Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The six who hold the key and how they will fare!

It is 72-all in the 150 member House of Representatives with six MPs holding the control of power. An analysis of how things will turn up, based on a biased reading of the newspapers.

We can split the six into two neat halves. The first half is very much predictable, the second less so despite promises to vote Labor.
1) Adam Bandt -- Green (Elected from Melbourne, Vic) -- Very much Labor like on many issues including HR, but a green-nazi to boot; seeks to legalize same-sex marriages, removing mandatory holds for asylum seekers etc.
Verdict: Will side with Labor more often than not
2) Andrew Wilkie -- Independent (Denison, Tas) -- Former intel guy who resigned citing how Oz is being led into the Iraq war in a crooked way, anti-Coalition in many sense, he stood against John Howard in 2004 as a Green candidate, wants to remove poker machines, supports the NBN, opposes WorkChoices, supports legalizing same-sex marriages, opposes Gunn Pulp Mill in the Tamar valley, supports access to abortion and voluntary euthanasia.
Verdict: Hatred for the Coalition trumps his love for Labor, will side with Labor on many key issues
3) Tony Crook -- WA National (O'Connor, WA) -- Wants the Commonwealth to match money put into rural WA under the state government "Royalties for Regions" scheme, which pumps 25 per cent of WA mining royalties into rural areas each year. Last year that scheme was worth $897 million. Fiercely opposes Labor's mining tax. Opposes the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). WA Nationals have vowed not to join the conservative Coalition, nor even sit in the party room with east coast National Party MPs unless their demands for a dramatic increase in Commonwealth funding for rural WA are met.
Verdict: Hatred for Labor will trump his lack of love for the Coalition. Will vote the Coalition on many issues.

In addition to their flaky stands, the other common themes that unite the next three are that all are former Nationals turned independents and coming from rural constituencies, their main focus on health, education and broadband services in the bush. Piskologically, the spectrum goes all the way from a die-hard Nationals hater to a what-is-there-in-it-for-me-realist.
4) Tony Windsor -- Independent (New England, NSW) -- Supports a stable government. Wants more action on health and aged care. He wants to keep smaller hospitals open in rural communities and has concerns that Labor and Coalition plans for local board control could close them. Described broadband as the most important piece of infrastructure that could be built for rural Australia. Supports water issues for the hinterland. Mr Windsor has had a strained relationship with Coalition's other member, the Nationals, of which he was a former member. Says he has no problems with the current Nationals - except Senator Barnaby Joyce whom described in unflattering terms.
Verdict: Much of what Tony Windsor could do is going to be dictated by what Tony Crook will stand on. Which essentially means anti-Coalition many a time and pro-Labor in the name of a stable government.
5) Rob Oakeshott -- Independent (Lyne, NSW) -- Wants a stable government, supports ETS and climate change action, more money to build services for rural and regional areas, especially health, telecommunications and broadband. He declared himself to be a social progressive and a economic conservative. As a Former National MP, quite a bit of his sympathies lie with the Coalition. But since winning the Lyne byelection in 2008, Mr Oakeshott has voted 32 times with Labor in Parliament, as opposed to nine with the opposition. But he explains his voting pattern as a preference to let governments govern rather than an endorsement of Labor's agenda.
Verdict: Well, the Labor can trust to go easy on him, but only at their own peril.
6) Bob Katter -- Independent (Kennedy, rural North QD) -- The 65-year-old career politician is one of the most colourful and unrestrained members of the House of Representatives. His key punchline is: "If I personally had the balance of power, I can tell you there is no doubt I would demand for rural Australia the right to survive. We have not had that right in 12 years of Liberal government and things have not improved significantly under the Labor Party." Supports increased subsidies for primary industry. Wants banning of overseas banana imports. Wants increased subsidies for uptake of ethanol - a product of sugar cane. Expressses significant concern about Coles and Woolworths duopoly in the agricultural sector. Wants increased funding for health, education and broadband in the bush.
Verdict: Coming from rural Queensland, Kevin Ruud wields a massive influence on Bob Katter. If push came to shove, ALP could use the services of Kevin Ruud to bulldoze through Katter. It is advantage Labor, but factionalism is going to head home sooner than later.



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