere.  We have been forced under point of law to export these to the federal government since around 1983, because apparently they are quite valuable for winning votes in marginal seats that suffer from environmental deprivation.  The first batch was of course minted from the shrivelled remains of the Franklin-Grodon dam. Since then we have been called on every couple of electoral cycles to top up the depleted remnants of the federal governments supply, with tithes from our fishing, forestry and mining industries. We have also been called upon to accept the elderly and ‘environmentally sensitive’ members of mainland society in increasing numbers, at significant cost respectively to our health system and political stability.

Now David suggests in quite an forthright manner that he does not believe that the Federal Government is getting value for their money, and in the non-political economy, he is quite right. In the political economy, all that can be said is that our customers keep coming back for more.

What I would like to point out is that we have, by far, received the worst of the deal.  Not only has half the land area of Tasmania been locked away from productive use — two thirds of that under international jurisdiction — but large portions of our forestry and fishing industries have been extorted and regulated out of existence.

The majority of Tasmanian’s still agree that this trade is caustic and has to stop.

In that, it is clearly understood that the first three points of the Senator-Elect’s post are a necessary part of the changes required. However, these changes are conditional on the cessation of the forced trade in ‘Warm Fuzzies’. It means Tasmania gets back the capacity to manage our own forestry and fishing, we get back the capacity to manage our own land.  The changes that have brought Tasmania to the condition it is in today were wrought by the Federal Government, and these acts of vandalism can only be repudiated by the Federal Government.

The key to this is in the revitalisation of the Australian Senate itself. The suggestion that Tasmania receive lesser representation in the States House is akin to a stand over man saying that the rules have changed; now we still get to take your product, but we aren’t paying anymore. It is exactly the opposite of what needs to occur.

Democracy is like a powerful acid; at all times it erodes the culture and values of its host society, but it can be contained and resisted to some degree. One of the mechanisms we have to resist the corrosion of democracy is the concept of the Upper House. Calls for Upper Houses to be disbanded are misguided or mischievous, trading adherence to founding principles for political ease.

An upper house enshrines a principle that is voided by democracy in its naked form. The House of Lords enshrined the principle that ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’; this principle is not enshrined in Australia’s system of government and this shows in its ever increasing budget, and increasing difficulty in restraining spending. At one stage, it was enshrined through state upper houses that required a landholding to vote, when land was taxed. The Australian Senate enshrined the principle that a small area with a large population should not hold tyranny over sparsely populated areas remote to it. In practice this intent has been invalidated on regular occasion, and most frequently and clearly in respect of Tasmania. The continuing abuse and corollary mendacity of Tasmania are a clear sign of the Senate to function as intended; it is not time to cease what little protection there is, but to reinvigorate the original intent and purpose of the Senate so that it performs its function well.

How is this to be done? The purpose of the Senate is enshrined in the differences between it and the lower house; only in its distinctions is value found. Thus to effectively serve the purpose of protecting sparsely populated regional areas, voting in the Upper House must be biased to those areas in the Upper House. The issue is not that Tasmania has too many votes, it is that regional areas elsewhere around the country have too few. The simplest and most effective route to improving the effectiveness of the Senate — while at the same time restoring the lack of balance between Tasmania and other regional areas — is to carve out new city-states for each of the capital cities in the existing states.  These relatively small areas could be provided with a total of six senators each, leaving their regional areas with the original six, and the Senate with the same number of members it currently has.

Tasmania’s situation stands as a warning and an opportunity, illustrating the costs of abusing the nature of Australia as a Federation of States, and opening an opportunity to discuss means of fixing not just the immediate problem but addressing the root cause.  A demand from the Federal Government that Tasmania carry its share of the economic burden is not sustainable when that very same Federal Government has brought about the very situation Tasmania finds itself in, yet remains necessary in order that Tasmania return itself to a productive state fully engaged with its environment. First cut the chains that bind, then let Tasmania find its own path back to prosperity. Take the chance to properly enshrine the intent of the Australian Federation in the Federal Senate, and help see our nation survive its own democracy for a little longer yet.

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127 Responses to Guest Post: Driftforge – Response to Tasmania : A province of Victoria

  1. Eyrie

    I completely agree, Tasmania needs to be freed from the yoke of Australian Imperialist aggression.

  2. stackja

    Richo said do not dam the Franklin, full speed ahead.

  3. johanna

    What “path back to prosperity” would that be? Tasmania has not been self-supporting in living memory.

    As for the House of Lords, it now has 745 members. They can’t even all fit in the chamber. And it is stacked with political appointees, who get to live off the taxpayer for life. And no amount of Fantasyland proposals for changing the structure of the Federation cancel out the fact that Tasmania’s Senate representation, in particular, constitutes a massive gerrymander.

    It is true that Tasmania has been used and abused by the Federal government, but it is also true that its local politicians have created a cargo cult, where they happily sell off autonomy in return for other people’s money.

  4. Rob

    As a resident of rural NSW, I agree. The Premier of NSW is effectively the mayor of the Sydney Metro area. The debacle of the Murray water plans over the last few years shows the impact of city-based voters wanting to feel good about the environment and letting others pay for it. The whole idea of environmental flow is nonsensical – and the ‘enhanced flood events’ (ie releasing MORE water during flood times to inundate the natural flood plains for environmental reasons) are over the top of the homes and business places of real people – how about we routinely flood Balmain for the amusement of country dwellers and see how that goes?

  5. I am surprised that a classical liberal would be against federalism.

    the grants commission is a separate issue. I am all for state income taxes.

    Joh Bjelke-Petersen used to say that the only good tax was a federal tax.

  6. Demosthenes

    Democracy is an acid, timocracy rules OK? Disturbing sentiment.

  7. entropy

    Actually, drift might be onto something here. Make Greater Sydney a State, NSW every other bit, then only let them have six senators each. Ditto Melbourne and Brisbane and Perth. A state surrounded by another state.
    Tassie, like all other states, then only gets six senators. It might even be less complicated for a state to split and have both bits join the federal constitution than trying to break up the state the other way around by wholesale changes to state boundaries

  8. Grumbles

    The answer is not more politicians, we have too many already. And, the article would have a point if Tasmanian’s actually elected governments that represented these things… alas they do not. They look to be the first state of Australia that has a Green party leading opposition. The senators it chooses to represent it Federally are slewed heavily to the Left. Libertarians no need or want for warm fuzzies, haven’t bought em and never will.

    You should welcome the idea of secession, if it is truly the Federal Government holding you back. Unfortunately Tasmanians are statistically more lazy and prone to injury, statistically left and statistically anti business. The senators you vote for represent your interests Federally, and all I can see in Tasmania is the consequences of their own decisions.

  9. .

    Rob
    #1219419, posted on March 10, 2014 at 8:11 pm
    As a resident of rural NSW, I agree. The Premier of NSW is effectively the mayor of the Sydney Metro area. The debacle of the Murray water plans over the last few years shows the impact of city-based voters wanting to feel good about the environment and letting others pay for it. The whole idea of environmental flow is nonsensical – and the ‘enhanced flood events’ (ie releasing MORE water during flood times to inundate the natural flood plains for environmental reasons) are over the top of the homes and business places of real people – how about we routinely flood Balmain for the amusement of country dwellers and see how that goes?

    America was founded on a tax rebellion of a few per cent. This egregious transfer of wealth to salve the consciences of moronic deep Greens is many times more provocative.

  10. stackja

    Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong Un does not worry about minor electoral matters.

  11. John Comnenus

    Drift seems to forget that the State Government is the reason half the State is locked up and the other half regulated out of any productive pursuit. Tasmanians voted for ALP and Greens ideology for the last 25 years or so. Take some responsibility and look at your own Statewide voting patterns before you blame the mainland for subsidising you. If you could be productive you wouldn’t be dependent on the mainland. My advice to Tasmanians is to stay calm and vote Liberal.

  12. Demosthenes

    The senators you vote for represent your interests Federally, and all I can see in Tasmania is the consequences of their own decisions.

    Shades of Joseph de Maistre?

  13. .

    Senate:

    Weigh votes per state so that they are equal by population, have a national list and vote every 8 years for the full Senate, whilst we have four year fixed terms for the House…

    I think that is a reasonable compromise between democracy, Federalism and the framer’s intent. Maybe keep half elections with every fixed House term.

  14. The Pugilist

    It is true that Tasmania has been used and abused by the Federal government, but it is also true that its local politicians have created a cargo cult, where they happily sell off autonomy in return for other people’s money.

    True. If your argument were valid, driftforge, Tasmania would have a robust States’ right-ist State government and stop sending fuck-knuckles like Bob Brown and Christine Milne to Canberra. Tasmania is proud of its status as a mendicant State. They’ve never made any attempt to break free.

  15. Tim

    I do like the idea of splitting the capitals off from the states, rather than the other way round. But I would leave the regions with their existing 12 senators and add another 12 for Sydney and Melbourne, and a proportionally smaller number for Brisbane and Perth. (Because new states are not guaranteed equal senators, only the existing ones). Probably leave SA and Tas as single states for now. It is probably better from a federation point of view than my proposal to merge Tasmania and SA.

  16. Boambee John

    Driftforge and Entropy:

    This comment that I put against David L’s earlier post went down like a lead balloon with the cats at the time, but given your proposals, I repost it here for your information.

    Boambee John

    “it is constitutionally guaranteed … twelve seats in the Senate”

    It’s a long time since I read the Constitution, but my recollection is that Tasmania is guaranteed six senators, the original number from each state at the time of Federation.

    Rearrange the nation to double the number of states, reduce the number of senators per state back to six, and we make at least a small amount of progress towards destroying this gerrymander.

    The revised states could be (from the northeast clockwise):

    Queensland north of about Rockhampton;
    The Brisbane conurbation (Sunshine Coast, Brisbane/Moreton Bay, Gold Coast, including Tweed Heads area);
    The remainder of Queensland;
    NSW north of Port Stephens;
    The Sydney conurbation (Port Stephens, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and south to Nowra);
    The rest of NSW, to about 100 kms north of the Murray;
    Victoria from Geelong through Melbourne and east to the sea;
    Rest of Victoria, including the Murray Valley area excised from NSW;
    Tasmania as is;
    South Australia as is;
    Southwest of Western Australia (up to just north of Geraldton;
    Rest of WA plus the Northern Territory.

    This gives 12 states, six senators each comes to the present 72 state senators (the two from the NT disappear, but they are not in the Constitution anyway), saving two.

  17. Grumbles

    2007 Tasmania gave us 3 Labor Senators a green and 2 Liberals, 2010 same result. Both years they attracted about 20% of the initial vote. This most recent election they gave us 2 Labor 1 Green 2 Liberals, and Jacqie Lambie who defected to PUP when ALP wouldn’t take her. You gave us Bob Brown and Christine Milne. This is what Tasmanians wanted… this is what they got.

  18. blogstrop

    No. Senators must be on a per capita of population like reps, or it’s not democratic. The present system is an epic fail and has made for bad government. You can add to that per-capita system the correct number of city and regional divisions, only as many as the state has the population to support.

  19. Bruce of Newcastle

    A simple fix is for all states and territories to spend their own GST.

    No more and no less.

    If the state fosters business, revenue rises. If it doesn’t, like Tassie now, well Tassie has quite a few caves. Get yours now, before the rush.

  20. Ant

    This doesn’t smell like democracy:

    NSW population: 7.5 million
    No. of senators in federal parliament: 12
    Ratio: 625,000:1

    Tas population: 0.55 million
    No. of senators in federal parliament: 12
    Ratio: 45,833:1

    In the interests of fairness, Tasmania should be redesignated a ‘Territory’, thereby retaining just 2 senators. And even that is disproportionate, compared to the more populous mainland states.

  21. Simon

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just remove senatorial representation from cities or areas already represented by the HoR and just give the senate the right to create legislation too.

  22. Demosthenes

    Senators must be on a per capita of population like reps, or it’s not democratic.

    As Driftforge indicated, the undemocratic nature of upper houses is deliberate. We took the American federal system with its quota per state regardless of size specifically to counter-balance majoritarianism. Apparently Driftforge prefers the English model, where the upper house was constituted to give landowners and the clergy a greater say than their numbers would otherwise give. Its name is not a coincidence.

  23. Demosthenes

    and just give the senate the right to create legislation too.

    It has that right, apart from money bills.

  24. Turtle of WA

    Boambee John, are you from NSW or Queensland?

  25. John Comnenus

    Every State is guaranteed twelve Senators and each Territory Two. This was the formula Dickinson inserted into the US Constitution to get smaller States on board. The real problem is that Tasmania is guaranteed five lower house seats. The simple solution is that Tasmania sets the size of Federal electorates everywhere. So if the average electorate in Tasmania is 75,000 voters then every electorate in Australia should be around 75,000 voters. Problem solved, Tasmania reduced to a level of representation commensurate with its population.

  26. blogstrop

    … specifically to counter-balance majoritarianism.

    What?

  27. blogstrop

    No, John, the Senate is stuffing things up, and it’s time it was reformed.

  28. johanna

    All these fantasist proposals about What I Would Do if I was Dictator of Australia are no doubt pleasurable for their promoters, but totally unhelpful. None of it is going to happen in the forseeable future.

    History tells us that we are pretty much stuck with the structure of the Federation as spelled out in the Constitution.

    It is only 50 years or so ago that Queensland and Western Australia were in much the same position as Tasmania – hick, mendicant States with lots of potential. The difference is that successive State governments actively promoted growth and development, with results that all can see.

    Until Tasmania’s political system throws up some pro-growth politicians with the willpower to tell the Feds to take a hike, nothing is going to change.

  29. Andrew

    As a citizen of Australia, I say sorry.
    On behalf of the govt, I am sorry.
    On behalf of the parliament, I am sorry.

  30. egg_

    Take some responsibility and look at your own Statewide voting patterns before you blame the mainland for subsidising you. If you could be productive you wouldn’t be dependent on the mainland.

    Sounds like New England NSW, agrarian socialists and a nett tax hoover IMHO – and they had the hide to propose to be a ‘New State’, also.
    Beyond parody.
    Make it a Territory.

  31. Boambee John

    “Boambee John, are you from NSW or Queensland?”

    Born and educated in Queensland, lived in the ACT for over 30 years, now near Coffs Harbour (where we sometimes refer to NSW as Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong).

  32. queensland observer

    Love John’s suggestion, base the number of house seats on tasmania population.

  33. Boambee John

    “The simple solution is that Tasmania sets the size of Federal electorates everywhere. ”

    Actually, Tasmania is guaranteed only six senators (the original number), but must have the same number as all other states.

    Also, the Senate must be as nearly as practicable half the size of the Reps, so setting Reps electorates to match Tasmanian numbers would increase the number of Reps seats, and also the number of senators by half as many, somehow spread over six states, in a treadmill like fashion.

  34. .

    I think a lot of the suggestions here alone or combined would sort this mess out.

  35. .

    All these fantasist proposals about What I Would Do if I was Dictator of Australia are no doubt pleasurable for their promoters, but totally unhelpful

    No, they’re excellent, better than anything Sharman Stone has produced over her career and ought to be reproduced in the media.

  36. John Comnenus:

    So if the average electorate in Tasmania is 75,000 voters then every electorate in Australia should be around 75,000 voters. Problem solved, Tasmania reduced to a level of representation commensurate with its population.

    I have no problems with this. Constitutionally this would require an increase in the size of the senate as well. If we must be a democracy, we need one and only one democratic house, and that as democratic as can be managed.

    Demosthenes:

    Apparently Driftforge prefers the English model, where the upper house was constituted to give landowners and the clergy a greater say than their numbers would otherwise give. Its name is not a coincidence.

    I’m noting there is a valid principle that is not enshrined in Australia; if I was to advocate for an additional or different principle to that which is established here, then I would advocate that we disallow anyone who receives their primary source of income from the government the right to vote for the Upper House. No one should be able to thieve by vote.

    Politicians remain another problem.

    Boambee:
    The city-state division is the most important change. It is consistently the strongest geo-political divide. I don’t disagree with the other suggestions; the number of options is infinite, many good.

    General note:
    Just because something is democratic does not mean it is good. Don’t use the words interchangeably.

  37. Gab

    First of all, it must be understood that Tasmania’s primary export, for which we receive conservatively some $700M per year, is a marvellous product called ‘Warm Fuzzies’.

    That had me laughing, Driftforge. Good post.

    I believe though that Lizzie‘s suggestion for what to do with Tasmania also has merit:

    It should immediately be handed over to Deadman to administer. And there should be an immigrant movement of Cats there to stack all existing political party branches and grow the LDP. We could have our own paradise in the end; a tax-free haven of productivity and technology. A precious jewel, indeed, set in a silver sea. To quote someone.

    The food, wine and views are excellent, the university has some promise (it is well-situated anyway), and very many locals are looking for a change. Ardent greenie retirees are disliked and could fade into insignificance with a hefty input of Catallaxians, who in general are not particularly young ‘uns either. If you’ve got young ‘uns yourself, the private schools are relatively cheap and have excellent facilities. House prices are amazingly low for such great views and interesting architecture. A cold winter is fine for indoor blogging, guys, and everyone could write that one book that they harbour within them.

  38. .

    Note:

    Sortition would technically be democratic, representative democracy is oligarchic to an extent.

  39. johanna

    I’m noting there is a valid principle that is not enshrined in Australia; if I was to advocate for an additional or different principle to that which is established here, then I would advocate that we disallow anyone who receives their primary source of income from the government the right to vote for the Upper House. No one should be able to thieve by vote.

    So, you want to deprive serving ADF members, police officers, nurses etc of the right to vote? Now, that’s the kind of muddy thinking that keeps Tasmania in its current woeful situation.

  40. Tel

    If we can’t give them to New Zealand, how about a 99 year lease?

  41. entropy

    Boambee, the new states you suggest would never get support at the referendum, splitting the capital cities off would be enough. Your proposal would result in more politicians, Drift’s proposal would have every state senate numbers cut back to about Six for no overall change in numbers.

  42. entropy

    It should immediately be handed over to Deadman to administer. And there should be an immigrant movement of Cats there to stack all existing political party branches and grow the LDP.

    Bugger that. Too cold.

  43. Grumbles

    How about we significantly reduce the entire federal parliament to 6 members of each state. Empower state governments to run their own affairs, set a small tax say 5% of all state takings to administer truly federal matters.

  44. So, you want to deprive serving ADF members, police officers, nurses etc of the right to vote? Now, that’s the kind of muddy thinking that keeps Tasmania in its current woeful situation.

    Yes. It is not about the party they vote for, but rather their source of income. Also anyone on a pension (except for old age), anyone on the dole, anyone on Austudy or whatever that is called today, etc. This is in regards the state upper house only; the upper house is not for representation, that function is undertaken in the lower house.

    If this was instituted in Tasmania, we would be in a substantially better place.

  45. Too cold.

    Average daily minimum/maximum temperatures, by month (in degrees Celsius), for Hobart and Launceston:

    Jan: 11/22; 12/24
    Feb: 12/22; 12/24
    Mar: 11/21; 10/22
    Apr: 9/18; 7/19
    May: 6/15; 5/16
    June: 5/13; 3/13
    July: 4/12; 2/12
    Aug: 5/13; 4/14
    Sept: 6/15; 5/15
    Oct: 7/17; 7/18
    Nov: 9/19; 9/20
    Dec: 11/20; 10/22

    There are warmer spots around the island, but these temperatures seem quite temperate to me. Of course, Tim Flannery, the pseudo-scientific scammer, and he’d know, reckons that Tasmania’s climate will become so overheated that we’ll all go insane.

  46. If we can’t give them to New Zealand, how about a 99 year lease?

    The Kiwis are going to the polls in September. There may still be time to get a referendum question in there.

  47. entropy

    Not for me, deadman. If it gets frost at least once a year, you should leave it to the Eskimos.

  48. johanna

    Driftforge thinks that depriving cops and soldiers of the right to vote for the Upper House would improve politics there.

    No wonder the place is in the toilet.

  49. braddles

    If the Tasmanians refuse to be incorporated into Victoria, could we incorporate Victoria into Tasmania? To sweeten the deal, keep the capital in Hobart (a bit like British Columbia).

  50. Demosthenes

    No one should be able to thieve by vote.

    Firemen are thieves?

  51. That had me laughing, Driftforge.

    Thanks Gab.

  52. dismissive

    Ban Hare-Clark and all its variants and any and all other multi electorate methodologies in all Australian jurisdictions.

  53. Blogstrop

    The Labor Party everywhere, in creating too many national parks and then the incredibly stupid marine national parks, is trying to manufacture warm fuzzie votes. One day they’ll wake up to the fact that it’s led them way down the garden path, all the way to fairyland.

  54. nerblnob

    From where I’m sitting, Wilson’s Prom looks remarkably like Crimea …

  55. Senile Old Guy

    No, John, the Senate is stuffing things up, and it’s time it was reformed.

    The purpose of the Senate is to stuff things up: i.e. Stop the House from rushing through every stupid idea it comes up with. People now are complaining about the Senate stopping Abbott. The obstructive Senate also stops the ALP when it goes loony in the lower house.

    If the Senate was reformed along the lines suggested by some here (make it more “democratic”) the outcome would be worse not better. Driftforge has much right: The Feds have created many of Tasmania’s problems, starting with the Franklin Dam. The super trawler is a more recent example. These things have been done to create” warm fuzzies”.

  56. Senile Old Guy

    Ban Hare-Clark and all its variants and any and all other multi electorate methodologies in all Australian jurisdictions.

    And this is Tasmania’s other problem: The stupid Here-Clark voting system. It guarantees that fringe parties (i.e. loonies) get into government. Reform this voting system and Tasmania would work (or not work) the same way as the rest of the country.

  57. Tapdog

    ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’;

    Nice. The logical response to Keatings ‘unrepresentative swill’ remark.

  58. Splatacrobat

    Just hand Tasmania over to the Greens, Aborigines, Asylum seekers, Unions, and any other group who wants to build a utopian socialist society. Let it stand on it’s own two heads!

    Oh, they already are that way? Sorry as you were.

  59. egg_

    Just hand Tasmania over to the Greens, Aborigines, Asylum seekers, Unions, and any other group who wants to build a utopian socialist society.

    Typical tree-change ratbags, Hillbilly Central.

  60. CameronH

    The purpose of the Senate is to protect the rights of the individual independent states that form the Federation. In this regard it has failed miserably by any measure. Not only has the Commonwealth Government over the years co-0pted the state’s power in many areas, but have also handed large areas of their land over to the control of bureaucrats and committees in the UN.

    The destruction of the industry in Tasmania by the Commonwealth Government is also happening in all of the states, it is just that Tasmania had less depth and is reaching the end point of our current trajectory first. If the current trend of control of our future by the no nothings in the large cities continues we will all end up living in a state similar to Tasmania.

    In Queensland, all primary industries are constantly under attack by environmental policies, based on dodgy science mostly put up by environmental extremists who have captured the gullible inner cities lefty’s ignorant minds. These policies and resultant legislation and regulations come from a combination of State and Commonwealth Governments trying to appease the large, and mostly ignorant, inner city populations and.

    We really need to restructure the Commonwealth and State Governments to be as they were at Federation and to beef up the constitution so that a future Commonwealth takeover is not possible. I also think that it is a good idea to separate the regional areas from the big cities and give six senate position to each.

  61. Robbo

    “Joh Bjelke-Petersen used to say that the only good tax was a federal tax.”

    This thread is about representative democracy so how come Bjelke-Petersen gets a mention?

  62. Aynsley Kellow

    The problem is not Tasmanian representation in the Senate or House of Reps, but (as the author of the post points out) Commonwealth insistence that our primary industry be the export of warm fuzzies. We could add Hare-Clark in the House of Assembly – where around 16% of the vote can give disproportionate influence to a minor party and a 20% plus lead over the next party might not actually deliver majority government. It means many voters can vote for a single issue party unencumbered by the need to trade off principles as governmetns have to do.

  63. CameronH

    A big issue in all of this is the that the environmental extremist groups such as Greenpeace and WWF are not held to account as are other organisations such as private companies. If private companies spread around the misinformation and straight out lies or engaged in the industrial vandalism that these extremist do people company directors and executives would be in court and most likely end up in gaol.

    It is past time for a complete rethink about how these groups fit into the corporate governance structure within our country.

  64. Watching It Unfold

    I love Tasmania, its beautiful, and its people are fabulous – what I would like to see is a state govt. that supports business activity more than it does at the moment. Perhaps Tasmania could attract more business with special tax deals for setting up down there. I don’t see a need to give up any environment assets to attract 21st century companies. The only cost to Tasmanians is to accept change,,,which is difficult enough alone. You are right, you need to work with the Feds to see what is possible with the economy – good luck.

  65. This thread is about representative democracy so how come Bjelke-Petersen gets a mention?

    Coz he’s Australia’s most successful state premier, ever?

  66. Eyrie

    Giving Tassie to NZ would rightly be regarded as an act of war .

  67. upper houses in federal systems rarely have representation based on the number of voters per state, remember the US senate.

  68. johanna

    Yes Jim, but with 50 States each contributing 2 senators, the gerrymander effect in the US is much less. Here, 2% of the population controls 15% of the Senate. In the US, no State controls more than 2% of the Senate, so it is not worth bribing a tiny percentage of the population for potentially massive gain.

  69. Ellen of Tasmania

    Just hand Tasmania over to the Greens, Aborigines, Asylum seekers, Unions, and any other group who wants to build a utopian socialist society.

    Why not? You started the process over 30 years ago.

    Thank you, Driftforge, from the bottom of my Tassie heart.

  70. incoherent rambler

    The senate has not helped.
    Something is wrong when a senator is elected with less than 10% of the vote.

  71. rebel with cause

    Also, the only industry that Tasmania is ‘allowed’ to have – tourism – can be used to keep other industries down. It works like this: 1) use taxpayer funds to encourage ecofacists to ‘holiday’ in Tasmania. 2) take them to small remenants of remaining forestry/fishing/agriculture industry. 3) furious indignation at sight of tree cut down, fishing catch etc spurs letter writing campaigns and social media outage to further beat Tasmania into submission. 4) Repeat until other industries wiped out, and then proceed to holiday elsewhere.

  72. Driftforge

    The stupid Here-Clark voting system. It guarantees that fringe parties (i.e. loonies) get into government.

    Quick defence of Hare-Clarke as a methodology for selecting members in the democratic house:

    1. It allows everybody in the electorate to have a representative that is at least in their ball park politically.
    2. It eradicates poor performers after a single term of government; we do not suffer from safe seat syndrome.
    3. It allows for the growth of small parties while still imposing a barrier to entry. The LDP missed an opening in Braddon this election; PUP is likely to pick that up instead.
    4. It makes evident the growth of undesirable groupings that remain hidden in other systems.

    With a properly constructed Upper House, the downsides of the Lower House here would be eliminated.

  73. Driftforge

    Thank you, Driftforge, from the bottom of my Tassie heart.

    Your welcome.

  74. .

    No no, Hare Clarke is good.

    The LDP etc haven’t manned up yet.

  75. Angus Black

    And never forget that the evil Bob Brown was sent by the Sydneysiders to destroy us. How’s that worked out for YOU north-islanders? About as well as it’s worked out for us, I’d say.

    Well done Driftforge.

    Love the idea of disenfranchising the mendicant class. I’d except the military from the no-vote rule, though.

  76. Driftforge

    Love the idea of disenfranchising the mendicant class. I’d except the military from the no-vote rule, though.

    Sell me on it; I’m dubious as to the need to specifically exempt certain categories. I’m also aware that to exempt categories that are conservative in nature will tend to make it a more deeply political issue that would see Labor exempting bureaucrats down the track.

    Losing your vote for the duration becomes part of the cost of providing a public service. It will make public service less palatable, drive up the cost of providing public service, and tend to move any service that can be conducted privately to the private sector.

  77. johanna

    So, some blameless citizens will have to give up their rights for the greater good?

    Now, where have we heard that before?

  78. .

    How about having less public servants?

  79. .

    The pulp mill decision was a Federal one, wasn’t it?

    Dams?

    Super trawler?

    Wilderness Areas?

    Secession would make Tasmania better off.

  80. So, some blameless citizens will have to give up their rights for the greater good?

    It’s not about blame. Its about the receipt of public monies creating an inherent conflict of interest. Is there an industry based around (insert public employment category of choice) receiving more public funding? They should not be talking to themselves when making a case for that increased reward. They should be making that case to those who have to pay for it.

    This change makes that both possible and necessary. Any public servant with a degree of honour would respect the need for this sacrifice.

    Let me point out the abiding necessity for this in the context of a democratic Tasmania. More than 50% of our voting population falls into that category; around Australia, that figure is more than 40%.

    Without this safeguard we have passed the point of no return save collapse and start again. This is not some ‘it would be nice if’. It is the single most necessary change in our democratic system to restore integrity and honour to politics, or at the very least to arrest its continuing decline.

    It is a right they never should have had.

  81. john malpas

    Make Tasmania as a whole a national park. Move the current people to the Northern Territories or some other place.
    Let evolution take place.

  82. boy on a bike

    I suppose the original intent of the founders was that Senators would vote along state lines. Parties as we know them today did not exist. Prior to the Labor party coming along and ruining everything, Senators voted in the best interests of their state, and not along party lines.

  83. Fred Lenin

    The answaer to all this is to abolish the senate,and have Rule by Referenda,with the People assuming Power to control governments.Forbidding donations to political parties and limits to elected representatives tenure in politics to one term in a lifetime ,would curtail corruption and arrogance mand the right to dismiss inept ,corrupt ,power hungry people and punish them severely ,would go a long way to improving the lot of the voters .omly Taxpayers or retired Taxpayers allowed to vote would improve the quality of electors.

  84. Secession would make Tasmania better off.

    Yes, and I suspect those who baulked at the option in 1983 would choose differently if they had their chance over. There’s an interesting piece of alternate history to explore.

  85. The answaer to all this is to abolish the senate, and have Rule by Referenda,with the People assuming Power to control governments.

    That’s a bit like noticing that acid is eating through a metal plate, and somehow thinking that it will all be better if we only increase the strength of the acid.

    You do not fix the perils of democracy by adding more democracy.

  86. johanna

    boab, the Senate was indeed supposed to be a States House, but they screwed up by making it elected by popular vote. Originally in the US, State legislatures appointed Senators for that reason. Unfortunately, a subsequent amendment to the Constitution changed it to election by popular vote, which is why both our and the US Senates are so dysfunctional.

  87. Bruce of Newcastle

    From the mouths of babes (ok, PwC aren’t babes):

    According to PwC’s GEM, which for the first times provides an ‘on-the-ground economic view’ of 2,214 locations reveals that an area roughly the size of Tasmania generated 85 per cent of the value of Australia’s $1.5 trillion economy in 2013. It also shows that just 221 locations generated 51 per cent of the country’s economic output.

    In order, the top 10 list is comprised of Sydney CBD, Melbourne CBD and Perth CBD respectively followed by Roebourne, Ashburton and East Pilbara all of which are located in WA on resource-rich deposits.

    I bet Tasmania wished it could do that, but sadly for them after the big state capitals the mining centres were the next biggest contributors. Doily knitting and green art appreciation didn’t figure.

    Hey, come to think of it Tasmania used to have a vibrant mining industry. I wonder what happened to it.

  88. The Greens always ignore “no junk mail” notices because they’re special, and above petty rules. A few of the highlights of the latest brochure I’ve received from Cassy O’Connor (written by someone who has enjoyed a modern education, evidently, and printed on 100% recycled paper):

    She supports creating a prosperous, low-carbon economy powered by renewable energy, and is a passionate voice for people with disabilities, multiculturalism and Tasmanians who are doing it tough. […]
    The Greens will work to grow clean energy skills and jobs in Tasmania by supporting investment in renewable technologies like wind, wave, geothermal and solar. […]
    The Greens will invest in attracting data centres to Tasmania, taking advantage of our renewable energy and cool climate. […]
    The Greens will invest in preventative health and better support for older Tasmanians in in aged care. […]
    The Greens will support highly skilled jobs in architecture, digital design, film and television production, marketing, publishing and software design. […]
    The Greens will make Tasmania’s GE-free status permanent, and invest in marketing Tasmanian products to overseas customers.
    The Greens will fight to defend our productive farmland from the damaging effects of mining exploration and fracking. […]
    The Greens will invest in looking after our National Parks, remediating mine sites and adapting to impacts of climate change on our environment. […]
    The Greens will help small businesses to implement creative online sales strategies. […]
    The key to creating jobs in our island economy lies in emerging opportunities in renewable energy, agriculture, science, education, digital innovation, environmental protection and remediation, communications, creative businesses, tourism, fine foods, wines and beverages.
    It’s the Tasmanian people who will write the next chapter in Tasmania’s story.
    If you want change in Tasmania, vote for a party that believes in change. Vote for the Greens.

    Here are the exclamation marks which I avoided adding to the quoted text: !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Still, it’s good that The Greens will invest so much of their own money in all these—wait, what, it’s not their own money? No, surely you jest…

  89. Bruce of Newcastle

    !!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’d dearly love to fisk that list, but it would be a waste of effort. Just about everything is mutually contradictory.

    My example of a Greens Party bullet point is this:

    I will win the Melbourne Cup in 2014 by entering a camel.

    Almost all of those above points are just as silly. Stringing nouns and verbs together randomly does not imply either competence or sanity.

  90. johanna

    Cheer up Deadman, it will all be over soon.

    I hate election campaigns – the stupid TV and radio ads, the junk mail, people banging on your door wanting to harangue you about their candidate – drives me crazy.

  91. Demosthenes

    Something something taxation without representation, Driftforge.

  92. .

    I don’t reckon they screwed the Senate up. It isn’t popularly elected, it is done on a state by State basis. Regionalism can still be a force in the Senate.

    What would be better would be sortition for the Senate and a CIR power to strike down laws only or have recall elections.

  93. johanna

    The Senate is screwed because it is just a gerrymandered version of the HoR – i.e. dominated by the parties. Its original purpose was to give the States protection against adverse or usurping actions by the Commonwealth. I can’t remember it doing that in my lifetime.

  94. .

    The States are complicit in their downfall, along with the external affairs power, surrender of tax powers and corporations power.

  95. .

    But, the parties did this. This is why we need sortiton! Parties etc of course should be legal as part of our right to freely associate – but they have captured the process.

  96. Something something taxation without representation, Driftforge.

    That is what the lower house is for, and it completely fulfils that notion.

    The other, better, option is to have no taxation.

  97. Dot, sortition renovates the issue of cronyism rather than resolving it, changing it from a continuum to a race, and introduces a selection process bound to produce a generic lack of competency.

    This is not better.

  98. Boambee John

    “to carve out new city-states for each of the capital cities in the existing states”
    “Boambee, the new states you suggest would never get support at the referendum, splitting the capital cities off would be enough”

    Driftforge and Entropy:

    Thinking over what is above, particularly the comments on the difficulties in establishing new states, I wonder if there isn’t another way.

    I’m not familiar with the detail of the Constitution, but is the requirement that the Senate be elected by each state as a single electorate in the Constitution, or is it legislative (as the voting system is)?

    If the latter, a solution that achieves Driftforge’s aim (and mine) without establishing new states would be to divide each state into two Senate electorates, along the lines he suggested of capital city/rest of state.

    I would go a bit further, and make it capital conurbation (Sunshine Coast/Brisbane (perhaps Ipswich)/Gold Coast in Queensland, Newcastle/Sydney/Wollongong in NSW, and similarly around the states/rest of state. Then half of the senators in each state (currently six) would be elected by the capital conurbation, the other half by the regional electorate.

    This might achieve the aim of reducing the senatorial influence of urban so-called “sophisticates”, without the angst of a referendum.

  99. .

    Sortition creates cronyism?

    How do you get cronies when you have only four or so years as a parliamentarian?

    Can you please explain how it would encourage a lack of competency? On the other thread I have detailed process of approval etc.

  100. Driftforge

    Dot, it doesn’t create cronyism and I didn’t suggest that. It changes the game of creating crony’s in parliament, and four years is plenty of time to establish such.

    Shorten the term to a year.

  101. Driftforge

    I would go a bit further, and make it capital conurbation (Sunshine Coast/Brisbane (perhaps Ipswich)/Gold Coast in Queensland, Newcastle/Sydney/Wollongong in NSW, and similarly around the states/rest of state. Then half of the senators in each state (currently six) would be elected by the capital conurbation, the other half by the regional electorate.

    This.

  102. .

    Ah I see now. That alteration would be a purer form of demarchy.

  103. johanna

    but is the requirement that the Senate be elected by each state as a single electorate in the Constitution

    Yes.

  104. Demosthenes

    That is what the lower house is for, and it completely fulfils that notion.

    I was referring to your desire to strip people of the vote based on their employment.

  105. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    As I said above, if we moved enough Cats to Tassie we could find those many Tassie Senators very useful – we could control the National Senate, more completely than the Greens ever did. What an opportunity. The socialists have been tried and found wanting, so the field is wide open for new mainland missionaries with a better political tale to tell, especially if that tale includes high-end ‘clean and green’ lifestyle produce as a product with a good market in the crowded world. Much of the scrubby old Tassie secondary forest areas would make great farmland. Good axemen still in Tassie.

    So we need to work at the level of removing all vestiges of the Cargo Cult. Only thing to do. Dedicated Catallaxians talking to neighbours over the fence, at the supermarket, in the schools, and pointing out the Green mendacity; Cats running for the multitude of positions in State politics, on the local Councils and in other organisations. Give them a Gramsci. Cats picking up numbers from the disillusioned lefties with the shine of our bright new ideas. We could produce special Conversion Kits, with ‘How I was once a leftie till I saw the light’ true stories. Literary leftism in particular is soooo boring; for the many literary types there this would be opening whole new vistas of creativity and development. Like losing their long-preserved political Virginitie. ;)

    Maintain the Catallaxian rage and turn this island around.
    And no secretly going effing native on your peasant plot, you hear me.

  106. Driftforge

    That is what the lower house is for, and it completely fulfils that notion.

    I was referring to your desire to strip people of the vote based on their employment.

    And that was my response. Universal suffrage in one house, universally available suffrage in the other.

  107. Demosthenes

    Oh, I see. Your original article did make that distinction, but later you said:

    It’s not about blame. Its about the receipt of public monies creating an inherent conflict of interest. Is there an industry based around (insert public employment category of choice) receiving more public funding? They should not be talking to themselves when making a case for that increased reward. They should be making that case to those who have to pay for it.

    From which I gathered that you supported timocracy in both houses. My apologies for misunderstanding.

  108. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    hahaha should have thought of this earlier: we could develop a lesson-kit in ‘how to conquer your fears and vote Liberal (includes LDP) for the first time’. I can just see some practice voting sheets in the weeks before every election, with specially trained Cat therapists assisting people to make the cross in the Liberal box as their hand wavered at the enormity of the act. JC could run special aversion-therapy classes for those near-converts who even after gentle therapy still found themselves with a slight itch to vote Labor or Green. He’s good like that.

  109. old bloke

    The reason that all states have the same number of senators is to ensure that the more populous states don’t vote everything to themselves at the expense of the less populous states. The Senate certainly has problems though and these could be resolved by removing Territory Senators (NT & ACT, they aren’t states), and also ensuring that state-first advocates only stand for election.

    How do you do that? I don’t know, but at the moment the Senate is just an extension of the HoR where everyone votes along party lines rather than state requirement lines, thus defeating the intended purpose of the Senate.

  110. blogstrop

    Hare-Clarke. Sounds like a two headed nightmare, and that sums up the Taswegian parliament.

  111. blogstrop

    The Senate certainly has problems though …

    All the “safeguard” statements we hear are fairly regularly wiped off the agendum by the “reality bites” farce we actually endure with legislation by a correctly elected conservative government being stymied by the rabble.
    Back when Howard & Co allegedly raced through Work Choices while they had both houses it was a masterstroke of IR policy reform, not an excess. It took the combined forces (and a lot of money) of the union movement, Labor and (very importantly) the complicit media to turn that into a 2007 defeat for the forces of reason.

  112. old bloke

    The Greens always ignore “no junk mail” notices because they’re special, and above petty rules

    Deadman, the solution is to mail their brochure back to them WITHOUT a postage stamp. They will have to pay the postage when they receive it.

  113. blogstrop

    The Droop is to be expected, I suppose, when you have a committee system like that.

  114. bons

    There is no higher order of human development than ‘one vote one value’.
    There are no sustainable arguments that overpower this truth.
    The Federal Government is ‘Federal’. The reason we have permitted the Federal Government to vastly exceed its powers is because of the undemocratic Senate.
    Leave it undemocratic if you wish to continue the 19th Century culture of self interest from tin-pot states, but constrain it to being a house of review without the right to deny the legislation developed by the Democratic House.
    SatP – I marched in the anti-Joh rallies. Not because I am a leftie, but because I was a democrat and because agrarian socialist fascist Joh was incompetent, corrupt, a coward in WW2, destroyed QLD potential and ruined the paradises of my youth.
    Did you ever meet him – he made Bubba look like an astrophysicist – he was a dumb thug.

  115. Senile Old Guy

    The Senate certainly has problems though and these could be resolved by removing Territory Senators (NT & ACT, they aren’t states)

    Another thread where Territorians are “lesser Australians”. The NT is not a State by historical accident. By the way, I am from NSW originally.

    The inclusion of the NT senators is of no significance: we always return one CLP and one ALP.

  116. Senile Old Guy

    I will add that a major problem in recent Senates is the Greens, elected by States. The Greens are of little significance in NT politics (there may be a few in councils).

  117. dismissive

    Boambee John

    I’m not familiar with the detail of the Constitution, but is the requirement that the Senate be elected by each state as a single electorate in the Constitution, or is it legislative (as the voting system is)?

    7. The Senate
    The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.

    But until the Parliament of the Commonwealth otherwise provides, the Parliament of the State of Queensland, if that State be an Original State, may make laws dividing the State into divisions and determining the number of senators to be chosen for each division, and in the absence of such provision the State shall be one electorate.

    So as one electorate – YES except Queensland. But this can be change merely in Parliament, it is not constitutionally bound.

  118. dismissive

    Senile Old Guy

    I deeply and passionately disagree with you on this Senate issue for Territories. We have, for some unknown reason of Hawke’s, given direct Senate representation to two of our many territories but not to the others. This should not be as it is not appropriate to the Australian model for the constitution. If you want to be a state – be a state. That is an option the NT has. As I recall the NT voters turned this down in 1988. The NT and the ACT should also not be a part of COAG. If you want to be a state – be a state.

    The ACT should get NOTHING. Be immediately cut down to 100sq miles minimising human occupation and putting the rest in NSW.

    (I disagree with the election method for the states and the number of senators but I have no problem with the States having the same number as each other. That number should be 3 or 5 each but that is a different matter fitting in with my personal too many damn politicians model.)

  119. Boambee John

    dismissive:

    Excellent (rubs hands together).

    Thank you.

  120. Boambee John

    “The ACT should get NOTHING. Be immediately cut down to 100sq miles minimising human occupation and putting the rest in NSW.”

    The Lodge and the Parliamentary Triangle, across King’s Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue Bridges, close in along Parkes Way (perhaps including the new ASIO building), up Anzac parade on the outside of the memorials, and including the Australian War Memorial.

    Only one residence (the lodge, whose place of residence for electoral purposes remains in his/her home electorate).

    Probable a lot less than 100 sqmls.

  121. dismissive

    Constitution says minimum 100 sq miles – sad but there it is.

  122. There is no higher order of human development than ‘one vote one value’.

    We have never sunk so low so as to abdicate all evidence and reason and accept the judgement of each person as of equal value.

    General notes: Lets assume for a second that the Senate is reformed along the lines sketched above; the capital cities and their conurbations are stitched off into their own city states, with six senators each. (36 total)

    Going off the numbers from the last election, we need to increase the number of house of reps candidates to 200 to eliminate the disparity caused by Tasmania having a legislated five, constitutionally requiring 100 Senators. (64 remaining). Allowing 4 for the two territories (lets not make this awkward), that means either 10 senators each for the existing states or the introduction of 4 additional states at 6 senators each. Either situation would suit.

    The question I want to ask then is whether a senate that geopolitical would serve to rebalance the degraded federal / state relationship we currently face?

    Is it enough on its own or are other changes required?

  123. .

    There is no higher order of human development than ‘one vote one value’.

    In a demarchy. Not in a representative democracy.

  124. Senile Old Guy

    As I recall the NT voters turned this down in 1988.

    We were having a very flawed process pushed on us.

  125. In a demarchy. Not in a representative democracy.

    Under no conditions is ‘one vote one value’ likely to lead to an optimal outcome.

    The best that can be said about it is that in the short term only, it prevents a worst case outcome.

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