Journalists concentrated in a few areas

July 11th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Lucky Culture blogs:

IN the Labor-held electorate of Sydney there are seven journalists to every plumber. In the Liberal-held seat of McMillan in Victoria there are 17 plumbers to every journalist, which is why the good people of Paddington will probably have to wait until Thursday week to get a tap fixed, but the denizens of Pakenham may not.

About 10 per cent of Australia’s 20,000 journalists live in central Sydney or its eastern and inner-western suburbs in the seats represented by Labor’s Tanya Plibersek and the Liberals’ Malcolm Turnbull. One in five journalists lives in just five seats: Sydney, Wentworth, Melbourne Ports, Melbourne and Grayndler. Three are held by Labor, one by the Coalition and one by the Greens. The divide, however, is not political but cultural.

Very interesting. It shows how journalists in Australia are not spread through the country but are mainly in a few wealthy urban areas in Sydney and Melbourne.

Green says Turnbull has the numbers

July 8th, 2016 at 3:49 pm by David Farrar

ABC reports:

ABC election analyst Antony Green says there is no doubt Malcolm Turnbull will be returned as Prime Minister, and the Coalition could secure 77 seats and win majority government.

“Malcolm Turnbull is the Prime Minister and will continue as Prime Minister,” Green told Radio National this morning.

Nothing is official in Australian elections until Antony Green calls it.

On the current figures the Coalition has secured 73 seats while Labor has 66.

The Government would need 76 seats to govern in its own right — there are six seats that have not been called.

“On the numbers, they could get four of the six seats,” Green said.

“Which would give them 77. But they may only win three of the seats.”

If the Coalition falls short of a clear majority, Mr Turnbull has been given assurances from crossbenchers Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan about their intention not to vote against budget supply or confidence unless it is clearly warranted.

So 73 in the bag plus three independents means they can govern. So can they get a majority?

Green said the Liberal Party is on track to win Forde, and is likely to pull ahead in Flynn, Herbert and Capricornia.

Labor is on track to secure Cowan in Western Australia.

That leaves Hindmarsh which is 50:50 with Labor 68 votes ahead.

If Labor get Hindmarsh then it would be 77 to 68 and 5 independents.

How the Liberals think they can get to 76 seats

July 5th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Some calculations from a Liberal source:

ABC website at 8pm Sunday
Coalition = 65 seats
Seats disputed – given to ALP by ABC – may win = 2 Gain in 2013
seat Coal. 2pp status prorata gain est. postals absents and prepolls
Flynn 48.5% 2058 behind – 22000 to count 5500 4700 from 17000
Lindsay 48.4% 2522 behind – 25000 to count 1500 700 from 11000
Longmann 48.5% 2017 behind – 20000 to count 3000 2300 from 15000
Seats in doubt ABC – expected to win = 13
Capricornia 49.3% 991 behind – 15000 to count 1500 1470 from 13500
Chisholm 50.1% ahead
Cowan 49.3% 959 behind – 20000 to count 3200 2880 from 16300
Dickson 50.8% ahead
Dunkley 50.3% ahead
Forde 49.9% 149 behind – 22000 to count 2000 1500 from 15000
Gilmour 50.2% ahead
Grey 50.7% ahead
Herbert 49.3% 1984 behind – 16000 to count 2500 1960 from 12000
Hindmarsh 49.7% 432 behind – 19000 to count 700 650 from 17400
La Trobe 50.9% ahead
Petrie 50.8% ahead
Robertson 50.7% ahead

So if the pre-polls go as strongly to the Coalition as in 2013, they could get close to 80 seats. Not sure the trend will be the same though, as there were more pre-polls this time and Labor’s scare campaign on Medicare was at its height during the pre-poll period.

The latest ABC results has Coalition 68, Labor 67, 5 others and 10 in doubt.

Australia hung for now

July 3rd, 2016 at 8:30 am by David Farrar

A knife edge election in Australia and a rest may be some days off. At this stage the Coalition has 67 seats, as does Labor. Independents hold five and 11 are too close to call.

Labor has won 11 seats off the Coalition so far. Also the Xenophon team has won one. Also within the Coalition National has won a seat of the Liberals.

Of the 11 seats in doubt, 10 were held by the Coalition. Labor leads in six of them and the Coalition in five. If those leads remain then the House would be:

  • Labor 73
  • Coalition 72
  • Andrew Wilkie (left leaning)
  • Cathy McGowan
  • Bob Katter, KAP (right leaning)
  • Rebekha Sharkie, Xenophon
  • Adam Bandt, Greens (left)

Very hard to see either party forming a stable Government.

In the Senate full results may take a couple of weeks. At this stage the most likely results are:

  • Coalition 29
  • Labor 25
  • Greens 6
  • One Nation 5
  • Christian Democrats 1
  • Derryn Hinch 1
  • Animal Justice 1
  • Lib Dems 1
  • Family First 2
  • Team Xenophon 4
  • Jackie Lambie 1

Some of the smaller ones may not make it if they don’t pick up enough preferences but they have the highest quotas for now.

Even if Turnbull hangs on, he will have a hard time governing and will have a very unhappy conservative faction who will argue Abbott would have done better. His only consolation may be the Coalition is slightly ahead of the two party preferred vote.

Barton Deakin on the Australian election

July 1st, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Jenna Raeburn of Barton Deakin looks at the Australian election:

Who will win?

The polls have been 50/50 or 51/49 through the entire campaign. However, on a marginal seats analysis, it’s difficult to see how Labor will pick up enough seats – they need to win a net 21 for a majority.

Shorten started out strong but the long campaign has proven to be the right tactical move as Turnbull has gradually pulled ahead. The betting markets have Labor at around $7-8 to win and the Coalition around $1.10. Virtually nobody is saying Labor will win anymore.

Polling

How many seats are needed to win?

The Coalition nominally holds 90 seats but as boundaries have been redistributed, they really only hold 88. The ALP nominally holds 53, up to 55 after redistribution.

As 76 seats are needed to govern, the Coalition needs to lose 13 seats to lose government. This is very unlikely. Even more unlikely is Labor picking up 21 seats to win a majority. The only (virtually impossible) path to Labor victory would be to cobble together a coalition of minor parties and independents.

What does a Turnbull win mean for the leadership of both parties?

Shorten has run a strong campaign and will pick up some seats from the Coalition. This is likely to be enough to cement him as the leader for now.

For Turnbull, the issue is not just winning, but winning well. If he loses too many seats to the ALP he will be in trouble. It will also make life difficult for the Coalition if they do not have enough seats in a joint Parliament across both the House of Representatives and the Senate (more on this below).

Importantly, there is a possibility that Turnbull wins the election but loses the popular vote. So while winning marginal seats is all that matters for the election outcome, it’s important for his mandate and leadership to win the popular vote as well. With the polls at 50/50 on a two party preferred basis, this is impossible to call. 

Which seats will swing?

There could be a few random results. 21 members of the lower House are retiring, many of whom are long serving. This leaves some previously “safe” seats wide open as they may have been safe on the basis of personal popularity rather than party preference.

Queensland – there is a bit of swing but not enough to change much. You could even see the Libs holding everything, which seemed impossible eight weeks ago. They will lose between 0 and 3.

WA – significant Labor swing here. However, a 10% swing would only bring in about four seats. For comparison, a 10% swing in Queensland would bring in about 12.

Vic – no swing.

New South Wales – enough for a net 1-2 seats to change; but there is also a strong, popular LNP state government. The LNP is even looking pretty good in marginal seats like Robertson and Dobell. Labor might pick up a couple in Western Sydney.

Tasmania – anything could happen. Three government seats are held very marginally.

South Australia – is the one to watch. The Nick Xenophon factor makes this the most unpredictable state by far. Xenophon is a popular and clever politician who has gone from an independent Senator, to leading a party (the Nick Xenophon Team or NXT party) which may well pick up two seats in the lower House and 3-4 in the Senate. If NXT is able to come second, the preferences of the third party (whether LNP or Labor) will flow to them. Labor seems to have collapsed in SA. One seat could even come to the Coalition.

How many seats will the Government drop?

This is the big question for Turnbull. He not only needs to be returned, but returned without a significantly reduced number of MPs. A few weeks ago it looked like they could lose between eight and 15. Now, a net loss of five or fewer is optimistic but not unachievable.

So what seats should I watch?

Pay attention to the Brisbane seats (Brisbane, Lilley, Griffith, Petrie, Forde), south west Sydney (Banks, Macarthur, Lindsay, Grayndler), and South Australia (Mayo, Barker, and even Adelaide in contention for NXT).

Also watch out for the Greens in Batman and Grayndler (Albanese’s seat) where they have put up a good fight.

Seats to watch

What are the big issues in the campaign?

Leadership  – The defining issue for the Liberal campaign is Turnbull’s leadership and the importance of stability. He was shaky at the start of the campaign but increasingly looks and sounds like a leader – especially compared to Shorten.

Stability – The message from the LNP is essentially that a vote for anyone else is a vote for chaos. This is similar to recent MMP campaigns in New Zealand – “a vote for Labor is not just a vote for Labor, but for Labor, the Greens, and a bunch of independents”.

The economy – For Turnbull, the campaign has focused on economic management and “jobs and growth” (repeated ad nauseam). Good on him for sticking to his guns on the economy as these messages are paying off, particularly in the wake of Brexit (more below).

Health – The big issue Labor is running is essentially a scare campaign around Medicare with claims that the Government will privatise or undermine the health system somehow. Though Turnbull has flatly denied this, the ALP seems to think that as long as they are talking about Medicare, they will be on top of the narrative as it is traditionally strong ground for them.

Same sex marriage – the ALP is also making hay out of same sex marriage – not because it wins them votes in middle Australia, but because it exposes divisions within the Coalition and exposes Turnbull for not championing an issue he is supposed to be passionate about.

Debt – Labor’s biggest problem is long term spending, though the Libs don’t balance spending either. Australia is eight years behind New Zealand here – we are finally back in surplus, while they are just starting to think about addressing debt.

Impact of Brexit

There is no doubt that Brexit has helped to cement Turnbull’s position in the final week. Voters are more worried about instability – so Turnbull’s messages around stability, leadership, consistency and the economy are paying off.

The Abbott factor

If Abbott was the leader we would have seen a very different campaign issues-wise, and we probably wouldn’t have seen the same impact from the Brexit vote. 

Abbott has been well behaved for most of the campaign until the last week or so. He and other elements in the party have been clearly agitating for the election to focus on border security and immigration issues, but Turnbull has stuck to his guns on the economy, and good on him for doing so.

The Senate

There is no doubt that calling for a double dissolution was a massive strategic error. It’s hard to work out why Turnbull did this in the first place – the former makeup of the Senate was intolerable, but it’s hard to see how this would have improved in any scenario. The post-election Senate will be a mess with no party holding a majority.

The double dissolution was called because the Senate refused to pass the ABCC Bill. A feature of a double dissolution election is that there will be a joint sitting of Parliament to consider this Bill immediately following the election. This makes it important for Turnbull to not just hold enough seats in the lower House, but to hold a majority in the combined Parliament (i.e. a majority across the combined 150 seats + 76 Senate seats). He should achieve this as long as they don’t drop too many seats in the lower House.

Conclusion

This will be a very interesting election to watch – not so much for the overall result, but for the movements in individual seats and the impact on Turnbull’s leadership.

A complete guide for seats to watch, as well as campaign policy updates, are available here: http://www.bartondeakin.com/category/barton-deakin-briefs/

Previewing the Australian election

July 1st, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Crikey’s Poll Bludger is forecasting:

  • Coalition 42%
  • Labor 34%
  • Greens 11%
  • Xenophon Team 4%
  • Palmer United 0%

On a two party preferred basis that is:

  • Coalition 51%
  • Labor 49%

The seat projections is:

  • Coalition 80 (-10)
  • Labor 66 (+11)
  • Others 4 (-1)

The betting markets have the Coalition paying just $1.11 and Labor $8.00 so a Labor win would be a huge upset. A hung Parliament is at $5.50.

The Senate is far more difficult to forecast with the voting preferences but Crikey says most likely is:

  • Queensland – Coalition 5, Labor 4, Greens 1, Others 2 (Katter, One Nation)
  • Victoria – Coalition 5, Labor 4, Greens 2, Others 1 (Sex Party)
  • NSW – Coalition 5, Labor 4, Greens 2, Others 1 (LDP)
  • WA – Coalition 5, Labor 4, Greens 2, Others 1 (LDP)
  • SA – Coalition 4, Labor 3, Greens 1, Xenophon 4
  • Tasmania – Coalition 5, Labor 4, Greens 2, Others 1 (Lambie)
  • ACT – Coalition 1, Labor 1
  • NT – Coalition 1, Labor 1

So in total this would be Coalition 31, Labor 25, Greens 10, Xenophon 4, LDP 2, Others 4. You need 39 votes to pass in the Senate so the small parties will hold the balance of power on this forecast.

What about the joint setting to pass the laws that triggered the double dissolution. You have a combined 226 MPs voting so need 114 to pass a law in a joint setting.

80 plus 31 is 111. So they again will need Independents or another party. With LDP they get close at 113.

But this is all forecasts. We’ll see tomorrow how it ends up. With a non-proportional system, results can vary much more greatly than under MMP etc.

Slight lead for Coalition

June 28th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

AS the election campaign enters its final week, the coalition has pulled ahead of Labor in the Newspoll opinion poll for the first time.

The latest Newspoll published in The Australian on Monday shows the coalition sitting on 51 per cent compared to Labor’s 49 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

The poll of 1713 people, taken between last Thursday night and Sunday, is the first to gauge Australian voters’ reactions to the shock Brexit vote as economic stability takes centre stage ahead of Saturday’s poll.

On a primary vote measure, the coalition rose two points to 43 per cent, Labor was static at 36 per cent, while support for smaller parties slipped, with the Greens slumping to a near three-year low of nine per cent.

The projection on the poll of polls at the moment is Coalition 78 seats, Labor 68 and others 4. You need 76 seats to govern so still very close.

The Australian Budget

May 4th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Major aspects are:

  • threshold for 37% tax rate moves from $80,000 to $87,000
  • a “temporary” 2% tax hike on income over $180,000 to end in 2017
  • company tax rate to reduce to 25%
  • $594 million for a rail link from Brisbane to Melbourne
  • $2 billion for water infrastructure
  • Cigarette excise up 12.5% a year for four years
  • Deficits to continue until at least 2020 with A$37b this year

If I was in Australia I’d be fairly unimpressed with another five or more years of deficits and a take hike on top income earners.

Expect to see the flow to NZ continue.

Far far fewer people in immigration detention in Australia

May 2nd, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

As unpopular as they are with some people, there is no doubt the Coalition’s turn back the boats policy has led to a massive reduction in both drownings at sea, and also in the numbers of people held in immigration detention.

ausimm1

So the number in detention has fallen from 13,000 under Labor to just over 2,000 under the Coalition.

ausimm2

And the number of children in detention is now zero, down from 2,000 under Labor.

Since 2013 not a single person has drowned at sea while trying to reach Australia.

Under the previous Labor Government a massive 1,138 people drowned.

The simple fact is the hardline policy has worked – it has reduced drownings and massively reduced the numbers in detention. The lesson is that putting the people smugglers out of business was in fact the most humane policy.

$50 billion for submarines for Australia

April 30th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

CNN reports:

Australia has ordered 12 new submarines at a cost of $39 billion, becoming the latest nation to upgrade its fleet in a region where the seas are getting crowded.

French defense contractor DCNS beat competitors from Japan and Germany to the massive contract, which Australia described as the “largest and most complex” in its history.

Australia said the new 4,700-tonne Shortfin Barracudas will offer superior sensor performance and stealth characteristics, while maintaining the range and endurance of previous models.

That’s a huge purchase. A$50 billion. That would be the equivalent of NZ spending around $10 billion on our navy.

Australia set for a DD election

April 20th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The SMH reports:

The Senate has defied Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull just one day into a three-week special sitting of Parliament, handing him a double dissolution trigger and setting the stage for an unprecedented 75-day election campaign.

Mr Turnbull’s high-risk plan to hold a double dissolution poll on July 2 comes as two new polls found the Coalition tied or even trailing a resurgent Labor opposition.

It will be a fascinating election.

The winning party may also get a majority in the Senate as they have changed the law so preference deals between parties no longer have the same impact so you are less likely to get someone elected who had 0.5% primary vote.

That means the May 3 federal budget will now form a key element of the government’s re-election pitch and that a pair of untested leaders – neither Mr Turnbull nor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have led their party in a campaign before – will fight for Australians’ votes in what shapes as a marathon political contest.

Mr Shorten is due to deliver his budget reply speech on May 5, and Mr Turnbull must visit the Governor-General no later than May 11 to formally issue the writs and announce the poll.

On Sunday, Mr Turnbull confirmed defeat of the ABCC bill would mean “there will be a dissolution of both houses and an election of the 2nd of July” and speaking after the Senate vote, Liberal Senate leader George Brandis said the restoration of the ABCC was an important part of the government’s economic agenda.

The election needs to be fought on more than the fighting union corruption. That is an important issue, but not the most important issue to every day Australians.

Australia jumps the shark

April 13th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Christopher Snowden highlights a bad trend in Australia:

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has called for all women “of reproductive age” who consume more than two standard drinks a day to be subject to “interventions” on the basis that they might be pregnant, in a remarkable submission to a Senate inquiry.

I know a lot of women who need an intervention then!

Children’s toys should be subject to plain-packaging laws similar to cigarettes, an inter­national women’s group says. 

Crazy.

Alcohol packaging should carry warning labels, akin to cigarettes, under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

Yes every bottle of wine should carry a photo of a corpse on it.

Best Australian PMs since 1972

March 14th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

A poll in the Australian about whom Australians think has been the best Prime Minister since 1972. The results are:

  1. John Howard 34%
  2. Bob Hawke 13%
  3. Gough Whitlam 10%
  4. Paul Keating 6%
  5. Kevin Rudd 6%
  6. Julia Gillard 5%
  7. Malcolm Fraser 3%
  8. Malcolm Turnbull 3%
  9. Tony Abbott 2%

I’d agree with Howard and Hawke as the two two. I’d put Keating third. My list would be:

  1. John Howard
  2. Bob Hawke
  3. Paul Keating
  4. Julia Gillard
  5. Tony Abbott
  6. Gough Whitlam
  7. Malcolm Turnbull Fraser
  8. Kevin Rudd

Australia NZ relationship at its strongest

March 9th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Alex Malley, the CEO of CPA Australia writes:

The trans-Tasman relationship between the Key and Turnbull Governments has reached a new level of mutual respect and intimacy not previously seen during the decades since the signing of the CER agreement in 1983.

This bodes well for both countries’ economic, diplomatic and security future.

Over all those years there has been some fine talk from Australian leaders about the special relationship between the two countries but it’s fair to say that, from a New Zealand perspective, there’s been precious little action on a range of issues affecting Kiwis.

Even when Julia Gillard addressed New Zealand’s Parliament, in what was a first for the two countries, she was unable or unwilling to change policy that was causing political and diplomatic tension. She did say she wouldn’t challenge the world trade decision on apples but, as seen with Kiwi eyes, that was perhaps making a virtue out of an original sin.

So, Prime Minister Turnbull’s initiative to lay a pathway for some Kiwis to Australian citizenship is a significant one.

No previous prime minister – Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard et al – has actually implemented a New Zealand request for a change to Australian domestic law to accommodate its citizens living in the Lucky Country.

This is basically correct. Turnbull is the first PM since CER to actually change Australian law to benefit New Zealanders living there.

Easier Australian citizenship for Kiwis

February 20th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Thousands of Kiwis who arrived in Australia after it tightened its immigration rules in 2001 will now be given an easier path to seek Australian citizenship under certain conditions.

If they earned A$53,000 over five consecutive years ($57,000) between 2001 and today, they will eventually be able to apply for permanent residence and eventually apply for citizenship.

Mr Key estimates that up to 100,000 of the 305,000 Kiwis who arrived to live in Australia between 2001 and today could meet the criteria and get a new pathway to citizenship.

That’s the best solution for Kiwis in Australia who don’t get the same rights as Australians – allow them to become Australians.

Tracy Watkins notes how rare this is:

Leverage – it’s that thing Australia has got in spades in the trans-Tasman relationship, and something that has always been in short supply on our side.

So whether it’s thanks to Pyjama diplomacy, trans-Tasman arm wrestling or the Anzac spirit, Malcolm Turnbull’s move to open the door wider to Kiwis across the Tasman is the first real instance of an Australian leader backing up his words about our “special relationship” with action on the expat front.

Actions, not words.

The most important plus is the reversal in trans-Tasman flows to a small net gain in people crossing the ditch from Australia to New Zealand, rather than the other way.

It would have been much harder to sell the deal if there were still 35,000 Kiwis a year flooding Australia’s borders, as there were when the Key government first took power.

It helps also that in the Australian business community at least, New Zealand is no longer seen as a basket case economy – in fact, most look across the Tasman with envy and ask their Government why things are not so good in Australia.

Our economic strength made this possible.

But there is also a personal dimension to the win.

Key and Turnbull clearly have a warm relationship – something that took Australian media by surprise when they learned Turnbull was hosting John and Bronagh Key overnight at his Sydney waterfront mansion.

They were dubbing it Pyjama diplomacy, noting that it was unprecedented for an Australian leader to host a visiting foreign leader at their own home.

And relationships count.

Jacinda on Australia Day

February 9th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Jacinda Ardern writes in the SST on the call for NZ to have a national holiday that is an actual celebration like Australia Day:

Australia Day? Are you kidding? That is the last place we should be looking for a model of race relations, let alone a national day of celebration – unless you’re into drunken, casual racism. 

Jacinda seems to be judging Australia Day off the basis of what a small minority do. I doubt most Australians see it as a day of drunken casual racism.

Melbourne Age notes the migration flow to NZ

February 7th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Melbourne Age reports:

More people are moving to New Zealand from Australia instead of the other way around for the first time in decades as Kiwis return to a buoyant economy and are joined by foreigners in search of work.

According to new figures released by Statistics New Zealand, 25,273 people migrated east across the Tasman Sea in 2015, compared to 24,504 who went the other way.

This net flow of 769 to New Zealand is the biggest since 1991 and the number of people coming to Australia is the lowest since the same year.

It comes as the country of 4.6 million is experiencing consistent political stability and strong economic performance while other countries falter.

We’re pretty much the only country on the OECD to already be back into surplus after the GFC.

The trend began in the middle of last year and these new figures confirm the anti-New Zealand migration is over, having peaked in 2012 when a total of more than 53,000 fled to Australia.

In 2013, the net migration flow to Australia was 19,600. By 2014, this was down to 3800. 

Halting the “brain drain” was a major campaign commitment of Prime Minister John Key who, after more than seven years in power, is a popular leader running a steady, successful government.

Australians would like some stability in their Governments!

Since John Key became National Party Leader, there have been six PMs of Australia.

The continued economic growth, low unemployment numbers, strong New Zealand dollar, budget surplus and migration success story of the country are all feathers in the cap of the Prime Minister, who last year joked that you “wouldn’t know who’s going to show up” when you’re expecting an Australian prime minister.

Heh.

One victim of this revolving door of political leadership, former treasurer Joe Hockey, last year insisted that the lower tax rates of New Zealand were “unquestionably” part of the exodus.

A top tax rate of 33% is attractive.

The Washington Post has also reported on the change in net migration between Australia and NZ.

Australian High Court rules in favour of off shore detention

February 5th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The SMH reports:

The High Court has ruled that Australia’s offshore detention regime at Nauru and Manus Island is lawful, dashing the hopes of asylum seekers that detention centres would be closed and they would be settled in Australia.

This ruling will save lives. The hardline policy has stopped hundreds of people from drowning by trying to reach Australia.

Here’s the deaths by drowning by year:

  • 2015: 0
  • 2014: 0
  • 2013: 236
  • 2012: 421
  • 2011: 235
  • 2010: 168
  • 2009: 132

The drop to zero for two years in a row is not a coincidence. It is a direct reflection of removing the incentive for people to pay tens of thousand of dollars to people smugglers.

The full bench of the High Court on Wednesday ruled that the federal government has the power under the constitution to detain people in other countries, finding that its conduct was within the law.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been under pressure to allow child asylum seekers to stay in Australia regardless of the court’s decision. The Greens said on Wednesday that forcing their return amounted to “child abuse”.

No child abuse is when they drown at sea because they are incentivised to try and sail to Australia.

If NZ did join Australia

November 30th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Heather du Plessis-Allan writes:

Sure, it’s not an immediately popular idea, but hear me out. Taking up the offer to become part of Australia could be a good thing.

If New Zealand did join Australia as two states (NI and SI) then John Key would no doubt become Prime Minister of Australia, with Malcolm Turnbull as his Deputy.

The North Island would have 22 MPs and the South Island seven MPs, out of 178 total.

In terms of Senators they would have 12 each out of 100 total.

Andrew Little would roll Bill Shorten as Federal Opposition Leader.

But who would become the Premiers of the NI State and SI State?

My pick would be Jacinda Ardern as the Premier of the North Island, as all NI Premiers would come from Auckland.

And down south, Amy Adams as the Premier of the South Island!

More nonsense from Labour on detainees

November 30th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The arrest of a former detainee deported to New Zealand shows why they should remain in Australia where their families and friends can support them, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

This is pretty idiotic. They got deported from Australia because they were committing crime in Australia. So blaming their criminal offending on not being with family and friends is making excuses for criminals.

And Australia has every right to deport serious or persistent criminals who are not Australian citizens, just as we have the same right to deport non New Zealanders who commit crimes.

No wonder Little got nowhere in Australia with his advocacy.

He was not concerned that the arrest would reflect negatively on Labour’s advocacy for Kiwi detainees.

“I expected at some point we would start getting reports of the returned deportees starting to offend here, so it doesn’t surprise me and I doesn’t undermine a thing I’ve said or done.”

Labour has tried to portray them as victims, when the vast majority of them are not. The person who got burgled by this guy is a victim. He is not.

Little wins big in Australia – gets an invitation for us to become a state

November 25th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

As Andrew Little flew to Australia yesterday to address politicians today about Kiwis’ lack of rights in their adopted country, an Aussie senator made a suggestion that would likely make the average bloke in his stubbies choke on his tinnie.

Ian Macdonald, who chaired the parliamentary committee that recommended a new law leading to the detention and deportation of NZers, said New Zealand could become the country’s seventh and eighth state.

He said Labour leader Little’s calls for, among other improved rights, access to citizenship for Kiwi expats would not be controversial to most Australians.

“The issue of closer ties with New Zealand is one beyond any limited expertise I might have, but as an observer … I would love to have New Zealand join us perhaps as the seventh and eighth state.

A huge diplomatic victory for Andrew Little. Kiwis who are criminals can stay in Australia for as long as they want, so long as New Zealand gives up being an independent country.

Well that’s seven who might be staying in Australia now!

November 12th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Seven New Zealanders have been flown off Christmas Island, as images emerge of the damage caused by rioting at the detention centre.

The ABC reported it had witnessed detainees being transported to the Christmas Island airport.

Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton subsequently confirmed their removal to a correctional facility in Western Australia.

Looks like they may get to stay in Australia after all now! Of course in a prison, if they get sentenced.

“They are among a group of extreme-risk individuals who are alleged to have been involved in the disturbance at the centre,” he told the ABC.

The men, who were handcuffed, said they were from New Zealand and claimed to be on their way to a prison in Perth.

Remember that some of the asylum seekers at Christmas Island said they lived in fear of these guys, and were often beaten up by then. They are not nice individuals.

That doesn’t mean that every person caught up in this new Australian policy is bad. The case of the former Kiwi soldier is a case in point. It appears he has committed no offence, except join a motorcycle gang or club. There may of course be more to the story than we know at this stage.

However Australia gets to decide who stays in Australia. And if they tell you you are no longer legally able to live in Australia, then the best thing to do is leave, and come back to New Zealand – if you are a citizen. You can fight your appeal from here, and in fact I read somewhere around a third of the appeals have been successful. But helping cause a riot won’t help your appeal.

I think the new Australian policy is overly harsh and inflexible. But that doesn’t mean it is a breach of human rights. NZ sometimes detains people for immigration reasons also – Ahmed Zaoui was detained for a lengthy time when Labour were in Government here.

The ones Labour are defending

November 11th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Labour have been battling for weeks and months for the NZ citizens held in detention in Australia as they fight deportation orders, trying to make them the victims. They have glossed over the fact that they have all been sentenced to at least a year in prison. Now I don’t know if Australia is the same as NZ, but in NZ to get a year in prison you need to either be a recidivist offender or a reasonably serious offender. You don’t go to prison for one burglary.

Stuff reports:

A mob of aggressive New Zealanders has been terrorising other detainees inside Christmas Island detention centre for weeks, leaving asylum-seekers fearing for their lives.

Dozens of Kiwis are locked up in the Australian detention facility – many had their visas revoked on character grounds under section 501 of Australia’s Migration Act, earning them the nickname “501s”.

But while they may not have committed crimes, fellow detainees say inside Christmas Island detention centre, the Kiwis are anything but innocent.

A distressed Lebanese detainee told The Australian he feared for his life at the hands of the 501s during a riot that broke out on Monday.

“They’re f***ing going to kill me … We are in danger. You need to tell someone who cares that our prison is in the hands of very serious criminals.”

So it is not the evil Australian Government’s guards they are scared of, but the NZ detainees whom Labour are championing.

He said the New Zealanders had beaten more than 20 weaker detainees over the last month, stealing their phones and other property.

“These Kiwis are like a group. There’s about 25 of them. Very, very strong and they are very, very aggressive. We have problems with them. They call us dogs. Dogs and b****es.

“I got bashed by 14 men … My eyes are destroyed. I cannot see more than 20m. They ­f***ing ­destroyed my life.”

Perhaps not a huge surprise that Australia is deporting them.

Other detainees also blamed the New Zealanders for starting the riot, after escaped Iranian refugee Fazel Chegeni was found dead on the island, far northwest of Australia near Indonesia.

Tuk Whakatutu told Radio New Zealand there was an armed group mostly made up of New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders, who had broken into garden sheds to find weapons.

“They’ve got petrol bombs, they’ve got machetes, they’ve got chainsaws, metal bars, all sorts.

Outstanding citizens.

The New Zealand government has since promised Kiwis who elected to return home would be able to do so in a “matter of days, or at most, a week”, despite the riot.

Potential obstacles to a swift departure included detainees’ lack of travel documents, the need to charter private flights for high-risk offenders, and assessing potential risks that detainees could present upon their arrival.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had confirmed “there would be no prejudice to consideration of the cases of detainees who chose to come to New Zealand in the interim”.

“Further, Minister Dutton gave me an undertaking that any New Zealander wanting to return would not have to bear any of the expense involved in returning to New Zealand,” Adams said. 

“He has previously confirmed that for those who return, if their appeal is subsequently upheld then there would also be no barrier on them returning to Australia.”

But if they come back to NZ, then they don’t have Labour MPs championing their cause to try and paint them as the martyrs.

Labour were all offended when the PM said they were supporting rapists, child molesters and murderers. Well the Herald reports:

The Prime Minister’s office later released figures which showed that out of 585 New Zealanders facing deportation, 34 had been convicted of child sex offences, 22 convicted of murder, and 16 convicted for rape or sex offences.

22 of them are murderers!

A win for toy dinosaurs

November 3rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The police case against Rickey Caton started with a “roaaaar!” when he was forcibly arrested by two officers after jokingly producing a toy dinosaur during a roadside car stop.

But it ended with a whimper on Friday when a magistrate ordered the police force to pay more than $105,000 in legal costs after finding the matter should never have gone to court.

The police are facing even more financial pain over the ill-judged prosecution, with Mr Caton and his mate set to launch a claim for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for assault, wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.

“The [police] proceedings should not have been brought,” Magistrate Mark Douglass told Kiama Local Court on Friday, as an inspector from the police force’s Professional Standards Command looked on.

“The prosecutor failed to reasonably investigate relevant matters … which might have suggested that the accused was not guilty.”

The magistrate was referring to the evidence of the third officer present on the night of the arrests – Lucie Litchfield – who said that far from assaulting police as her colleagues had claimed, it was Mr Caton and his mates who had been the victims of aggression.

Ms Lichfield said that when police stopped Mr Caton and his mates in Queanbeyan in late December 2013 and asked if they had any weapons, the local father had cheekily pulled out the toy and declared “I’ve got a dinosaur – roaaaar!”.

She said one of the officers, Senior Constable Todd Finnegan, had subsequently forced Mr Caton from the car, pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. Her other police colleague, Senior Constable Patrick Hicks, had then crash-tackled Mr Caton’s friend, Adam Antram into a retaining wall.

What an appalling over-reaction by Police, and good to see them lose big time in court.

Thoughts on Australian deportations of Kiwis

October 19th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar
  1. Australia has every right to deport non-citizens who commit crimes
  2. The threshold of those who have been sentenced to one or more years in prison doesn’t seem unreasonable
  3. It would be sensible if Australia used some discretion based on the seriousness of the crime, and how long the person has lived in Australia
  4. Ideally the deportation decision and appeal should occur while the person is serving their sentence, so they get deported immediately on release
  5. If there is a gap between the prison sentence and the conclusion of the deportation process, then the person facing deportation should not be held in custody unless there is reason to think they are going to go into hiding
  6. If any potential deportee is held in custody, it should be on mainland Australia. There is no good reason to shift these people off-shore
  7. If you don’t wish to get deported then don’t commit any serious crimes in Australia
  8. If you do wish to stay in Australia and do wish to be a criminal, you should become a citizen first!