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Packer employs Bitar

Because of the appalling climate change policies of the Coalition I will probably vote Labor in the next Federal election.  Unfortunately I might be backing a losing team but I won’t vote for the Liberals while people of Tony Abbott’s ilk are leading the party.  It’s a difficult choice for me because I have long supported the Liberal Party and I regard the Labor Party at the Federal level as a poor first choice.  If Malcolm Turnbull led the Liberals my allegiances would switch in a flash back to the Liberals – so too, astonishingly, would those of social democrats like John Quiggin.

I think the Labor Party has in many ways become a corrupted version of the Liberal Party where aspirational party hacks without a trace of idealism or conviction see party politics as a way of maximising the economic value of their limited skill sets.  Traditional claimed allegiances with the working class provide and hack-party-cum-trade union links provide a mechanism for those who would otherwise probably go nowhere in life to achieve some economic status and most notably power.  The economic status is not that wonderful unless you can use your political connections to wrangle favours for the ultra wealthy private sector.

As I have discussed often in the past Labor has long-term links with the gambling industry in Australia (here, here, here, here). Australia is perhaps the most lucrative gambling market in the world per capita as an astonishing graph by Nick Gruen points out – we gamble on average annually about $1300 per adult. Given that many do not gamble at all this makes it almost self-evident that the costs of extreme ‘problem’ gambling are enormous.  The main culprit responsible for Australian gambling problems are the pokies – they are a form of repetitive small stake gambling that offers titillating short term excitement and an undue compulsion for many to continue gambling until they are cleaned out. This makes the (Labor Party-supported) moves by Andrew Wilkie to force gamblers to set prior limits on how much they will lose on the pokies a sensible reform.

These moves are estimated by Merrill Lynch to potentially cost the Crown Casino group between $36-$145 million in their first year of operation.  Crown have responded by hiring Labor’s ex National Secretary, Karl Bitar, to ‘manage’ its relations with the Labor Government.  He has a pretty good reputation for lobbying – he knows all the inside information on which buttons to produce within Labor in order to gain the few votes necessary to overturn or moderate the Wilkie reforms – and is incredibly powerful – he was instrumental in toppling Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister.

Yes I’ll vote Labor because of the Liberal Party’s lack of morality over the climate change issue.  But I despise many aspects of the modern Labor Party and its sleazy aspirational leadership.

8 comments to Packer employs Bitar

  • […] tend to agree with Harry Clarke about the respective current merits of Labor and the Coalition, although I’m not quite as […]

  • derrida derider

    Wow – “aspirational” used as a term of abuse rather than praise. Not very Howard-like of you, Harry.

    As I’ve said here before I’m voting Green not because I agree with most of their specific policies, and still less with the ideological preoccupations of some of them (Lee Rhiannon I’m looking at you), but because they’re the only ones in the Parliament who seem willing to rise above their own grubby personal interest and refuse to be the playthings of powerful vested interests. Both major parties really do have some deeply unattractive people in them at present, though I suppose ’twas ever thus.

    Plus of course the Greens are dead right on climate change, and that is important enough to make up for lots of silliness elsewhere.

    Packer will do his dough with Bitar. Bitar left precisely because he was discredited, and the pitiful remnants of past influence (never as much as you claim, BTW) won’t be anywhere near enough to overcome Gillard’s thirst for office. When Wilkie says it’s non-negotiable then it is, and the government will not commit suicide just to keep Carl happy.

  • hc

    Derrida, I voted for the Greens last time around but probably will not again – I want the carbon tax proposal to go through and become an accepted part of the Australian economic scene. Its of overwhelming importance. There needs to be a sea change in views in the Liberal Party if they are to become a sensible political alternative. Maybe my views are shifting too. I have in the past supported Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin as serious political figures. They increasingly seem ridiculous value-free opportunists to me.

  • observa

    Regards Labor and the Coalition stances on AGW, JoNova an avowed skeptic disses the Greg Hunt dribble here-
    My agnostic position is outlined in comment 19, but the comments are worth reading for the stances of the pro and anti AGW belief systems.

    As far as I’m concerned my agnosticism on AGW stems from the null hypothesis stated eruditely by Bob Carter (quoted by one commenter)as not being staisfactorily disproven to date. A difficult disprove proposition with only around 150 yrs of thermometer records to be sure, but the corrupt attempts to hide the decline in the proxy alternatives make me share Prof Richard Butler’s view of the climatologists purportedly at the commanding heights of ‘their’ discipline.

    However I have no such agnosticism regards the lunar policy prescriptions of a bunch of watermelons to date. They have squandered any political capital they had regarding true concern for the environment and deserve to be hounded from office for that. Nevertheless I can respect the odd true believer like Barry Brook who defy the nonsense of the reshiftable energy nutters and advocate nukes as the only obvious alternative to coal fired power at present. That said I’m a believer in a total shift to CO2E taxing and resource taxing in general, provided it’s not simply an excuse to build the evil empire. Consequently I couldn’t possibly vote Labor or Green, but have to put up with the Greg Hunt dribble while the Coalition come to terms with a wholistic market based approach to the obvious environmental concerns out there. As an agnostic on AGW I simply see all its nonsense to date, as a sad distraction from the main game.

  • observa

    And speaking of the evil empire, the usual rent-seekers are beginning to queue up to get their snouts in Labor’s Great Big Carbon Tax trough-
    to the cheers from their respective board rooms no doubt. Say goodbye to Gillard’s compensation billions working families and battlers but don’t worry, be happy, them Big Polluters are gunna pay!

  • […] see party politics as a way of maximising the economic value of their limited skill sets" writes Harry Clarke. At Troppo Ken Parish is also disillusioned: "If only there was a genuine ‘third […]

  • Karl Kessel

    How would you replace the revenue the states would lose on the pokies?

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