Australia’s Kobayashi Maru Moment

The Kobayashi Maru was test used in the Star Trek universe where officer candidates at the Starfleet Academy were subjected to a no-win simulation designed to test character.

In the most recent Star Trek movie, James Tiberius Kirk (then candidate, later captain) failed his first two attempts at the Kobayashi Maru simulation, but for his third attempt, re-framed the challenge by reprogramming the simulation to allow him to win the otherwise no-win challenge.

Within the next 12-18 months, Australians will face their own Kobayashi Maru moment. And as for Starfleet Academy officer candidates, Australians will be faced with a no-win situation; to vote for a formal coalition of the Liberal and National Parties or to vote for an informal coalition of the Labor and Greens Parties. Whichever of these two coalitions win, Australians will almost certainly lose.

  • Both coalitions will bring bi-partisanship to fiscal profligacy, they will just disagree on the margin where to pork barrel.
  • Both coalitions will bring bi-partisanship to to energy policy, they will just disagree on the margin about whether Australia should have the most expensive electricity in the world or just the second most expensive.
  • Both coalitions will bring bi-partisanship to the perpetual expansion of government, they will just disagree on whether to have a French size state or a Venezuelan size state.

The bipartisanship on policy but disagreement on degree of implementation will also cover education funding, health funding, industrial relations, foreign policy, parliamentary remuneration and benefits, increasing regulation, increasing taxes and general deindustrialization.

It is entirely unclear where the Liberal-National and Labor-Green coalitions will disagree on principle or policy at all.

Australians seem to recognize their coming Kobayashi Maru no-win choice as evidenced by the approval ratings of the parliamentary leaders.  But given Australia’s preferential voting system that protects the “majors”, one of these groups is certain to win a majority of seats in the parliament and thus form government.

Will Australians re-frame the situation and “reprogram the simulation” so as to extract a win from an otherwise certain loss?  Perhaps, but it will be a major challenge.

The Australian version of the Kobayashi Maru is very well programmed.  In addition to and enabled by the preferential voting system, if the “majors” feel threatened, they will swap preferences to make sure that no other group can get the numbers to form government.

Will Australian’s be able to re-frame the game.  Let’s hope so.

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20 Responses to Australia’s Kobayashi Maru Moment

  1. Boambee John

    , if the “majors” feel threatened, they will swap preferences to make sure that no other group can get the numbers to form government.

    HTV cards are advisory, not compulsory.

    The puzzle is how to game the system in return, to screw the majors. Other than “put any incumbent last”, which will still ultimately flow votes back to the majors, the only viable option I can see is to focus on the Senate. Even there, the majors can still combine to beat any likely hostile (ie excluding the Slime) balance of power grouping.

  2. miltonf

    Yes I think the only chance we have of ending attacks on the Australian people by the political class is through the Senate. As someone remarked in another post last year, Trumble and Shorten would be in regular contact and pretty much see eye to eye on things. The occasional Punch and Judy show is just to try and make the electorate think they have a choice.

  3. Will Australian’s be able to re-frame the game. Let’s hope so.

    Good luck with that.

  4. Baldrick

    All the more reason to vote Australian Conservatives or DLP, particularly in the Senate, the only two parties proposing smaller government.

  5. manalive

    On energy policy Turnbull is either very stupid or his arrogance and vanity prohibits him from conceding any ground to Abbott, either way he is unfit to be prime minister.
    Whatever his shortcomings Shorten’s not stupid, the Greens coalition is merely one of convenience, unless the Libs ditch Turnbull soon a Shorten government is odds-on and the more comfortable the majority the better.
    Like that previous Malcolm, Turnbull will be history, the Libs can rebuild and a sort of ‘80s-style Labor – LNP cooperation could possibly emerge on energy policy to stop the Green rot — that’s the imperative IMO.
    On the other hand if Shorten pursues the ALP’s idiotic ’aspiration’ emission policy to its inevitable bitter end, at least he and the ALP will own it.

  6. Fat Tony

    manalive
    #2615577, posted on January 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    On the other hand if Shorten pursues the ALP’s idiotic ’aspiration’ emission policy to its inevitable bitter end, at least he and the ALP will own it.

    No, they won’t own it – they will fuck off with their 30 pieces of silver and leave it for us – the Australian taxpayers will own it.

  7. Tel

    But given Australia’s preferential voting system that protects the “majors”, one of these groups is certain to win a majority of seats in the parliament and thus form government.

    Why are there people who believe this?

    What is so challenging about the idea that preferences prevent the splitting of voting blocs while “first past the post” makes it much more difficult for any small party?

    http://www.democracy-building.info/voting-systems.html

    They explain the pros and cons of the systems, and Sparticus (and MV) have it Bass Ackwards.

  8. FT – dead right, and then they will pontificate and tell us how lucky we were they were that we had statesmen like them!

  9. Tel

    HTV cards are advisory, not compulsory.

    God it is so difficult to explain that to people!!!

    Let’s abandon all efforts at economic theories or complex wrangling and spend 1 year just trying to get that basic concept across until most people understand it. If we can prove ourselves capable of one simple thing then afterwards go on to bigger and greater feats of strength.

  10. Nathan

    Only solution is to leave the sinking ship.

  11. HTV cards are advisory, not compulsory.

    and

    and spend 1 year just trying to get that basic concept across until most people understand it.

    and

    Sparticus (and MV) have it Bass Ackwards.

    Fair enough, Tel. So enlighten us.
    How do Australians number their HoR ballot slip to avoid the inevitable Lib/Lab result?

  12. André M

    This is IAS’s special-ed moment.

    But given Australia’s preferential voting system that protects the “majors”

    Preferential voting, as the name implies, allows voters to express their preferences in a priority order. This is superior to simple Plurality (“First-Past-The-Post”) voting because it mimics real life where we usually don’t get what we really want and have to choose a fallback option that still gives us most of the benefits we value most highly and which is also supported by others.

    If the voters do not vote in a manner that gives them the greatest long term benefits, this is likely because the education system run by the Leftists for the last 30 years has succeeded in its goals. It is not the fault of the preferential voting method.

    If your ideal party can’t get more of the rank 1 preferences than the Liberals you are not going to win a simple plurality (FPTP) vote either, so there is not much point complaining about the voting system when your preferred upstart minority party has less than 15% of the vote like LD/PHON/FFP do. You also cannot have your preferred party set policy (i.e. form government) if they don’t even field candidates in at least 76 of the 150 parliamentary seats up for election. The minor parties never do that. In the last federal election FFP had 65 candidates, LD had about 36, PHON 16, and ALA had 10.

    When you have gotten all the minimum criteria for winning a FPTP election fulfilled and you still aren’t winning under Preferential IRV, then you might have credibility complaining about the voting system, but not before.

    Cats have been telling us that culture is upstream from politics for the last 3 years, but when no other ideal party exists that can threaten the LibLab symbiosis, suddenly it’s not the fault of the people. What a pantload. Nobody has been bothered enough by Australia’s situation to seriously set up a party to challenge the majors, and that’s not the fault of the voting system, it’s down to the lack of willpower in the people.

  13. BorisG

    Australians seem to recognize their coming Kobayashi Maru no-win choice as evidenced by the approval ratings of the parliamentary leaders. But given Australia’s preferential voting system that protects the “majors”, one of these groups is certain to win a majority of seats in the parliament and thus form government.

    If Spartacus is right and the majority of Australians disagree with the policies of both coalitions, then there is no reason why they can’t all vote for Australian Conservatives, ALA, PHON, LDP etc.

    of course big parties have both experience structures and resources but an aspiring alternative party can attract big business (such as Gina Reinhart) etc.

    But the painful truth is most people are content with current set of policies (if not the politicians themselves), and people with money know this and won’t give them a cent. This has little to do with the electoral system and more with people’s views.

  14. Crossie

    On energy policy Turnbull is either very stupid or his arrogance and vanity prohibits him from conceding any ground to Abbott,

    Yes.

  15. H B Bear

    Preferential voting isn’t the problem. Compulsory full preferential voting is the problem.

  16. H B Bear

    On energy policy Turnbull is either very stupid or his arrogance and vanity prohibits him from conceding any ground to Abbott,

    Yes.

    Or both.

  17. Tezza

    You make a weak claim with “Both coalitions will bring bi-partisanship to to energy policy, they will just disagree on the margin about whether Australia should have the most expensive electricity in the world or just the second most expensive.”
    In reality, the differences between them are so minor that either would guarantee us the most expensive electricity in the world.

  18. rich

    The compulsory vote is a problem because so many don’t care about politics, they treat voting as barracking for a football team.

    Not only that, democracy suffers from numerous procedural flaws in how outcomes are implemented, namely Arrow’s Impossibility Theorum, Median Voter Theorum and Condorcet’s Fallacy

  19. David Archibald

    The plural of one Australian is Australians. You mean well but you might have to be sent to a re-education camp where you will be made to learn copperplate as well.

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