Monday, March 29, 2004

Summary of March 9 LathamForPM Meetup

This is a short summary of the discussions at the first "Latham for PM" or "Howard's End" meetup, which took place on Tuesday 9 March 2004 at "The Lounge", on Swanston Street in the City. It was supposed to be at "Sahara", but that venue was closed due to a parent teacher night.

Present: 10 people

Topics:

Free Trade Agreement:

  • there is a balance of good and bad
  • there are some economic benefits
  • clause change in PBS may have bad ramifications
  • Intellectual Property law changes may have bad ramifications
  • don't want to end up like California, Mexico and Canada under NAFTA where government is sued by corporations for lost profit when they tighten environmental laws.
  • don't know all the details, the devil is in the details.
  • there was a robust discussion, with one person strongly for the FTA, a couple strongly against, and the rest undecided but with reservations. I hope that is an accurate assessment?

Role of Media in Elections

  • Howard Dean: who he is, what can be learnt from his online campaign.

    • some people read "Howard Dean is not a Soap Bar" which I'd printed out

    Role of internet in Australian election

    • some were skeptical that the internet would be important
    • I thought the internet would allow people to "route around" biased big media, making people more informed.
    • point was raised that the internet can make people's opinions more rather than less polarised, as people only need read articles that reinforce their biased opinions.

  • Discussion about big media selling us what they want us to hear

    • "Manufacturing Consent" by Noam Chomsky mentioned. Update: I now have a copy of this book.


Honesty in Politics

  • some people read through "Repairing Politics" by Mark Latham, which talks about the importance of rebuilding public trust in politics and politicians.
  • talked about the role of lobbyists, and the distorting effect money can have on politics.
  • came up with idea: website listing promises made by political parties before the election.

    • the idea is that before the election you sign up to support a party in that election, based on the list of promises they have made. The promises may be broken down into core and non-core? Part of signing up is to pledge that if 1 core promise is broken, or 2 non-core promises, then you will vote for the opposite major party in the next election. The idea is that this would be an incentive for politicians to keep their promises, and the process of deciding which promises have been kept or broken before the next election would also remind people how honest the party in power has been, therefore how much they can trust their current promises.


Allegations of whether John Howard is racist.

  • mention was made of whether John Howard was opposed to apartheid sanctions in the 80's and therefore maybe implicitly supported it. Read the bottom of link or link for more details.
  • mention was made of whether John Howard was opposed to Asian immigration in the 80's. Here is an article which clearly shows this viewpoint link, here are some more which back up the details: link, link, link.
  • I said I would check up on sources, see above.

How does our voting system work?

  • does it matter whether you vote directly for a major party or whether you only distribute preferences to it?

    • answer: in the lower house, almost certainly not. They both mean almost always the same thing.


If you have any comments or corrections please click on the "Comment" link and say your piece.

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