Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] ALP

[name removed] damienwieland at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 10 05:47:50 MDT 2004

Well the reason Labor allowed the same sex marriage issue through was that 
there was no real change
to the law as it previously stood (same sex couples could not marry anyway). 
Labor felt that Howard was not going to get another Tampa, (ie. taking a 
stand that changed nothing other than get headlines and could in the end 
work out as negative for Labor even thought Howard's stand was pointless). 
As you all know with the Tampa. Howard claimed he was being tough and 
stopping "cue jumpers" though
all he did do was give those so called 'illegal immigrants" full legal 
rights because he broke international law by stopping that boat from coming 
here. So in effect he gave them a much better chance of becoming Australian 
citizens, though also at the cost of millions of extra dollars with the 
'Pacific Solution'. That money spent and xenophobic stand paid off well for 
Howard because his media mates ran with the Howard fear campaign that "we 
don't know who these people are they might be Terrorists!!!"
That won him the last election, why should Labor walk straight into another 
situation like that? It's all
well and good to be Mr. 100% and idealistic on all that you are passionate 
about though nobody can
keep ideals that strong nobody! (take a good look at yourself I'm sure you 
have ate Macca's or brought
petrol from Shell or run a Microsoft operating system on your computer and 
if like me you do avoid
some of these nasties you probably brought something from a small company 
that's owned by one of these corporates. you just can't be sure if you have 
or not, and if you have 2% doubt your no longer
Mr. 100% are you? what happened to your once perfect ideals? geez your a 

Labor has a long list of progressive Gay policy ie. 1984 Labor adds sexual 
orientation anti-discrimination protection to Public Service Act. 1985 Labor 
recognises same-sex couples for immigration purposes. 1989 Labor Government, 
declaring anti-gay discrimination in the workplace to
be a breach of human rights and contrary to national policy, gives the Human 
Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission the power to deal with workplace 
anti-gay discrimination complaints by conciliation.1992 Labor introduces the 
Disability Discrimination Act, which outlaws discrimination against people 
with HIV/AIDS, and against their lovers, carers and friends. 1992 Labor ends 
anti-gay discrimination in the Australian Defence Forces. 1993 Labor 
Government creates history by raising gay rights as a human rights issue at 
the World Human Rights Conference in Vienna and supports official
UN status for the International Lesbian and Gay Association. 1993 Labor 
attempted to treat same sex
couples on terms of equality with married couples in the Child Care Rebate 
Bill though was blocked
from Liberal and National Party Opposition and also independent Senator 
Harradine (still makes you
proud to be Australian because of Independents like that hey?).  2003 Labor 
National Conference
adopts amended National Policy to specifically address discrimination on the 
basis of sexuality or
gender identity. This will commit Labor to audit and amend a range of 
Commonwealth Government
provisions in acts that cover superannuation, partner benefits in the 
defence forces etc...

If there has been progressive policy in Australia for the last 30 years it's 
Labor that has done it here's
a little list under  Gough's great leadership..
* Took responsibility for tertiary education over from the states and 
abolished tertiary fees, opening up the prospect of further education to all 
* Established the Schools Commission to distribute Federal funds to assist 
non-government schools on a needs basis.
* Introduced a supporting benefit for single-parent families.
* Abolished the death penalty for Federal crimes.
* Reduced the voting age to 18 years.
* Abolished the last vestiges of the White Australia Policy.
* Acted to improve media services for immigrants and minority cultures 
generally by establishing what would later become SBS.
* Introduced language programs for non-English speaking Australians
* Mandated equal opportunities for women in Federal Government employment
* Appointed women to judicial and administrative positions. (if Latham wins 
Government, My local
Labor member Nicola Roxon will become Australia's first female 
* Set up the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee.
* Amalgamated the five separate defence departments.
* Instituted direct Federal grants to local governments.

The Senate resolutely opposed three key bills and twice rejected them. These 
were designed to:

* Institute a universal, free health insurance system to be known as 
* Provide citizens of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern 
Territory with Senate representation for the first time.
* Regulate the size of House of Representative electorates to ensure one 
vote one value.

I'm not such a big fan of Hawke, though under Hawke, Paul Keating made a 
huge bundle of  gutsy
economic reforms in his role as Treasurer including floating the Australian 
dollar, substantial cuts in tariffs, and reforms of taxation. These are the 
ONLY reason Australia's economy is in good shape even today and I know this 
is not left policy though it was important policy with real vision for our 
future. Now
Keating's biggest critics ie. Liberal Government (can you believe they are 
called the Liberal Party?)
claim he failed big time with huge interest rates (which is true he did). 
Though if truth be told John Howard's record is much worse on the issue of 
interest rates. In recent years the Howard Government
issued first home owners grants to people buying property for the first time 
these were up to $14,000
for brand new homes, though this money gets all taken back by the Government 
and then some in
Government Taxes for buying property. As a result of these grants everyone 
has gone out and brought
property and therefore the Aus housing market has gone way up and property 
is way out of most peoples reach. Now because of these huge house prices as 
a direct result of the spending spree,
personal debt is at record highs and even though the interest rate is much 
lower under Howard the
mortgage payments are much higher. International economic forecasters see 
the Australian housing
market as being 10 years ahead of itself (meaning current property values 
will not be their real values
for at least 10 years that's without there being a market bust that would 
take that gap much further, which is now very likely!). So because we all 
paid way too much for our houses in recent years because of demand the 
interest rate payments are really much higher ie. under Paul Keating's 17 
1/2% rate the average person paid 5% of their weekly income paying the 
interest of their mortgage (not the principal, just the interest) Now under 
Howard's 6 1/4% interest rate the average person pays 7% of their weekly 
wage on the interest of their mortgage! That's 2% higher than Keating's 
worst rate in real payments! so who's is responsible for Australia's highest 
interest rate?

As PM Keating was far more left. His agenda included items such as making 
Australia a republic, achieving reconciliation with Australia's indigenous 
population, and further economic and cultural engagement with Asia. (I 
remember realising how pragmatic the Oils might be a few years ago while
having dinner with Rob and saying what a Keating fan I was and Rob saying "I 
too am a Keating fan
and I believe he was the right leader for the wrong country, in Europe he 
would have been regarded as a truly an amazing leader in history" I remember 
being a little surprised and quite impressed at the same time.

On the issue of the FTA with the US the two areas Labor opposed were the big 
ones for me and I do
believe it was a masterstroke of Mr. Latham. The first being Australian 
media content. the FTA outlined
that Australian content quotas only had to be 6% (Mark Latham also claims he 
will prevent current
media empires from maintaining their domination ie. Rupert Murdoch owning 
85% of Australia's print
media) This now is out of the FTA (one down).
The other was a real big one and this is to do with Corporate Patents which 
allowed US corporates
to choose the prices we pay for products and not allowing an alternative 
cheaper choice (this kind of thing happened in Canada when the US Postal 
Service tried to shake down the Canadian Postal Service  and sue them for 
interfering with their profits by having their own postal service). Also 
means that Australia would have to adopt without any question all future 
laws that pass in the US
regarding copyright law, which would include things like if you have the 
knowledge to breech copyright
you can be charged and jailed (ie. it's like having a brick in your hand and 
being charged for stealing
the car across the road because you have a brick in your hand and therefore 
you could go and smash
the window, get in and steal the car. You might not do it though you could 
if you wanted so that's good enough as guilty).
Now that's pretty scary to me and I'm glad Mark Latham put a stop to those 
two nasty features of the FTA.

You can say I'm too much of a pragmatist though the only way I see it is 
there will always be a two party
system in our life time and out of those two, progressive policy will be 
made by Labor.

just my 2cents,


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