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Wednesday, 15 November

23:31

Poll Roundup: Citizenship Chaos Sends Government To New Term Low Dr Kevin Bonham

2PP Aggregate: 54.2 to Labor (+1 point in a week) - highest reading of term
Labor would win election "held now" with a large margin
Government has lost majority (for now) with two MPs recontesting their seats in by-elections

This week we've seen a highly unusual event in Australian political history: a federal government has lost its majority partway through a term.  This last happened in 1931.  The one-term Scullin government began its term with a robust 46 seats out of 75, but a by-election loss and defections to the opposition UAP and the Lang Labor split saw it whittled down to 35, following which it collapsed before the year was out.  What has happened to the Turnbull government, so far, is much less dramatic - two of its seats are vacant pending by-elections, and the government will recover majority status if Barnaby Joyce is returned, although it would then lose it again if John Alexander is defeated.

However, as the Section 44 eligibility issues continue to unfold (with the tabling of required evidence by December 1 expected to be the next step), we could well see more by-elections early next year in some much more difficult government seats.  The prospect of the government slipping into permanent minority, or perhaps even losing enough seats that it can no longer govern, is a real one.  There may also be by-elections in Labor and crossbench seats, but no incumbent government has gained a seat from an opposition in a federal by-election since 1920 so there would not be too much optimism regarding chances of gaining seats there.  My legally unqualified view, incidentally, is that the "hesitators" (those who filed to renounce UK citizenship too late for the process to complete by the close of nominations) are in trouble.  The references in previous cases to the taking of all reasonable steps as sufficient refer to a context in which a member cannot reasonably renounce an overseas citizenship, not one in which a candidate was needlessly slow about it.

For the time being, the government faces two very unpleasant sitting weeks in which, by vice of it holding the Speakership, it has a floor minority (73-74) compared to the combined forces of Labor and the crossbench.  That is, assuming Bob Katter shows up!  The non-Coalition forces won't be able to suspend standing orders, but they will have extensive control over other operations of the House and should be able to use that to inflict pain.  As noted in my New England preview, it's not likely Barnaby Joyce will spring back into parliament on the Monday after the by-election, and the 17-candidate circus announced for his seat won't help expedite matters there.

I may have a Bennelong preview later, but that seat is not f...

22:01

Living samples of planet's oldest life forms found in Australia "IndyWatch Feed National"

Living specimens of stromatolites - the oldest evidence of life on Earth - have been found deep within a remote, protected World Heritage Area in Tasmania, Australia. Stromatolites date back some 3.7 billion years and are regarded as a crucial piece of the puzzle that make up Earth's geological history - thanks to their layers of cyanobacteria, which comprise biofilm. These trap sediment and minerals from the water and cement them in place. The stromatolite layers then painstakingly build up overtime to form rock structures.

20:54

Love Our Streets West Hobart WHEN


Great news - from November 2017 to April 2018 the City of Hobart is working with the community in West Hobart, designing creative activities to enhance walkability and bring the streetscape to life with colour and fun.  All community members are invited to join in to design and implement this project.

The project is designed to show people driving through our suburb to realise that - hey!  there are people living here!

We can share our ideas online about what we and our friends could do to activate the street, or look for other people to join in a project, or suggest something that the Council could coordinate.  Just go to  the Council's Your Say Hobart webpage.   Log in (or register if you haven't been in there before) and then go to the LoveOurStreetsWestHobart page.


Community-based activity is important to increase walking in local areas. When residents feel socially connected to their neighbours and part of a strong community they are more likely to walk and spend time in their street.
With the community activating West Hobart, through events, activity and art, the traffic travelling along the streets should slow down.
Even the everyday way that front yards are used can contribute to street activation. Simple ideas could include planting a vegetable plot in your front yard, or having dinner on your front verandah (and perhaps inviting the neighbours!).

Rossmoyne Street in Thornbury (Victoria) is a great example. The community hosted a scarecrow competition in their street which helped to slow down traffic - and the residents got to know each better!

The first idea to hit the streets is a Sea of Sunflowers.  Packets of sunflower seeds are being distributed to residents - just sow them in your front yard!  Soon we will see splashes of colour all along our streets.

The first community gathering is a Fence Weaving party.  On 30 November, at West Hobart's Train Park between 3:30-5.30pm, be there and join in the fun!

15:30

How Accurate Was The Same-Sex Marriage Polling? Dr Kevin Bonham

The abrogation of responsibility and waste of resources that was the Marriage Law Postal Survey has now concluded with a Yes vote of 61.6%, based on a very high turnout of 79.5%.  Every Australian poll on same-sex marriage in the last ten years has shown more voters supporting same-sex marriage than opposed, with the exception of a single fledgling ReachTEL in 2011, so this has been seen initially as another good result for Australian polls.  In contrast, non-polling "big-data" approaches based on social media analytics failed completely, with the EqualityPulse site mostly favouring the No vote until after the polls had closed and a Griffith University study bombing embarrassingly.  (Be wary of anyone who claims their methods predicted Trump would win - most who predicted him to win did so because they wrongly expected him to win the popular vote.)

This is being taken as another strong result for Australian polling, but the reality is not so snazzy, and more consistent with experience elsewhere.  Below are all the final poll results by each pollster that I could find.  (Some pollsters conducted several polls, typically finding little variation through the survey period.) The polls vary in methods - some asked about results based on those who had voted, some asked about the votes of those who intended to vote and some just asked a basic question about support or opposition to same-sex marriage.  One (Ipsos) appears to have asked about voting intention among those certain to vote only.  In many cases, inadequate public documentation means that it is not entirely clear what the pollster did.

The polls that allowed responses other than Yes and No allowed a range of non-responses.  Morgan seems to have included panelists who didn't respond to the survey invitation at all in this category.  Essential allowed respondents to say they preferred not to say how they had voted.

I've included two different ReachTELs that were reported at around the same time.  I've excluded Coalition for Marriage internal polling because no evidence has been provided concerning the pollster involved or the methods used (other than sample size) and hence I cannot even say for sure that their results were based on polls at all.

Here's the table:

06:15

The Quest for Security: Is it rational? has it actually made us safer? At what cost? "GroovUs Feed Anews"

Download address to the Royal Society of Tasmania, by Saul Eslake, Independent Economist, and Vice-Chancellors Fellow, University of Tasmania, Government House, Hobart, 14th November 2017  

06:07

Major Projects Legislation will fast-track the cable car, skyscrapers and resorts in reserves "GroovUs Feed Anews"

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust puts the Liberal and Labor parties on notice about the dangers of the State Governments Draft Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Major Projects) Bill 2017(Major Projects Legislation), which will soon be tabled in the state parliament. The Major Projects Legislation is unacceptable and, if the state government insists on introducing it, the Legislative Council should refuse it, said TCT Director Peter McGlone

Tuesday, 14 November

19:25

Hobart plumbs lowest vacancies on record "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Hobart stretched to break point

Hobart notched the lowest vacancy rate on record for any capital city at just 0.3 per cent in October 2017. 

With just 75 listings meeting the criteria for an a vacancy (of being advertised online for three weeks or more) it's not surprising that rents have been taking off.

And while there's been talk of land release to ease the pressure in Hobart, there's no imminent sign of matters improving for tenants.

Meanwhile the previously stagnant Adelaide market is also beginning to look at a bit tight, with the vacancy rate declining to just 1.4 per cent in October, and the vacancy rate in Canberra ticked down to 0.8 per cent.

In Sydney and Melbourne the rental markets look to be in relative equilibrium, with some sub-regional variations. 


The resources capital cities look to have turned the corner now.

In Perth the vacancy rate of 4.1 per cent was well down from 4.9 per cent a year earlier, while Darwin (2.5 per cent) also saw a much tighter result than a year ago (3.2 per cent). 

Even Brisbane appears to have entered a bit of a downtrend despite its inner city apartment glut, although there does tend to be a seasonal spike over the Christmas period. 

Overall the national vacancy rate of 2.1 per cent or 67,781 vacancies was lower than a year earlier at 2.3 per cent or 74,368 vacancies, with dwelling starts now set to decline and strong population growth having absorbed most of the increase in rental stock to date. 

Nevertheless, rental price growth remains quite modest at the national level. 
...

16:04

Forestry Tasmania's demise in detail "GroovUs Feed Anews"


Forestry Tasmanias slide from its peak in 2004 has seen it lose $1 billion. Almost half have been cash losses. The rest have resulted from the loss in value of the trees entrusted to it. FT entered commercial arrangements with customers, particularly major customer Gunns, which effectively forfeited its commercial advantages as a monopoly supplier. As a consequence it fortunes closely tracked those of the industry particularly Gunns, and since the latters demise has only survived courtesy of government patronage.

After numerous inquiries, reports and years of procrastination, the government appointed Treasury Secretary to the Board in May 2015 to act as de facto Voluntary Administrator to see if FT could be resuscitated. An interim report was presented to government on 29th September 2016.His tenure lasted until February 2017, FT was restructured as much as its political masters would allow before being handed back for directors to run under the new name of Sustainable Timbers Tasmania (STT).

The following is a more detailed report on FTs demise following the period of administration. It covers the events leading to insolvency, the actions taken and the prospects for the future.



CONTENTS

The 2016/17 year

The plantation sale

The superannuation transfer

...

12:51

Jacqui Lambie to resign from Senate - says she'll contest next election "IndyWatch Feed National"

.@JacquiLambie: I regret to inform the chamber of my resignation. I love my father, I don't blame him for this. https://t.co/WGZQLgpxOq pic.twitter.com/mGkU3i4gVo Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) November 14, 2017 Jacqui Lambie in her own words, "Senator for Tasmania. Advocate for Australian war veterans and injured soldiers. Looking after Tasmania's...

12:46

Self sufficiency, comes at a price "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

IF you are one of my vegan friends, turn away, dont read this..  this morning, our two wethers met their fate and will be in our freezer next week.

I originally bought them 14 months ago with two young ewes, which have now both lambed, thanks to 20171104_184005Matt my neighbor who kindly allowed me to have them serviced by his ram. Its a cooperative thing, all his Wilties are now on our orchard, gorging on luscious grass now going ballistic. Weve had copious rain, and yesterday, today, and tomorrow, its hotter here than in Brisbane. and the grass loves it! Normal Tasmanian weather will resume tomorrow afternoon!

As I have mentioned here before, our farms land capability, as it is officially known, is class 4 which is perfect for pastures, and therefore grazing animals. We are also lucky that our pastures have actually been improved by previous owners, and its great animal fattening land. We are not exactly making the most of it yet, because fully one third of our property is yet to have more animals eating our grass.. most likely, Matts cows will be put to the test soon!

...

10:17

Jacqui Lambie to quit parliament after citizenship advice "GroovUs Feed Anews"

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie. Photo AAP

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie. Photo AAP

CANBERRA   [AAP]

High-profile Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has become the latest casualty of the citizenship crisis engulfing federal parliament.

Senator Lambie the daughter of a Scottish-born father  on Tuesday revealed UK authorities had confirmed her status as a British citizen by descent.

As a result, she was ineligible to contest the 2016 election and sit in parliament.

I didnt think I actually had a problem with it, so I never gave it a second thought she told LAFM radio in Launceston of her newly-confirmed status.

Senator Lambie will make a statement to parliament about 12.40pm (AEDT).

Her replacement in the upper house will be determined by the High Court.

Steve Martin was next on the Jacqui Lambie Network Senate ticket at the 2016 election, but there are also doubts about his eligibility to sit in parliament.

Senator Lambies announcement came as the Turnbull government ramped up pressure on Labor Leader Bill Shorten over the citizenship credentials of opposition MPs.

Bill Shorten has been playing a very dodgy game in this business from start to finish, Attorney-General George Brandis told the Nine Network.

The onus was on the opposition leader to live by the same standard he has demanded of the government, he said.

A resolution passed in the Senate on Monday requires senators to make declarations about all relevant particulars of their citizenship in a special registry by December 1.

A similar motion is expected to be passed in the House of Representatives when it meets in a fortnight.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, speaking from Manila where hes attending the East Asia summit, said the registry plan would get all the facts on the table.

Then the House can consider them and then, if they wish, refer people to the High Court, he said.

The government is ke...

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