Rather than giving more oxygen to the gift that keep on giving for political blog writers, Peter Dutton, for lambasting Woolworths for announcing it wasn’t stocking specific Australia Day items, maybe we should look to the future.
If you want to be cynical about it, politicians in general always have their eye on their future at the next election. At the next election, the same politicians that are goading those easy to manipulate into damaging Woolworths stores because they choose not to stock merchandise for a public holiday at the end of January will turn around and tell us they are honest, moral and decent people. Furthermore, we should entrust them with the government of the country to for the next three years. Dutton has been remarkably quiet since the latest dog whistle was blown. Assuming the potential reactions to his comments were considered prior to them being made, it wouldn’t take Einstein levels of intelligence to consider that the outcome of criminal damage to the retailer’s premises was a likely outcome. And while there is a long list of Coalition faults and failures, they aren’t stupid.
That being the case we all have a problem. Dutton is the leader of the alternative government in Australia. Unlike One Nation and United Australia Party, there is a possibility that at the next election, the Coalition will gain power. One Nation and United Australia Party can blow dog whistles or promise the world and get away with it every time as they know they’ll never have to figure out how to deliver on their pronouncements. The Coalition does have a chance of forming a government. So what do we know about how our alternative federal government would behave and its priorities?
Not much really is the honest answer. We know they will fire up a small vocal minority that deem criminal damage is acceptable when a retailer chooses not to stock a range of products even though they are unprofitable. We know they will not support giving some assistance to a minority of Australians to bring their standard of living up to a similar standard as the majority of Australians. We know that they also happy to blow dog whistles regarding refugees and asylum seekers that were released from illegal indefinite detention.
The thing is that we choose political leaders based on their past performance to make decisions about issues that arise in the future. While every political party will make promises, a promise is worthless. The demonstration of character by the political party’s leaders prior to gaining power is far more important – as that gives us an understanding on how they will manage the issues of the future when they occur.
Economics Professor and former Liberal Party Leader John Hewson is also concerned about the lack of information we have available to determine the behaviours of Dutton and the Coalition, together with the media cheer squad who are happy to assist by making each day about scaremongering, point scoring and creating fear. As Hewson points out
Unfortunately, this is an environment sponsored and fed by much of the mainstream media, especially Sky News and Nine, which have already picked their champions and launched their campaign strategies, as indeed they did with the referendum. So many of their junior journalists and even some of their old guard are obsessed with “gotcha journalism”, compounded by the responses of the ignorant trolls on social media who naively suggest there are simple solutions to our mostly complex social and economic challenges, with little interest in good government – they just want to be players in the melee.
Hewson goes on to list some of the economic risks that have been identified by the United Nations that will affect the worldwide and Australian economies between now and the end of the decade. He rightly wants to know from both political parties that potentially can form a government what they intend to do to minimise the economic risks to Australia and Australians.
At the same time, the Albanese Government has to invest time in creating a narrative around what they have done in the first term. While there has been some positive outcomes, there has been some missed opportunities in policy development, policy implementation and the explanation of why the policy is good for the community. There also needs to be work on a roadmap for a second term together with a sales pitch that resonates with the community.
The Coalition has to flesh out its policy and publicise why it is a better choice than the Government. Continual negativity and complaints is not policy, but it is similar behaviour to the toddler that will hold their breath until their face turns blue if they don’t get what they want. Policy is saying that instead of the Government’s way of doing things, we would do something slightly different with a rational discussion on why the alternative would be a better outcome.
The media also has a part to play here. They are not up for election so they shouldn’t be grinding political axes, rather they should be doing their job – reporting the news in a fair and balanced way. The falling sales of newspapers and people switching to streaming and alternative news services demonstrates that the media are not doing their job.
Sadly, we are stuck with a government that, while apparently competent, couldn’t sell a beer at a Test Match, a Coalition that is too busy sniping to sell any positive outlook for the future and a media that is picking winners rather than reporting what is happening.
Hewson’s final paragraph is:
In commenting on the release of the UN report, Secretary-General António Guterres said 2024 would be a “tough” year, but “it must be the year that we break out of this quagmire”. This should certainly be the case for Australia. It is time to address the hollowness and inadequacy of our democracy and its debate.
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Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!
Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.
You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969