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Day to Day Politics: Shorten might have the opportunity of a lifetime.

November 14 2017

The Newspoll results yesterday came as no surprise. It fact, it was totally predictable. We are governed by a political party that doesn’t know what it stands for. It has no plan for the nation; no narrative that it can present to the Australian populace.

The fact is that as a party it is flat-out trying to define if it is a conservative party or just a tired old political “small L” one. The one certain thing that it can proclaim is that it is a party at war with itself.

What it does need is to lose an election and go away and decide what form of political philosophy it wants to be. As things stand, it would seem the neo-conservatives have the upper hand and it’s to that extremity it should go. Mind you, Menzies might wriggle a toe or two in his place of rest at the idea but it seems that is where they want to be.

And you cannot have a leader from the centre-left leading you. So in this party realignment, Malcolm Turnbull will have to go. It has been obvious since he took over that he is controlled in his decision-making by a group of neo-conservatives who control the party. Whereas when the party would describe itself as a broad church it is now obvious that the softer voices have no influence whatsoever. The voices of hate arise from capitalistic monopolies within the party.

Just when the spill will take place it is difficult to say. But rest assured, it will. The point here is that when the Prime Minister is culled, the moderates of this once great party will be weeded out until the extreme-right has control.

But all this kerfuffle in the Coalition has ramifications for Labor and Bill Shorten. The danger being that they gain office without earning it. And it is highly likely that they will. Increasingly it looks like one of those elections that former leader Bill Hayden described as one that even a drover’s dog could win. Is Labor ready for office is a question we cannot know the answer to. It also must define where its ideology sits.

I believe the current political environment, both internally, nationally and worldwide offers Bill Shorten a unique opportunity.

Putting aside the variations that occur from country to country, state to state and ethnicity to ethnicity it is manifestly true that people are dissatisfied with institutionalised politics. No matter how you come at it, it’s the only conclusion you can reach.

Brexit, the revival of Hanson and the triumph of Trumpism prove it. The young of course wouldn’t have a bar of these three changes to political history but they too feel disenfranchised by the process.

The overwhelming thing that comes from these three events is that people will respond to the voices of action. Action against any form of long-standing entrenched institutionalised politics. They don’t know exactly what it is they want but for sure they don’t want more of the same old self-serving politics that ignores them

Suppose for a moment you are an advisor to the opposition leader in Australia. What would you tell Shorten to do?

Some background …

The Australian people in their collective wisdom, or lack of it, depending on which side your bread is buttered, chose to give a leader and his Government that had failed miserably in its first three years, another three.

They had a one seat majority in the House of Representatives but now govern in a minority. Plus a Senate ruled by some peculiar personalities. Thus far they have governed deplorably and it is difficult to know how they will govern into the future let alone do anything good for the country.

The LNP just got over the line and at the moment face a nightmare of party disunity, with a leader whose judgement is in question, a treasurer ensconced in old economics and policies mired in the politics of power retention rather than a common good for the future.

In the last election there can be no doubt that Shorten surprised everyone with a better campaign than Turnbulls. So much so that he gained much prestige and respect both from the people and the media.

As it turned out he was the policy wonker that he said he was and now has the opportunity to cement his credentials in this area. The areas of education, health and social welfare were big winners for Labor and he must continue to present an activist image on all these policies particularly with the NBN and Climate Change.

He has the perfect opportunity to build on his policy accomplishments on the back of an excellent election campaign. People now understand Labor’s Economic policies and Shorten has the credentials to further press his case on the revenue side.

Given the closeness (I predict around early November 2018) of the election Shorten should not step back from any of his policies but balance an eagerness to help the county with good political decision-making. He can be conciliatory and helpful while at the same time still play hardball with Turnbull on the dual citizenship problem.But will that be enough. The aforementioned successes will be quickly forgotten over time. So when thinking about “what should Shorten do?” there are two issues that have to be tackled.

One is developing an explanation of just what a new Labor Party stands for and a reappraisal of and repair of our democracy.

Labor suffers from an emptiness of explanation that requires attention. What does Labor stand for? It is losing members and its primary vote is at an all-time low.

If the new politic is no longer Left Vs Right but Open Vs Closed then it needs to explain just what it means and how Labor and its values fit in this new political paradigm. Trump campaigned on a closed society in order to make America great again.

What I am advocating is that Shorten should take on the high moral ground starting with the repair of our democracy. Necessarily required because of the destruction caused to it by the former Prime Minister Abbott. There is any amount of evidence for it.

There is no doubt that the Australian political system is in need of repair, but it is not beyond it.

Labor has already taken a small but important first step in allowing a greater say in the election of its leader, however it still has a reform mountain to climb. Besides internal reform that engages its members, it needs to look at ways of opening our democracy to new ways of doing politics: ways that involve those that are in a political malaise so that they feel part of the decision-making process again. There is much that can be done at little or no cost.

Some examples of this are fixed terms, and the genuine reform of Question Time with an independent Speaker. No Government questions etc. Shorten needs to promote the principle of transparency by advocating things like no advertising in the final month of an election campaign, and policies and costing submitted in the same time frame.

You can add reform of the Senate into this mix, and perhaps some form of citizen initiated referendum. Also things like implementing a form of a National ICAC. Perhaps even a 10 point common good caveat on all legalisation. A plebiscite on the question. Should we have an Australian as head of state?

I have no doubt that the first party to deliver on these reforms and many others including politicians entitlements, will gain government. Recent experience tells us that people will respond to boldness. To anything that acknowledges problems and speaks to them.

Address inequality. The world’s richest 1 per cent will own more than the other 99 per cent of the world’s wealth by next year. It must promote and vigorously argue the case for action against growing inequality in all its nefarious guises: re-casting its socialist tag, giving it new meaning, and seeing policy in common good versus elitist/closed terms. The same fight must also be had for the future of the planet.

Appeal for bipartisan government for the common good as Howard did with Hawke and Keating. On top of this is the need to do something about politician’s expenses and their justification. Talk about the need to exercise our creativeness, use our brains, and talk about what is best for ourselves as individuals, couples, families, employees, employers, retirees, welfare recipients and what is affordable for the future of the country.

The biggest issue though is a commitment to truth. Shorten needs to convince people of the need for a truly collective representative democracy that involves the people and encourages us to be creative, imaginative and exciting.

In a future world dependent on innovation it will be ideas that determines government, and not the pursuit of power for power’s sake.

His narrative must convince the lost voters who have left our democracy to return. (And I am assuming that most would be Labor), Shorten has to turn Labor ideology on its head, shake it and re-examine it. Then reintroduce it as an updated enlightened ideology-opposite to the Tea Party politics that conservatism has descended into.

He must turn his attention to the young, and have the courage to ask of them that they should go beyond personal desire and aspiration and accomplish not the trivial, but greatness. That they should not allow the morality they have inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality of right-wing political indoctrination.

He might even advocate lowering the voting age to sixteen (16 year olds are given that right in the Scottish referendum). An article I read recently suggested the teaching of politics from Year 8, with eligibility to vote being automatic if you were on the school roll. Debates would be part of the curriculum and voting would be supervised on the school grounds. With an aging population the young would then not feel disenfranchised. Now that’s radical thinking; the sort of thing that commands attention. It might also ensure voters for life.

Why did the voters leave?

How has democracy worldwide become such a basket case? Unequivocally it can be traced to a second-rate Hollywood actor, a bad haircut, and in Australia a small bald-headed man of little virtue. They all had one thing in common. This can be observed in this statement:

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich”.(Paraphrased)

Since Margaret Thatcher made that statement and the subsequent reins of the three, unregulated capitalism has insinuated its ugliness on Western Society and now we have an absurdly evil growth in corporate and individual wealth and an encroaching destruction of the middle and lower classes. These three have done democracy a great disservice.

Where once bi-partisanship flourished in proud democracies, it has been replaced with the politics of hatred and extremism. Where compromise gets in the way of power, and power rules the world.

Millions of Australians have tuned out of politics because of the destabilisation of leadership, corruption on both sides, the negativity and lies of Abbott/ Turnbull, the propaganda of a right-wing monopoly owned media, and the exploitation of its Parliament by Abbott in particular.

Somehow the lost voters must be given a reason to return. A reason that is valid and worthwhile. A reason that serves the collective and engages people in the process, and a politic for the social good of all one that rewards personal initiative but at the same time recognises the basic human right of equality of opportunity.

Shorten needs to promote a robust but decent political system that is honest, decent, and transparent, and where respect is the order of the day. A political system where ideas of foresight surpass ideological politics, greed, disrespect, and truth. Where respect, civility and trust are part of vigorous debate and not just uninvited words in the process.

An observation

Unlike America, “The right to vote is the gift our democracy gives. If political parties (and media barons, for that matter) choose by their actions to destroy the people’s faith in democracy’s principles and conventions then they are in fact destroying the very thing that enables them to exist”.

There is much in the way of common sense to support the narrative I suggest but will a politician of Bill Shortens ilk take the plunge?

My thought for the day

“We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence. Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making. With Its own inevitability.”


27 comments

  1. Shogan

    Shorten & Labor are the only party that can achieve this & once achieved it will become the norm!!

  2. June M Bullivant OAM

    I suppose that I have lived too long or have been interested in history when I got older, one of the two. I have written about the history of the Reid electorate, I have fought to retain that name for historical purposes, in the past if you came across a problem that concerned your community you asked to meet with the individual and worked with them to rectify it.These days you get brushed aside like a child, your years of life experience does not count, your values do not count, your country does not count. The community is being treated like a petulant child. Back in the days of caring for our environment and when our history was actually called heritage, our environmentalist (which was a portfolio by itself) these days it is bundled in with our “Heritage” called built heritage, this has led to a place where neither of these important subjects are being discussed by politicians.

    Over the years I have watched as the knowledgeable members of our communities “the Keepers of our History” have been downgraded to a whisper, a department called “Archives”, and I have watched as Government departments stripped of the “Local Knowledge” replaced by younger inexperienced people, I have no problem with the younger generation they are smart, have great ideas, are articulate and have the energy to succeed, but if the older experienced workers have been removed because that department has a plan to strip “Heritage” of value then your community has a problem. Today the politicians and decisions makers are self centered, selfish and want money and power, although I must say that recently I have met a few younger people that are actually working for the community, unless the remnants of the old guard bully them we have a few that really cares about the people and where Australia is heading, which is pleasing to see.

    This brings me to the point of the topic of this “piece” by John Lord, and AIM which I have been reading when I discovered it some years ago, this enables me to discuss every day issues and have my say on things that matter, that is no discussed into the “so called main media” arena. Above is the reason I believe for the decline of the “TRUE” politicians like Ben Chifley and Jack Lang just to name two for this exercise, is the fact that people smart enough to lead our country have lost their way. The Community Legacy that was put away by our forebears for our future, which in large is a bank of assets for our communities to drawn on in hard times, is being sold to build a monuments to themselves (not for the benefit of the people) but for the big business to make money so they can send it to the Cayman Islands for their own future.

    This problem will not go away until someone fixes it. So to our governing bodies (Local, State and Federal) our community needs less navel gazing and more thought for Australians.

    As I have gone on long enough and people will get bored, I will save the remainder of this for another subject, thank you AIM for allowing “us” to participate in your conversation.

  3. paul walter

    Evidence of a massive cultural change; a rupture or permanent change in balance of power occasioned by financialised neoliberal globalisation.

    Hobsbawm described it as the “Death of Historical Memory” within a community. Common or garden commodification, except that it now applies to the surreptitiously colonised West itself.

  4. Don A Kelly

    Couldn’t agree more, re; Question time reform. An independent Speaker and “Dorothy Dix’s” must go. Maybe consideration, (if possible) could be given to including a period of questions aimed at members of the Press Gallery from time to time.

  5. John Lord

    June. Thanks for your words. They have a real life perspective.

  6. Terry2

    Yesterday the Turnbull government agreed to Labor’s December 1 deadline and tougher conditions in a deal on MPs citizenship disclosure but to listen to acting PM Julie Bishop you would be encouraged to believe that Labor had
    caved-in ; perhaps Julie hadn’t been keeping up or maybe shock horror she was playing base politics.

    Under Turnbull’s proposal the citizenship disclosure would have had to be submitted 21 days after the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively passed a motion approving the new declaration and disclosure system. As the House of Representatives doesn’t sit again until 27 November, Shorten quite sensibly pointed out that this was just kicking the ball down the road into mid-December and would require a special sitting of parliament (parliament rises for the summer break and they’re all off to schoolies on 7 December ) which would entail flying all parliamentarians into Canberra for possibly just one day at enormous expense to you and me. Not that this government has been averse to profligate spending of our money and, after all, when you have just wasted $120 million for an opinion poll that you will try to ignore, what’s a few more million for a special sitting of our parliament ?

    Fortunately Shorten’s timeline has now been adopted by the government and by 1 December all MPs will have declare that they have taken the time to enquire back as far as their grandparents and make known what steps they have taken to confirm that they did not inherit foreign citizenship from their parents and grandparents.

    This, in the circumstances, is the best that we can hope for and we should acknowledge that Labor have tried to bring some sanity to this debacle which until yesterday Chrissy Pyne had wanted to turn into a tit-for-tat dobbing game purely as political mischief.

  7. babyjewels10

    “It has no plan for the nation” I wish I could believe that. I believe they have a sinister plan for this nation, in particular, the people. To rip as much as they can from the people in support of the already wealthy and big business, of which they are a part. This has already resulted in poverty, insecurity, a lower standard of public education, and much more.

  8. Alpo

    “but will a politician of Bill Shortens ilk take the plunge?”…. Labor will win the next Federal election but with a 2PP of likely not more than 53%. That’s not a level of support that would allow any government to start a Revolution (if you don’t believe me, just ask Tony Abbott about his attempted Extreme-Neoliberal Revolution introduced with his Budget from Hell of 2014). Labor is in the obligation to introduce Progressive (I call them Social Democratic) changes, but they must do so whilst carrying the support of the majority of voters. I lived in a country that in the 1960s was introducing Evolutionary changes in the Social Democratic direction: better deals for the workers, government active support for the needy, agrarian reform, nationalisation of the important copper mining. The party doing that was the Christian Democrats that in that country, at the time, were relatively moderate-left-wingish…. But the Hard Left was impatient, they wanted all and they wanted it now. The Christian Democrats supported the election of a Socialist President in 1970 who promised to accelerate the pace of reforms with the support of Communists and other left-wing parties…. and they did accelerate the pace of reforms following a Marxist model…. leading the country to a political train wreck in 1973 and about 16 long years of military Fascist Dictatorship (which, incidentally, destroyed most of the welfare state introduced by previous social democratic reforms and replaced it with the first full experiment on Neoliberalism in the world).

    Lesson to be drawn from this: Shorten and the ALP, along with the Greens and other Progressives must embark on an Evolutionary (not Revolutionary) path of reforms to replace the current bankrupt Neoliberal paradigm with a modern, Mixed-economy, Triple Bottomline Social Democracy…. Step by step we can go far and we can walk all the way in the company of the majority of Australians.

  9. James

    Just a thought, how bad would things in this country have to be in order for people to want to return to the currant political situation, I wouldn’t trust Shorten as far as I could push him with a drinking straw he’s a politician after all, I just think he’s a better alternative than the systemic parasites of the LNP and the worthless grubs who lead it, never trust a politician…well said Mr Lord

  10. Keith

    A factor that will come into play once Labor is elected is the disenchantment of the electorate with politicians generally.
    The disenchantment has allowed for PHON to grow; though, PHON votes Federally with the LNP supporting some very ordinary policies (eg penalty rates).

    No political party will find stability until politicians generally have gained more trust from the electorate.
    A beginning point for politicians is to work out whether they want to serve the electorate, or try and ensure that they maintain power.

    Not allowing large corporations to influence government decision making through large donations might be a way to begin creating a little trust.

  11. Möbius Ecko

    You can add getting rid of consultants and lobbyists, and going back to a PS with expertise to that last paragraph Keith. Much of the current political malaise and stuff ups can be directly attributed to the prolific use of consultants and entrusting lobbyists. The reason the government uses them is to supposedly wash its hands of any cockup and subsequent fall out, but the flip side to this is the government and politics lose the confidence of the people.

  12. wam

    I was expecting a ‘truth’and something on the ‘loonies.

    What a pleasant surprise to find your desire for 2 decents and an honest. That is the way, Lord.

    Be true to yourself is the way to politics and personal honesty has some safeguards on that score because today’s lying pollies are hamstrung by the memory of the machines on our desks.

    Honesty is still a two edged sword in that ‘pall’-een and the rabbott just open their mouth and spout ignorant of what comes out. They often, like trump, hear their opinion before thinking of it and then have a struggle remembering what they said but the words become their truth.

    Loved your assertion that the lib party doesn’t know what it stands for and I am grateful that labor and the loonies are not in that situation as they oops I will have to check my facts before making a conclusion on what bill and Di stand for, apart for the anthem.

    ps your observation and thought were so convoluted and silly I thought I’d written them. Surely America has a right not to vote and we are obliged to vote. (Will that change be bipartisan??)

    pps
    Dear Lord, have you heard of the dodge brothers, henry ford and their shareholder, workers and customers? A much more meaningful read than an out of context interpretation of maggie who was scored the best pm, ahead of blair, attlee and churchill with poor old brown last (mendelsohn 2/1.2014)

    ppps
    rain, rein and reign

  13. jim

    The LNP is clutching at straws with preferencing PHON with 56 seats, IMO PHON.will drastically be wiped off the map on the 24/11 Qld,
    ON Q&A abc made me think,one would be questioning why there are no Labor members before the HC, and only now we hear that 4 Labor members are suspect duel citizenship say what the LNP spend $65million on a RC into unions but it took them months to find four alleged ALP duel citizenship suspects, but then we’re talking about the Liberal idiots.

    Richard Taylor and his team in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney found similar trends over the past century in New South Wales. When Right-wing governments were in power, men were 17 per cent more likely and women 40 per cent more likely to commit suicide.

    They report that rates were highest whenever Right wing governments held power both at federal and state levels.

    By Andy Coghlan,

    Right-wing governments may sap some people’s will to live and result in more suicides, conclude studies in Britain and Australia.

    The researchers speculate that losers are more likely to kill themselves in the individualistic, “winner-takes-all” societies favoured by right wing governments, because they are left to fend for themselves. Wide disparities in wealth also sharpen any sense of hopelessness, the researchers argue.

    “If you fail under that ideology, it would accentuate your feelings of failure,” says Mary Shaw, whose team at the University of Bristol analysed suicide trends in England and Wales over the past century.

    “That’s equivalent to one extra suicide for every day of the 20th Century, or two for every day that the Conservatives ruled,” the team write in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

    Britain’s Conservative Party declined to comment on the findings.
    Double trouble

    Shaw and her colleagues found that on average, suicide rates were 17 per cent higher when the Conservatives were in power, compared to the annual average of 103 suicides per million population when opposition parties held office.

    Richard Taylor and his team in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney found similar trends over the past century in New South Wales. When Right-wing governments were in power, men were 17 per cent more likely and women 40 per cent more likely to commit suicide.

    They report that rates were highest whenever Right wing governments held power both at federal and state levels.
    Human Greed is the ugliest think on earth.

  14. Jaquix

    Update this morning: Kristine Keneally chosen as Labor’s candidate for Bennelong! Alexander now faces some stiff competition. A margin of 10% could be whittled away to nothing with a high profile, polished, professional, experienced candidate like this. This gives Labor a good chance of taking Bennelong, giving them 70 seats in parliament, and the Libs back to 74 (after speaker accounted for).

  15. Luke

    Beware these men bearing gifts Bastiaan, Newbury, Paterson offering us a new Queen JB. terrible times ahead.

  16. Jaquix

    Watching 4Corners last night about the internal fighting within the Liberal Party, was struck by the absolute self-absorption, self-centredness and self-satisfaction of all concerned. Not one mentioned the electorate, the people, the voters, a vision or the common good. Nor was a policy mentioned. It was all just totally about them. This is the difference between the parties.

  17. Terry2

    Pauline Hanson used the Senate yesterday to make a party political broadcast to boost her party’s chances in the Queensland election. I’m not sure why the new Senate President didn’t pull her up but maybe it’s his lack of experience that allowed her to use our Senate as her platform.

    Among other things. she laid out her plan to bring down electricity prices [in Queensland] :

    Hanson : “My four-point plan is to build a new coal-fired power station in Queensland to ensure we generate electricity at a globally competitive price; write off billions of dollars spent on gold plating the transmission network, which will immediately drop electricity prices; negotiate the removal of the GST from electricity bills; and end excessive margins made by energy retailers.”

    This coal-fired power station, an LNP idea, is evidently going to adopt low emission technology with carbon capture and storage which will boost the cost enormously : all informed sources have said that this is not a viable proposition compared to renewable technologies and that’s why private enterprise won’t take it on.

    I have no idea how writing down the value of electricity assets will “immediately drop electricity prices”, we’ll have to ask Pauline to enlarge on that.

    GST is a federal tax applied on a national basis so the chances of the federal government exempting electricity is most unlikely and even if they did, this would reduce state revenues flowing from the GST.

    Excessive margins made by retailers means that you have to regulate electricity prices which many Australians would agree with but with a government committed to privatising power assets, I don’t see that happening. Apart from which, in Queensland the electricity retailers are already government owned and their surpluses go back into consolidated revenue.

    Pauline, you are blowing in the wind (again) !

  18. Matters Not

    Terry2 – this article captures the electricity rorts.

    But why would distributors build far more network infrastructure than they need? And why have government-owned distributors built far more infrastructure than private ones, despite having no more demand?

    The answer to this perplexing question is to be found in part in Australia’s “competitive neutrality” policy. This is Orwellian doublespeak for an approach that is neither neutral nor competitive.

    Under this policy, government-owned distributors are regulated as if they are privately financed. This means that when setting regulated prices, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) allows government distributors to charge their captive consumers for a return on their regulated assets, at the same level as if they were privately financed. That is despite the fact that private financing is much more expensive than government funding.

    It’s no surprise that when offered a rate of return that far exceeds the actual cost of finance, government distributors have a powerful incentive to expand their infrastructure for a profit. This “gold-plating” incentive is a well-known in regulatory economics.)

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/bruce-mountain-power-bills-fund-useless-investment/

  19. Photontrace

    I like a lot of what is said in the article. …And there’s that tease again! “10 point common good caveat on all legislation.” Even without any details whatsoever, that seems to be a very attractive idea. I really would love to know the substance of the 10 points you have in mind. I just tried to Google a couple of variations on it but caveat emptor (yuckhhh) seems to be stuck near the top of the list.

    Have I missed where you set out these 10 points in your own words? I hope I don’t have to make them up myself (could I come up with a whole 10? Even four, one for each point of the moral compass, so to speak, would be more than we have now). Or worse still, wait for a politician (more likely their advisor/lobby plant) to formulate the points? John, I would much rather see what you would prefer as the text of these 10 points.

    PS : As an aside, since I got it in the eye from Google on caveat emptor, I have always thought consumer legislation should follow the precept, “Not buyer beware.. Seller and buyer both, trade fair.”

  20. paul walter

    Sad watching Lambie resign. Karma for her worst behaviours, but sad, just the same.

  21. diannaart

    Time for the LNP to put “conserve” back into conservative – well, after they’ve checked on the meaning of the word – preferably by dictionary and not ‘party consultant’.

    Some excellent comments, not the least June M Bullivant OAM – your writing is as clear as it is classy.

    As for Bill Shorten, I have opined on other articles his opportunity to show what he and his party stands for, I share misgivings with John Lord that The danger being that they (Labor) gain office without earning it. And it is highly likely that they will. Increasingly it looks like one of those elections that former leader Bill Hayden described as one that even a drover’s dog could win. Is Labor ready for office is a question we cannot know the answer to. It also must define where its ideology sits.

  22. Terry2

    Before watching 4Corners I was not aware that the hatred for Turnbull by his own party colleagues was so visceral and I have thought about what happens next :

    1.Turnbull asks the GG to dissolve parliament and call an election for January 2018.
    2.The GG uses his Reserve Powers to sack the Turnbull government – unlikely.
    3.The Right faction move on Turnbull, possibly over the summer break and replace him with……Who ?
    4.Turnbull tries to battle through…………..see 3 above.
    5.Labor take Bennelong………see 1 above
    6.Turnbull joins the Labor Party

    What do you think ??

  23. guest

    I am always suspicious of nostalgic memories about the past and how it used to be. The past is a different country we cannot revisit except in our dreams. The world today is a much smaller place and what happens anywhere has immediate effect everywhere. No wonder present day politicians have difficulties dealing with not only local matters, but also impinging matters not within their immediate control.

    As well, the electorate seems to believe that these mere mortal human beings are able to supply every whim and wish dreamed up by the electorate as they complain and bellyache on their perpetual mobile phones.

    Surprise, surprise! You cannot always have what you want, even when someone says you can.

    Then we have the problem of conflicting ideologies and some overlap such that it is hard to pick one from the other – which leads to confusion and a desperate grasping at someone who might be perceived as different, even if they have no proven record. We can name some of those.

    We see confusion amongst members of the one party or coalition. The present Coalition demands energy suppliers (despite the claims of “small government) to bring down the prices – and then tells them to look at a range of energy sources and demands that the suppliers decide how they will employ the mix. At the same time there is scant reference to carbon emissions and the Paris agreement, especially when coal is in the mix and Adani is an agent approved in theory.

    Then we have the accompanying lies and misinformation, especially with regard to “jobs and growth”, such as how many jobs Adani will supply, or how many jobs have been gained when the increase in population exceeds the number of new jobs.

    And then we have a political writer who lives off government subsidies who tells us that electricity prices in SA exceed all energy prices in Oz and possibly the world, when only a few days ago we learnt that electricity prices in SA are now less than those in Vic and NSW.

    Now I do not believe that there was ever a time when politicians did not use a little spin, but we must be careful in the C21st that we do not look carefully around us and call “fake news” and lying for what it is.

    And another thing. All this fiasco about citizenship. Why did candidates not check their papers when they started on the political path – and why did the Electoral Commission not check them? Who was not doing the job?

  24. Jack

    A ‘drovers dog’ election was Howard Vs Keating. It was plain as day who was going to win and Keating tried his best to trip Howard up, yet Howard took the opportunity to introduce financial reform that was good for the country. Sure there are endless arguments for/against the GST, but at least we all actually got something worthwhile.
    Shorten will have this same opportunity by the time the election comes around. Even though I don’t like him, I hope he uses it to announce a policy that will benefit Australia, rather than just window dressing to win. In this narcissistic time we live in, I fear the time of parties/politicians looking beyond their own self interest maybe over

  25. guest

    John Howard was the very person who put me right off the Coalition after voting for them for thirty years. He lied, as one of his team said (“the lying rodent”), he was involved in the unsanctioned Iraq War and had real problems with industrial relations. He lost his own seat, for good reasons.

    Shorten just fell short at the last election, because Turnbull promised so much, which he has not delivered and it shows in the polls.

  26. 245179

    I’m gathering my camping gear and about to squat outside my local polling booth, i want to be first to vote this party of clowns OUT.

  27. Harry

    John,

    I think Bill Shorten and Labor is best not to flesh out a progressive agenda too much as it will merely expose them to attacks from the very conservative Coalition who try to depict just about any slightly “left wing” policies as “dangerous and radical”.

    They will resort to their favourite tactic: scare campaigns, whether about “who will pay for Labor’s spending” or the unions and wage demands.

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