Archive for November, 2011

Government masterclass

November 25, 2011 10 comments

With the resignation from Speaker of the House and the consequential goings-on, the Government have given the Opposition a masterclass on how to do Parliament.

In one stroke the Government have stretched their voting buffer from 1 vote to 3 votes, including the crossbenches, and couldn’t you hear the whining from the LNP.

Mind you they only had themselves to blame for it.  With their pre-selection kerfuffle against Peter Slipper, they effectively pushed him into the position as his only way out.  And like they wouldn’t do the same thing if the positions were reversed.

By far the funniest thing to come out of the coverage so far is both the disappointment of the commentariat and the despair of Abbott.

The talking heads on the media are devastated because they no longer have that knife-edge in Parliament where one stuff up could switch things around…providing them with endless no-brainer leads about the “seriousness” and “tension” in every single thing that ever happens.  Excluding of course the fact that all legislation is being passed and that Abbott repeatedly abuses the workings of Parliament with his ridiculously frivolous censure motions…on a daily basis.

Then of course there is the stuntman himself.  It wasn’t surprising at all that the first thing out of his mouth was the bleating of “the death of democracy”, when in actual fact it was a perfect example of Parliamentary democracy at work.  Wouldn’t you normally expect the deputy to take over from the speaker in any other situation?

Of course with the 3 vote buffer he can no longer afford to wait for a stuff up for power to change hands…he will actually have to do some work and hold out for another 2 years.  You can tell he’s not in it for the hard work.

The biggest concern I have with this is that I hope the Government still pursue the  reform agenda and don’t back away from the pokie pre-commitment changes because they no longer need Wilkie’s vote absolutely…it’s a change that needs to be made and most people will agree with it once the Clubs Australia noise machine dies down.


Challenging viewpoints

November 4, 2011 95 comments

As has been highlighted on the Blogwars thread, one of the more challenging aspects of debating on the internet can be the perspectives of the other people.  Their long held personal convictions can be a large impediment to any discussion simply because your thoughts don’t gel with their worldview, no matter how correct you may be.

I personally have come across this on many occasions and I’m sure everyone else has at some point.

So I wanted to try something different.  Instead of just blatting my thesis out there in toto giving ample leeway for cognitive dissonance to creep in, I want to try a more reductionist approach.

By breaking down your message into simple, verifiable points with a yes/no response I think you have a better change of breaking through.  How about this for a sample:

  1. During the last election campaign, did Julia Gillard commit to pursuing a price on carbon via an emissions trading scheme if she won Government?
  2. Did Julia Gillard win Government in her own right at the last election?
  3. Was Julia Gillard required to negotiate with Independents and the Greens to form Government?
  4. Does the process of negotiation require giving concessions to achieve your preferred outcome?
  5. Did Julia Gillard provide concessions to the Greens and Independents during this negotiation process?
  6. Has Julia Gillard undertaken to implement an emissions trading scheme, albeit with a fixed price period initially?

Do you think these statements are accurate enough to disallow any semantic wiggle room?  Can anyone disagree with any of the statements and keep a straight face while doing so?

Does anyone have any other examples?


UPDATE:  Extra points from Recalcitrant Rick in comments:

7.  Did Tony Abbott have an opportunity to form Government by negotiating with the Independents?

8.  Did those negotiations fail?

9.  Does this mean that in fact the current Labor Government is legitimate?


November 3, 2011 55 comments

There’s been a bit of kerfuffle about recently in some of the blogs I follow and it appears to have come to a head in the past day or two (for those who don’t already know, it was Gutter Trash and Cafe Whispers).

It has had something for all the family:  trolling, misrepresentation, out-of-context quoting, hurt feelings, moderation, retirement and the big banhammer.  But why did it need to come to that?

To mind blogs are a form of discussion group, a nerdy virtual example of the book club.  As with discussion groups each one has its own personality, so using the blogs mentioned above the Cafe would be closer to the book club variety, whereas GT is closer to blokes hanging around a barbie, or drunk footy players in a locker room.

Now these personalities work for each other…GT revels in the cut and thrust (or actually more likely the bludgeon and smash) of the rough and tumble, whereas the Cafe has a more communal atmosphere.  It also leads to differing outcomes for the various discussions…the Cafe environment allows for people to discuss their points in a more reasoned manner, whereas GT threads often degenerate into talking point regurgitation, wilful ignorance and refusal to accept the underlying logic behind your opponents arguments.

The problem seems to arise when there is some cross-pollination.  From my experience in both blogs, Cafe dwellers can quite easily lob into the Gutter and post away merrily in their own style…as long as they have a thick skin, have a high stupidity tolerance,  and are willing to return fire.  But the converse doesn’t really work quite so well.  When GT posters jump on to the Cafe and try to use their own inimitable style they find they can’t quite get away with their usual antics.  The thread derails, talking points and preciousness don’t really wash and they get called out.  Which is where we are right now.


The point is that you need to be mindful of the tone of the place you are posting at.  Attempting the ingrained habits from a more rough and tumble locale will get you rapidly flagged as a troll and treated accordingly.  Conversely, jumping on a blog with more…flexible standards and expecting them to behave to higher standards will rapidly out you as a precious little flower.

Just go with the flow…if you’re one of those types who simply must provoke and incite aggro wherever you go, deal with the fallout and don’t go running to your blog-mummy when you get spanked.

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