Near the end of August in 2013 Tony Abbott launched the Liberal Party Campaign with a rousing speech full of pithy one-liners and simply jam-packed with heartfelt promises. But so much has happened in the last 31 months that most people have entirely forgotten the raft of promises that were made and the sense of anticipation that we all felt on the change of government.
Of course we were all destined to be disappointed.
In the intervening 31 months Tony Abbot was unceremoniously dumped from office and a new and shinier incumbent has been installed. But does this obviate all the promises made before the last election? Does a change of leader mean that all the prior promises are suddenly off the table?
Certainly we normally take the promises made before an election with a degree of scepticism but at the last election the feeling of scepticism within the community was palpable enough to cut with a knife. All of us were dead sick of political chicanery and we were united only in our wish for a stable government that would do as it promised and would not be constantly enveloped in a permanent sense of crisis and disorder.
So the Abbott opposition was all about promising that the tenor and ethic of government would change, as well as the policies. Everything would be different. Cautiously made promises would be fulfilled in their entirety. No excuses would be entertained. The adults would be back in charge.
Yet while we all suspected that some of the promises that were being made would likely be a little difficult to accomplish – very few of us anticipated a train wreck.
However, since the Liberal Party in opposition spent so much time decrying the dishonesty of the Labor incumbency, and was so eternally ready and willing to make heartfelt promises regarding how their efforts would be so different, I thought it might be informative and enlightening if we all took a trip down memory lane to remember what it was we bought when we elected the LNP government.
Before the election the Liberal Party promised us all that:
- We’ll scrap the carbon tax so your family will be $550 a year better off.
- We’ll abolish the carbon tax so power prices and gas prices will go down.
- We’ll abolish the mining tax so investment and employment will go up.
- We’ll cut the company tax rate because, as the former Treasury Chief has said, the main beneficiaries will be workers.
- We’ll move the workplace relations pendulum back to the sensible centre, restore a strong cop-on-the-beat in the construction industry, and hit dodgy union officials with the same penalties as corporate crooks.
- I want our workers to be the best paid in the world and for that to happen, we have to be amongst the most productive in the world.
- And the motor industry will be saved from Mr Rudd’s $1.8 billion tax on company cars.
- The Australian Building and Construction Commission will be running again, and the true state of Labor’s books will be revealed.
- The NBN will have a new business plan to ensure that every household gains five times current broadband speeds – within three years and without digging up almost every street in Australia – for $60 billion less than Labor.
- By the end of a Coalition government’s first term, the budget will be on-track to a believable surplus.
- And the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be operating in large parts of every state.
- We won’t shirk hard decisions.
- There will be no new spending under a Coalition government that’s not fully-costed and fully-funded.
- That way, we can be confident that the budget will return to surplus as quickly as possible.
- By the end of a Coalition government’s first term, working with the states, teacher standards will be rising and teaching programmes will be improving.
- People who are capable of working will be working, preferably for a wage but if not, for the dole.
- And there will be a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme in place, because factory workers and shop assistants deserve to get their actual wage while they are on leave – just like public servants do.
- There will be two million more jobs, in manufacturing as well as in agriculture, services, education and a still buoyant resources sector.
- Public schools and hospitals will have far more freedom to be as good as their private rivals.
- Childcare will be more affordable and more available to families who need more than one income and who have to cope in a 24/7 economy.
- Within a decade, the budget surplus will be 1 per cent of GDP, defence spending will be 2 per cent of GDP, the private health insurance rebate will be fully restored, and each year, government will be a smaller percentage of our economy.
- You could trust us in opposition and you will be able to trust us in government.
- You don’t expect miracles; just a government that is competent and trustworthy and a prime minister who doesn’t talk down to you.
- And I’m confident that your expectations can be more than met.
- An incoming Coalition cabinet will respect the limits of government as well as its potential and will never seek to divide Australian against Australian on the basis of class, gender, or where people were born.
- When I look at workers and managers, I don’t see people trying to rip each other off but people trying to get ahead together as a team.
- When I look at the benefits that all Australians rightly enjoy such as Medicare and good public schools and hospitals, I don’t see “middle class welfare” but the hallmarks of a society that gives families a fair go.
- This election is all about trust.
- Who do you trust to reduce power prices and gas prices?
- Who do you trust to get debt and deficit under control?
- I make this pledge to you the Australian people.
- I will govern for all Australians.
- I want to lift everyone’s standard of living.
- I want to see wages and benefits rise in line with a growing economy.
- I want to see our hospitals and schools improving as we invest the proceeds of a well-run economy into the things that really count.
- -I won’t let you down.
- This is my pledge to you.
- The last time Mr Rudd was prime minister, his own party sacked him.
- When a desperate party put him back, one third of the cabinet resigned rather than serve with him.
- So my question is this: if the people who’ve worked with Mr Rudd don’t trust him, why should you?
- We can’t go on like this.
- As you know from bitter experience, if you reward bad behaviour, you get more of it.
- If you reward failure, you just get more failure…
- To Labor voters wondering why your party has sold its soul to the Greens; to Green voters wondering why your party has embraced socialism over environmentalism; to independent voters wondering why your MP has sided with a bad government, to everyone who has been let down and embarrassed by the circus in Canberra,
- I say: give my team a chance.
- I’m confident that our best years are ahead of us, but not if we have another three years like the last six.
- Choose change, and the last six years will soon seem like an aberration.
- Choose change, and we’ll send a signal to people in authority that we can forgive honest mistakes but not persistent incompetence and deception.
- Choose change, and there are few problems that cannot be improved.
- But the only way to choose change is to vote for your Liberal and National candidate.
- We have the plan, we have the team and we are ready.
And of course all of these aspirations were garnished with:
- “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS”
So how do you think the Liberal party has fared?
How many of these promises were fulfilled?
Can we ever again trust anything that any professional politician might ever say?
In recent years it seems that every time a politician has promised the Australian public the moon, all they have delivered are moon-shadows. So maybe this list of promises is as much an indictment of the gullibility of the Australian voting public as it is of our facile political leaders?
But then it does seem a bit harsh to blame the voting public for the woeful quality of our politicians of recent years. After all it’s a hard to imagine what we could all have done that could be so outrageously wrong that we could possibly deserve the sort of political leadership we have been provided with during the last two incumbencies.
Anyway: here we go again…
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