The Australian Electoral Commission data from the declaration of donations to the major parties in 2013-14 was made public in early February. They show that a total of more than $278 million in speculative political capital was invested in the ALP, Liberals, Nationals, Palmer United Party (PUP) and the Greens.
There has been plenty of analysis and navel gazing from the mainstream media in the wash-up from the Queensland elections. While some looked at the personalities, others looked for someone or something to blame. One commentator, Tom Elliott writing in the Herald Sun, laid the blame for the state of the political system on voters and suggested what he called "a benign dictatorship".
As the excitement subsides on the Queensland election results, we need to take stock of what this means for the left in Australia. While the deep north of our country is a world away from Greece, there is a political trend here. But first let’s stay in Queensland. It was just three years ago that the then Bligh Labor government was thrown out suffering a 15.6% swing, one of the largest against a sitting state government in Australian political history. The Newman government lost with an 8.8% swing against it.
Leading trade unionists, Irish republican party Sinn Fein and a range of other left voices have backed a call for a new anti-austerity force in Irish politics capable of winning government. In the wake of SYRIZA’s historic win in the Greek elections on January 25, Sinn Fein national chairperson, Declan Kearney, called for formal discussions to begin on building an Irish left coalition to cohere an anti-austerity government in the South.
The statement below was published on Transform-network.org on February 3. It has been signed by seven out of nine presidents of Germany's trade unions, all members of the executive boards of DGB and IG Metall, and mainly Social Democratic Party politicians in Germany's parliament and the European Parliament, including two vice-chairs of SPD, as well as numerous academics. * * *
As Scots gathered together at Christmas and Hogmanay last year, conversations inevitably turned to politics. Most were agreed that the year ahead would be an interesting one. The impact of the independence referendum on September 18 last year, won by the “No” vote, is still being felt throughout Scottish society. Its impact is reverberating across the British state as well.
Clivosaurus: The Politics Of Clive Palmer Guy Rundle Quarterly Essay November 2014 Black Inc., $19.99 Elected in 2013 by the curious, the disaffected and the dark arts of preference deals, billionaire Queensland coal baron Clive Palmer and his Senate threesome, were, at first, writes Guy Rundle in Clivosaurus, ignored or played for laughs by the establishment media.
"The people of NSW should rise up and reject the Baird government's plan to sell off the state's power industry, just as Queensland voters did last weekend," Susan Price, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Summer Hill in the March 28 NSW elections, said on February 5. "The massive rejection of Premier Campbell Newman and his Liberal-National Party (LNP) government in the Queensland state election on January 31 has been sheeted home by most commentators to the LNP's disastrous plan to privatise the state's publicly owned electricity industry.
Disunited Kingdom: How Westminster Won a Referendum But Lost Scotland By Iain MacWhirter Cargo Publishing, 2014, 174 pages The independence referendum on September 18 last year has been hailed by many as the most important event in the recent Scottish history. The result was far closer than any supporter of independence would have dared predict even a few months before the vote. About 1.6 million voters (45%) refused to be swayed by a sustained fear campaign by the British state and its allies ― voting “Yes” to Scottish independence.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Madrid on January 31 in a huge “March for Change” to support Spain's new anti-austerity party Podemos. The party has grown in support after the left-wing, anti-austerity SYRIZA party in Greece won last week's elections. This has brought hope that change could be in the air for other European countries whose debt is being used to justify austerity. On the demonstration, people chanted “yes we can” and “tic tac tic tac” ― suggesting the clock was ticking and time was running out for the political elite.
The Labor Party has enjoyed a remarkable recovery in the recent Queensland elections. Three years ago, after Labor privatised publicly owned railways, ports and forests, the party was reduced to a 27% primary vote and seven state seats. At the January 31 election, its primary vote rose to 38% and, with a stronger flow of Greens preferences, it won at least 43 seats with a possible total of 45 — the final result will be determined by further counting. Forty five seats would give the party an absolute majority in state parliament.
The dramatic dumping of Campbell Newman’s Liberal National Party government in Queensland and the leadership spill against Abbott have starkly revealed the ongoing popular opposition to the Coalition's program of cutbacks and privatisation. It has thrown the federal Liberals into a crisis. This is a tremendous boost for progressive people in Australia and the anti-Abbott campaign in particular.