It seems that whenever Labor comes to power, it is under the worst possible economic conditions. If you have a long memory, you will recall the period known as the world oil crisis. It began in 1973 and inflicted on the Whitlam Government a period of economic mayhem.
“… brought about by two specific events in the Middle East: the Yom-Kippur War of 1973 and the Iranian Revolution of 1979.”
In 1983, the Hawke Labor government:
“… came to office with inflation still at 11.5%, unemployment at 10.3% and Australia in the middle of a long-lasting recession.
Hawke’s treasurer, Paul Keating, would later say about his early period as treasurer that there needed to be a prominent place to look for an answer to the economy’s problems.”
During this period, I had an overdraft with 19% interest. Remarkable, I hear you say, but running a business without one was nigh on impossible.
Kevin Rudd was in power briefly when extreme stress in global financial markets and banking systems happened between mid-2007 and early 2009. It was known as the “Global Financial Crisis.”
Through no fault of his own, Anthony Albanese has grappled with the worst worldwide cost of living surge in decades. However, none of these events, a pandemic and a war, have elicited a word of sympathy from a media intent on saying that Labor couldn’t manage money. It has been the LNP’s catchcry for as long as I can remember.
After leaving the country a trillion dollars in debt 18 months ago, the LNP has sarcastically repeated, “Labor cannot manage money.” But even the Murdoch muck tabloids and others from the far right agree that it would be inflationary to just hand out money.
After almost a decade of perpetual political controversy and inept governance, the Opposition parties and their media friends have dared to emerge from a period of disgraceful, immoral and corrupt Government and say: “Elect us again, and we will fix the problem.” And just 18 months without even apologising for the damage they caused to our institutions and democratic principles. It is laughable that they are being touted as a real possibility to return to power. What were they doing when they were in power?
The only evidence for a LNP re-election is a victory was in The Voice referendum and in the bad economic news worldwide. Sure, Labor has struggled with the cost of living, rents and interest rates, but they seem minuscule against the backdrop of the 70s and 80s.
Indeed, inflation is higher than people under 40 have experienced. Their parents lived through sharper price hikes in the 1970s and ’80s, but the media paints the worst possible canvas of today. Those experiences should help shape the way today’s economy is viewed in comparison. But it doesn’t because the world of conservative commentators and media sluts doesn’t do such fairness.
We haven’t even entered a recession, which means today’s economic conditions bear no comparison with the bloody awful circumstances of previous times.
Favouring a Labor victory is that the hatred of Peter Dutton is still there, and it exposes his vile political nakedness every time the words ‘immigration’ or ‘First Nations people’ are used. His history is still very much alive with the policeman’s authority.
The Roy Morgan 2023 politicians distrust list has:
“… former Prime Minister Scott Morrison on top, Peter Dutton at two. Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong took the most trusted title for a second straight year, and Jim Chalmers was a strong second.
“The very high levels of distrust in Peter Dutton, and others in the opposition make it unlikely they would be able to win government in the current climate,” Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said.
As we leave 2023 and meander our way through the summer sojourn into 2024, both parties will leave a residue of little transparency. Albanese promised better politics, but somehow, it got left behind in the slipstream of too many overseas trips.
Labor has lost the flare for embellishment without exaggeration. In other words, it couldn’t sell ice to Eskimos. In policy terms, they have had an excellent first term so far, but you wouldn’t think so. Many of their promises have been fulfilled, but they face a year of re-engagement with change for the better.
In Peter Dutton, the right has a clone of Tony Abbott, excellent at negativity, but after that, he falls away to nothing. Outside of policing, does the electorate know his thoughts on anything? He reminds me of that night on ABC 7.30 many years ago when Abbott asked Kerry O’Brien not to ask him any questions about the internet because he didn’t understand it. “Wow,” I wonder how he does his banking these days.
How does he see the future of Australia in a rapidly changing world? Does he have the intellectual capacity to explain himself? For example, he has no knowledge of economics, and on top of that, his current shadow ministers would form his cabinet; yes, the same corrupt lot of them.
Albanese isn’t a natural-born salesman whose words fly off the tip of their tongues with consummate ease, able to convince anyone to buy their blabber.
He must learn quickly that life isn’t about perception, not what it is, but what we perceive it to be. He must learn how to convince people of his sincerity.
The first twelve months of Labor’s tenure were dynamic, but then muckraker Murdoch’s relentless cost of living campaign slowly began to hit a government preoccupied with The Voice referendum. Of course, a sage mind would have determined that the referendum was lost the moment Dutton said he would oppose it.
His belief that the result would be a triumph of hope over experience proved incorrect. Subsequent polling by the Australian National University has shown majority support for a legislated Voice. Why didn’t Albanese just delay it when the result became apparent.
Labor passed some excellent legislation in the months leading up to Christmas, but again, Albanese should have sold it to the public using the authority of his office. He should have shouted their virtue to the heavens and every electorate. Yes, even advertisements to publicise their necessity.
- These policies included an agreement at the National Cabinet to create a National Firearms Register.
- They made a deal with the states to ensure the NDIS is solid and sustainable.
- They reached a landmark healthcare agreement to take pressure off hospitals and boost our health workforce and Medicare Urgent Care Clinics.
- They passed critical laws in Parliament to protect workers’ conditions and to improve the environment.
- Wage theft will become a crime, and industrial manslaughter will be legislated.
- Companies underpaying workers through labour-hire loopholes will be outlawed.
- They also passed a bill to establish a nature repair market. This will make it easier for farmers and landholders to carry out projects that repair nature – like replanting koala habitats.
- On top of all this was an announcement to dramatically reduce immigration.
- Add to that further funding to healthcare, childcare, and better policies on the environment and the Murry Darling, and you find Labor has done more in 18 months than the conservatives did in almost 10 years.
- “But that’s not all,” as the man selling the steak knives said. The sale of EVs is really picking up. There has been a slow relaxation of export embargoes. Unemployment benefits have risen. $10 billion has been designated for housing.
Labor enjoyed a dream run in their first 12 months, stabilising the government and getting things done competently, in contrast to sloppy Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments.
In all this excitement about the Conservatives possibly winning the next election, one thing seems to have escaped the minds of those supporting this idea: When in the hurly burly of an election campaign, the electorate is reminded of the sins of the National and Liberal parties over nine and a bit years, the hairs on the ends of voter’s heads will stand on end. Will they then feel inclined toward a repeat dose of the same medicine?
My thought for the day
People on the right of politics in Australia show an insensitivity to the common good that goes beyond thoughtful examination.
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