Visiting classical liberal to defend migration in Carlton

I’m not sure that Carlton’s lone classical liberal has many Carlton readers (Alex Willemyns is one of the few), but someone has asked me to promote a local event, a debate on immigration on Thursday night.

It features prominent Catallaxy blogger Sinclair Davidson and ‘Arthur Dent’, previously known as Albert Langer, who was an (in)famous Monash University left-wing radical in the Vietnam War era. They were still talking about him nearly 20 years later when I was a student there.

In one of the interesting political role reversals of the last 15 years, the right will support more migration and the left will oppose it.

Victoria – left-wing state?

I may be Carlton’s lone classical liberal, but are things much better in the rest of Victoria? An article in this morning’s Sunday Age proclaims Victoria the ‘left-leaning state’.

The article notes that Labor’s vote has been typically strong here for decades, and is holding up here during this latest campaign as it declines elsewhere as the Julia, Kevin, Mark and the leaker soap opera undermines the Labor campaign. As John Roskam observes, the left-wing tilt even influences the right – the Kennett years aside, the Victorian Liberal Party has typically been rather wishy-washy compared to the more robust conservatism found elsewhere.

The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes 2009 asked its respondents to rate themselves on a 0 (left) to 10 (right) scale. It actually finds that Victorians (average rating 5.04) are moderately to the right of people in New South Wales (average rating 4.97), but the more noticeable thing about the figure below is that NSW and Victoria are to the left of the rest of Australia.

Continue reading “Victoria – left-wing state?”

High Court defends right to vote

Activist group GetUp! had a big win in the High Court today, which will allow thousands of people who enrolled after the writs for the election to vote on 21 August. The reasons are yet to be announced, but the best analysis so far is this Inside Story article by election law expert Graeme Orr.

While I am not generally a fan of constitutionalised rights protection, I don’t see a major difficulty with very specific protections of basic political institutions such as the right to vote. As the sorry saga of the previous government’s 2006 amendments to electoral law – including the early closing of the roll and the political expenditure laws I have criticised many times – indicates, the temptation to use election regulation for political advantage is just too great for politicians to resist.

I’m not normally a fan of GetUp!, but they deserve credit for backing this case.

Will the David Jones harassment case be bad for business?

Many people, on this blog and elsewhere, think that the David Jones sexual harassment case is commercially dangerous for the company:

The case will definitely have an effect on the DJs brand in the long term, leading brand analyst Richard Sauerman of Brand Alchemy said. …

But Mr Sauerman said he expected some women would show how they felt about the sexual harassment allegations by shopping elsewhere.

He said once this sentiment grew it could have an effect on the company’s bottom line, and then even its share price.

And indeed social attitudes surveys show that this kind of consumer behaviour takes place. The ABS General Social Survey 2006 found that over a twelve months period a quarter of those surveyed had ‘boycotted or deliberately bought products for political, ethical or environmental reasons’.

On the other hand this isn’t the first time in recent years that David Jones has been accused of sexual impropriety. In 2006 the Australia Institute accused it of ‘corporate paedophilia’ because David Jones allegedly used sexualised images of children in its clothing catalogues. Continue reading “Will the David Jones harassment case be bad for business?”

Reasons for voting intentions

This week’s Essential Research survey asked its repondents about the main reason for their voting intention. Unfortunately a lack of consistency between the questions asked undermines comparisons. Nevertheless there are some interesting differences:

* Liberals and Greens voters are both more likely to have negative than positive reasons for their voting intention, but differ a lot in what those reasons are
* Gillard is a bigger plus for Labor voters than Abbott is for Coalition voters
* policies are not a big factor
* the Greens have the lowest proportion of ‘party faithful’, and Labor the highest