So, to summarise… Abbott govt in. But not the Labor bloodbath some expected, which is good — whoever’s in power, a good Opposition is needed to keep them in check.
Somewhat to my surprise, the only Greens lower-house member Adam Bandt is back in, as are some other independents, but the Coalition will have a lower house majority.
Senate still up in the air, but Coalition won’t control it. While I don’t subscribe to the view that the electorate collectively and strategically decides together what we’re all going to do, and votes accordingly, I do suspect a large number of people wanted Labor out but weren’t too keen on the Coalition’s policies.
In Victoria, the Greens senate candidate Janet Rice got in (having known her for years, I can tell you she’s a Good Egg), and it appears the Motoring Enthusiasts party may get a spot as well. It’ll be a few days until we know for sure.
I guess once the Feds throw their $1.5b at East-West, the State will push ahead and build it. Indeed, Premier Napthine is already claiming that somehow the vote is a mandate to build it (even though in Victoria, fewer seats went to the Coalition than to Labor).
And of course the rail tunnel (and other urban rail) is unlikely to progress anytime soon with the $75 million for planning work being withdrawn.
Anyhow, here are some pics from the last few days.
This sort of thing is not quite as bad as their data gathering exercise with postal ballots, but still deceptive.
Seems the State Coalition are up to similar tricks, with The Age reporting today that they’re sending out letters in support of the East West road link, paid for by the Liberal Party but without any party markings.
Are the other parties doing it to? I’ve heard Federal Labor had been sending out the postal ballot letters, but haven’t seen any myself.
Abbott’s outright refusal to fund urban public transport (while throwing billions into motorways) hasn’t won him any friends here. Make sure your vote counts.
If you missed it in the Sunday debate, or yesterday on social media, here’s the 30 second summary of Tony Abbott’s transport policy.
The government argues that cross-city traffic is so critical that the they want to (without a mandate) spend $8 billion building just the first phase of the East-West tunnel.
If that’s the case, then why does the newly remodelled (2008-2010) M1 corridor only provide two lanes in each direction for those cross-city trips?
These pictures are all from Google Streetview, and actually show the freeway towards the end of the modifications… I’ve checked, and this is how it is today.
Road designers aren’t idiots. When they do massive remodelling like this to re-organise the lanes, they look at traffic flows. The Westgate bridge is now 5 lanes in each direction, and the Citylink tunnels are 3 each, but there are only 2 through lanes each way.
That leaves the conclusion that the traffic going from the east to the west and vice-versa is only a small proportion of the total traffic, particularly compared to numbers going over the Westgate.
Update Tuesday: I’ve had some feedback on this post (not via comments) to the effect that some thing this is twisting the truth, because various lanes leave and join the motorway along its length, so the total number of lanes at any one point is always more than 2. That’s true, but my point is that (particularly in congested conditions), the capacity of the M1 for east to west cross-city traffic is heavily influenced by the number of lanes that go all the way through… and this is only two lanes each way.
One person also pointed out an additional lane is available westbound via the Todd Road exit and the service station… but I would think it’s unlikely many drivers going from the east to the west would use this — plus I think it involves a merge with traffic from Kingsway and another from the Bolte Bridge southbound.
One thing I really really hate about spammers is how they often insist on the bottom of their email that you’re receiving their crap because you subscribed to it.
They know it’s not true. I know it’s not true.
Along the same lines are these types of letters, one of which I received yesterday. The envelope makes it look official, non-party:
Inside it’s clear that the letter is party-political. Stop the boats. Build more roads (they don’t mention that they specifically refuse to fund public transport). Free you from the carbon tax (you know, the one almost individual was fully compensated for, and is having the desired effect of cutting carbon emissions).
And there’s a “Postal Vote application form”.
…As Crikey noted in an article yesterday, it may look like a Postal Vote Application Form, but actually it’s a data-gathering exercise for the party involved.
Crikey adds that the information does get sent to the Australian Electoral Commission, but often there can be delays, and there have been cases in the past of forms being stockpiled, and some even get “corrected” along the way by the party.
The extra twist of the knife? Taxpayers/voters are actually paying for these letters.
The Liberals aren’t alone in doing this. Tens of thousands of people use these forms, via various parties.
Don’t be fooled. If you want to apply for a Postal Vote, do it via the AEC.
If Tony Abbott’s Coalition won’t build rail, why do they include a rail icon on their infrastructure policy?
At least, I’m assuming it’s an icon for rail — not giant white picket fences to keep out asylum seekers, or something like that.
(The above is from the summarised version. The slightly more detailed policy document is here).
True, they’ve specified they won’t build urban rail, but it seems pretty clear their plan is to build lots of roads, and no rail at all.
In fact, their plan proposes a frenzy of motorway construction right across the country. Truly a pave-the-planet scenario: Melbourne East-West Link, multiple projects in Sydney, Brisbane Gateway Motorway, Adelaide South Road, Tasmania Midland Highway, and a bunch in Perth.
One can only conclude that they really believe that — unlike every other major urban road project in history — this massive road expansion will somehow solve traffic problems.
Unfortunately this kind of popularist, car-oriented thinking misses is the point that transport is supply-driven. Traffic demand grows to fill the available capacity.
When it comes down to it, this means if you want more people to drive, building more roads is the way to do it. If you want more people to use public transport, provide more of that instead.
If elected, Mr Abbott will fund more roads, which will fill with more traffic — further undermining sustainable transport modes, not the least by starving them of billions of dollars of funding for years. Wonderful.
A few thoughts on Federal politics from the last few days.
I think Gillard did some great stuff. Carbon tax (some don’t like it, but it works), National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Royal Commission into child abuse, and (along with her predecessors on both sides) keeping the economy afloat in dire economic times — and all while dealing with the challenges of a minority government, making it difficult to get anything done at all.
Rudd is apparently a control-freak and difficult to work with, but has a small chance of winning. Small is greater than zero. And even if Labor can’t win, it’s better to have an Opposition that works than an Opposition that’s been almost totally destroyed.
Why is this important? Because the Coalition under Abbott is regressive on key points. For me, the two biggest are that they won’t fund urban public transport, only roads; and they will abolish the carbon tax even though it works.
And of course there’s Abbott’s half-baked (but most of the cost) version of the National Broadband Network — completely lacking in the vision to see the types of emerging IT-based industries that could help drive the next economic boom, as well as bring benefits right across the country, especially in regional areas, such as much better (remote) access to medical services and advice.
(I fully suspect that if Malcolm Turnbull hadn’t lost the Liberal leadership vote by a single vote, the Coalition would have a much more enlightened view on these three issues.)
One more thing: Abbott and others are criticising Rudd because he wasn’t elected by voters to be leaders. Abbott didn’t have such criticisms when Napthine took over from Baillieu in Victoria. Reality is, us voters don’t directly elect leaders. Both Rudd and Napthine are legitimately leaders.
Update 29/6: Added picture of ad for “Despicable Me” that I saw on the side of a bus earlier in the week.