Democracy Inaction: Two Major Parties, One Major Train Wreck

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Even by the standards of the Australian parliament, this year has been a dull affair, at least for those of us more interested in policy than in the politics of politics. The recent agonies over the backpacker tax were almost Talmudic in their hair-splitting tedium, while the faux debate on immigration sunk even further into absurdity, with Labor basing its opposition to the government’s lifetime entry restrictions, not on a point of high moral principle, but on the fact that it may discomfit future tourists with Nobel Prizes or titles of high office. The parties argued endlessly over how – not whether, but how – to pass same-sex marriage into law, and locked horns on the all important question of whether to have a Royal Commission into the banking sector or invite the bankers themselves up to Canberra for a cup of tea and a bit of an old chat. The Turnbull government’s one significant victory came with the passage of the ABCC bill, though by the time the legislation had passed through the Senate it was more full of holes than a feral pig after an encounter with an Adler shotgun. Oh, and there was the Adler shotgun, the legal classification of which is apparently one of the major questions of our age. [More at New Matilda, here.]