I’m inclined to think that I’ve worn out the “newly conservative” explanation for blogging under the “neo-con” tag, but I haven’t come upon a replacement yet, and I can’t resist commenting on this. The Senate Select Committee on the Free Trade Agreement has an interesting membership. It’s designed, depending on your level of cynicism, either to more accurately represent the membership in the senate, or to give the Labor MPs an excuse for doing what they want, independent of what the JSCT committee says (which is whatever the government says, as it has a simple majority from the coalition parties).

There are thus two Liberal senators, a National senator (ie, three government senators), three Labor senators, a Democrat senator, and… a One Nation senator.

The senate consists of 35 government senators (3 from the National party), 29 Labor senators, 7 Democrats, 2 independenants, 2 Greens, and three senators of miscellaneous parties, including One Nation. So if we were really looking to represent the senate, we’d be expecting at least as many Liberal senators as Labor senators; as many Green senators as One Nation senators, and as many Democrat senators as One Nation and National Party senators combined.

To get a view on what Len Harris, the One Nation Senator (from good ol’ Queensland!), thinks, you might like to review his press release from 10th February, entitled Is it free trade or legal rape and pillage?. Or maybe you can get a sense of the contents just from the title.

Since One Nation was never going to support the FTA, the Senate Committee would at best be equally split without Labor’s support for the FTA; given the Democrats have decided to oppose too, the Senate Committee will be concluding whatever Labor wants it to, either six to two in favour of the FTA, or five to three against. It’s a bit weird to see Labor acting as a balance of power instead of one of the minor parties; but it’ll be interesting to see if they end up getting any significant concessions for their eventual approval (presuming it’s forthcoming). OTOH, I do keep wondering if they’re just hoping they can delay having to commit to a stance on the FTA ’til after the election.

Anyway, my real point for posting was to note that it’s interesting that our One Nation iconoclast seems right at home with the various self-proclaimed progressives including the Greens, the Democrats, and the Labor left. Takes me back to this comment:

The strangest comment on Pauline Hanson’s insane three-year jail term came from ex-Democrats leader Natasha Stott-Despoja: “I was never a fan of Pauline Hanson’s politics but that should have nothing to do with a judgment in a case like this.” Never a fan? Natasha’s policies on trade and economics — protectionism! tariffs! don’t let foreigners steal Australian jobs! — are practically identical to Pauline’s. Like most Democrats, Stott-Despoja is a PhD: Pauline Hanson with a degree.

Ah, so entertaining.

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