Unions defend Australian democracy

I don’t find many positive things to say about Australian trade unions, but full marks to them for standing in the way of an anti-democratic and anti-competitive deal between the major political parties to nobble their ‘third party’ opponents.

The precise content of the deal being negotiated between government and opposition has not been revealed, but from The Age‘s report it includes bans on union and corporate donations and

the legislation would also have severely limited third-party advertising campaigns such as the one the ACTU ran against WorkChoices at the last federal election.

Understandably, the unions were not at all happy about this and appear to have vetoed the proposal within the ALP. As one ‘source’ says: Continue reading “Unions defend Australian democracy”

Party polarisation on global warming

The latest Morgan Poll on global warming, taken in early December, shows very similar results to the 11-12 November poll. 31% (up 1%) say that concerns about global warming are exaggerated, 50% (down 2%) say that if we don’t act now it will be too late, and 14% (unchanged) say it is already too late.

Though a month is a short time period for public opinion to change, three things have happened that might have affected the results. The first is that the local debate about the ETS and the run-up to the Copenhagen conference have raised the issue’s profile, so more voters may have engaged with the debate and formed or changed their opinion. The second is that ‘Climategate’ has given the sceptics momentum. And the third is that with the Opposition moving to a clear rejection of the ETS, the issue may have picked up more partisanship than before (ie, partisans will go with their party).

Of these possibilities, the Morgan Poll provides most support for the last. Since the November poll, the proportion of Liberals saying that concerns are exaggerated has gone up 5 percentage points to 51%. However, the proportion of Labor respondents saying that concerns are exaggerated went down 4 percentage points to 14%. Though we can’t rule out some issue salience or Climategate effects, these changes look most like the issue becoming even more polarised on party lines.