COVID-19: Where was it born: China, the United…

Continued from: COVID-19: Where was it born: China, the United States or…

We live in shadowy times and white men…

As a man who is but months away from turning 80 I…

An open letter to Scott Morrison, PM

Mr Morrison,Do you realise how much better off you are than the…

The Hypocrisies of Recognition: The Supreme Court, Native…

The Supreme Court of the United States has barely had time to…

Bedtime Stories #1

I stare into time’s eyes … She stares back at me. Actually,…

JAGGED #4

Follows on from JAGGED #3Chapter 11: I believe you. I hear you.…

I’ve never been to America

Foreword: Australia has endless flaws and whilst I’m not going to paint…

Information and critical thinking do matter

By 2353NM  When Prime Minister Morrison was advised there was the risk of…

«
»
Facebook

Tag Archives: LNP

When the PM normalises lying

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.” Tony Abbott, August 22, 2011

Every time Abbott lies to the citizens of this country we become increasingly disaffected, and not only from our Prime Minister, but from the institution he represents. Abbott has normalised the discourse of lies. He has taken the dishonesty of politicians to a whole new level. We barely expect anything else from him, and from his fellow politicians. Under the leadership of our mendacious Prime Minister, we have increasingly abandoned hope of fairness, straightforwardness, belief and trust. Our Prime Minister doesn’t think we are worthy of the truth.

One of the many unpleasant effects of being lied to is that the liar insults and patronises me by creating a false reality that I have to inhabit, until I discover I’m the victim of deception.The liar denies me the right to know the truth, a serious offence against me, because truth is something no one has the right to deny me.

Whether it’s on a personal or a political level, lying to me signifies the liar doesn’t consider me as entitled to the truth as is he or she. This infantilises me, is disrespectful to me, and denies me the knowledge I need to make informed decisions about my life. There’s little more insulting than being lied to, kept in the dark with lies of omission, and intentionally misled because the liar doesn’t consider you capable of handling the truth, or is acting entirely in their own self-interest because you knowing the truth will in some way threaten them.

The Prime Minister of our country, Tony Abbott, has never made any secret of his ambivalent relationship with truth. There is his notorious assertion that nothing he says is “gospel” truth unless it’s written down.

There’s his prescriptive declaration that “It is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.” While this isn’t necessarily an endorsement of lying, it is a ruthless and callous prescription for relationship with one’s fellow humans. It recommends that one do that which one desires and if it backfires apologise, but it isn’t necessary under the terms of Abbott’s prescriptive to negotiate with or communicate intention to others, prior to taking an action. This has a similar effect to lying, in that it assumes an inferiority of some kind on the part of another that doesn’t require Abbott to enter into an equal, respectful relationship in which another’s opinions and wishes count for the same as his own.

We have a liar for a leader. When the lies start at the top, there’s little hope truth will ever see the light of day. Abbott is leading us into an abyss of normalised deception that will damage every one of us, because when dedicated liars are in power, the country will inevitably lose its way. If you don’t think this country is losing its way, you’re dreaming.

First published on Jennifer’s blog No Place for Sheep

Wild Rivers No More: Newman Decision Threatens the Cape

This week, the Queensland Government finalised their repeal of the Wild Rivers Act.

Introduced in 2005 by the Labor government, the Act aimed to protect Queensland’s 13 pristine rivers from the threat of bauxite mining, CSG drilling, major irrigation plans and damming.

The Queensland Government had its repeal in their sights for some time. A draft Cape York Regional Plan was released by the new LNP government in November 2013 which outlined a plan of economic growth through industrialisation, resource sector development and the removal of existing ‘green tape’.

Described it as “flawed, a fraud and a fail”, the government was accused of ignoring areas recognised for their ecological significance, and weakening existing protections.

The draft plan evolved into the Regional Planning Interests Act, which will replace the Wild Rivers legislation.  According to QLD Environment Minister Andrew Powell, the strict environmental protections of Wild Rivers will be maintained, but he does not go so far as to say mining and industry will be ruled out.

“The Government must now, as per the Wild Rivers Act before it, look at any development in that area at a higher environmental bar than what we would anywhere else in the state.” – Andrew Powell

Concerns over Repeal

Under the new legislation, formerly protected zones are termed ‘Strategic Environmental Areas’. Planning approvals for these areas will now be made by either local or State-level government, depending on the nature of the development. While these areas will be protected from some forms of exploitative industry (such as open-cut mining), there are provisions for environmentally damaging activities like strip mining, gas exploration/production and broadacre cropping.

“The repeal of the Wild Rivers Act will once again expose sensitive, pristine rivers to destructive development threats… In its place… weaker policies, regulation and ever-changing maps which will operate without any parliamentary oversight and will lead to arbitrary decision-making.” – Tim Seelig, Wilderness Society

The Channel Country is an area in south west Queensland, also covering parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory. Three protected Wild Rivers run through this region – Georgina, Diamantina and Cooper Creek.  Many Channel Country landholders have reacted strongly against the repeal, saying that the weaker legislation is merely opening up the doors for mining companies to exploit the land.

“My opinion of it is that it’s much weaker legislation that will make it easy for the mining and resources companies to trash our rivers and floodplains in western Queensland, if and when when they want to.” – Grazier Angus Emmott

South Australia’s Minister for Water and the Environment Ian Hunter has also expressed concern, worried about the impact of the weakened legislation on his State’s water supply.

“The changes made to the management of these river networks in Queensland could have serious impacts…. We’ve repeatedly expressed concerns about what these changes will mean for local communities – and are deeply concerned about what this may mean for flows downstream, groundwater recharge and the base level of flows in the Lake Eyre Basin.” – Minister Ian Hunter

Cape York heritage should be protected

The wilderness of the Cape York Peninsula is one of Australia’s most precious.  One of the last wild places on earth it is a biodiversity hotspot, home to undisturbed tropical forests, wetlands and over 300 species of endemic flora and fauna.  The Cape is also a region of rich indigenous culture and heritage, spanning 40,000 years.

Cape York is also one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of Australia, particularly for the indigenous population whose living standards are far below national averages. Roughly two thirds of the Cape identify as indigenous.  A history of dispossession, forced removal from their lands, struggle for land rights, and the lack of economic and educational opportunities have contributed to the serious indigenous disadvantage which exists in the Cape today.

Conservationists have long argued the case for a World Heritage listing for the Cape.  In 2007, the Queensland Government created the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act which set the terms for the conservation and appropriate development of the region.  This was backed up by the Federal Government’s promise to,

“work with the Queensland Government and traditional owners to pursue World Heritage listing for appropriate areas of Cape York”

But despite promising to protect Cape York during the last election, the QLD Government is now eager to exploit the Cape’s rich mineral wealth and open up the region for resource exploitation.

Despite missing the February 1st deadline to submit a nomination to UNESCO, Environment Minister Greg Hunt assured Australians that the government still supports a heritage listing for the “best of the best” natural areas.  Greens Senator Larissa Waters is sceptical, arguing that this really means protection for areas of no value to the mining industry.

Photo: Wilderness Society

Mixed reactions from Indigenous communities

Indigenous communities were divided over the Wild Rivers legislation, many celebrating the repeal.

Prominent indigenous figures Marcia Langton and Noel Pearson opposed the introduction of the Wild Rivers Act on the grounds that it removed the ability for traditional owners to make decisions about their land, depriving them of economic opportunities.

While there were provisions within the Wild Rivers Act for traditional owners to engage in activities like hunting, fishing, eco-tourism and fire management, large scale development was forbidden.

Many indigenous communities also felt they were not properly consulted during the process.  Others have argued that the majority of traditional owners would not agree with large scale development occurring on their land, so supported measures to keep big mining companies out.

The Queensland government will argue that the new Act better suits the needs of the Cape’s indigenous population, allowing economic activity in the region to diversity and grow.  But while the government speaks of the need to diversify economic activity in the region, development plans seem to be focused on opening up areas to further mining and intensive agriculture.

An alternative model for development

There is an alternative to the LNP Government’s quick-fix, exploitative model.  Conservationists favour working with the land instead of against it, arguing that Cape York can be a world leader in sustainability.

Attaining a World Heritage Listing is central to this plan. World Heritage protection is a flexible regime and will not lock away the entire Cape, protecting some areas while other lands are used for culturally and environmentally appropriate economic purposes.  It recognises the Cape’s long history of sustainable indigenous land management, and that strong indigenous partnerships are central to any successful strategy.

A conservation economy would be central to this strategy.

Sadly, anything resembling a conservation economy is far away as the government continue on their “dig it up, cut it down” path of short term economic gain.  By removing existing environmental safeguards and opening up sensitive lands to damaging resource exploitation, the Regional Planning Interests Act will fail the marginalised Australians of the Cape.

More LNP interference by LNP’s Michael Hart at Burleigh?

The following article was written by me and published on Independent Australia at the beginning of the 2013 federal election campaign.

Gail Hislop is now actively campaigning for Labor in Burleigh. As reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin recently, she has been subject once again to what seems to be LNP interference. She’s now banned from holding a community stall at Burleigh Farmers Markets.

Just another example of their bully boy tactics.

I was with her on the day. A low key small stall. All requirements were met and there were no dramas.

After being told she could stall once a month she was informed she could no longer do so after just one stall.

If she can’t stall, local LNP MP Michael Hart shouldn’t be allowed to either.

The LNP have form here.

Gail Hislop says:

“It appears there is some underhandd white anting of my campaign going on.

“If the LNP believe they are doing such a good job what are they afraid of?

“It is all about power and control. They are losing power as the people are standing up against them and the Newman LNP Government.”

Note my predictions regarding the possibility of the Abbott Government sadly ring true too.

Gail Hislop is the Labor candidate for McPherson. I have been very active in helping her campaign.

In the name of transparency, I have been quite open in the past that I am a Labor member and former Labor candidate. I’m proud of these facts.

I write this time about a very disappointing occurrence that happened last Saturday. The reason I do so is because I think it is emblematic of my wider concerns about the LNP Newman Government and Tony Abbott’s Coalition.

An important aspect of any campaign is community engagement. For months now, Gail has been working hard to get the message out in the community about her federal campaign and listen to voters.

As part of this concerted effort she has been regularly stalling at the local Burleigh markets.

She takes along a table and some chairs, some signs as well as petitions to be signed and information to provide the public. I join her regularly to offer my support in any way I can.

She sits at her stall – from 9am to midday – waiting for people to approach her to discuss issues that concern them. A very laid back and welcoming approach.

The LNP are often there doing their own thing and that is their right.

There had been no dramas, until last Saturday . . .

hislop

Image: Queensland Labor

I arrived first, well before anyone else. Eventually a few volunteers started to arrive and then Gail and the gear arrived.

We staked out our usual spot, that had been sought through the proper channels with market management as always.

While we were in the very early stages of setting up we were approached by a woman. She was openly hostile and seemed to want to have a fight rather than talk calmly about the issues we were discussing. I tried to engage her and calm her down but she wasn’t having any of it. I stood my dig. She stormed off and I thought nothing more of it.

Eventually other volunteers came to the realisation they had seen her hanging around the tent of Michael Hart, the LNP Member for Burleigh.

Just as I was processing this information we had market staff tell us they had a problem and we had to leave. We quizzed them and were told Michael Hart wasn’t happy with us being there or about the signs we had with us.

There were extended talks and eventually it was decided we could stay as long as we moved to the back of the markets. We were disappointed but happy we could remain and support our candidate.

Gail has her own thoughts on the events:

‘This really is about control and not wanting the Gold Coast to hear any other voice other than the LNP. I believe it is up to the voters to decide. They should not use stand over tactics and try to gag a candidate.

‘We live in a democratic society and people should not be fearful of standing up for what they believe in.

‘Bullying simply does not work and I will not be intimidated by an adult schoolyard bully.

‘Michael Hart and the LNP may be known to gag public servants but they won’t gag me.’

This was quite frankly one of the most appalling displays from an MP I have ever experienced.

I have since become aware that market staff where treated extremely badly by him and his tent as opposed to our group, though while bemused, complied with all requests.

Michael Hart has seemed very reluctant in the media to admit any fault despite the fact that Gail and her team had no interaction with him. His actions were completely uncalled for and heavy handed.

He has said:

“They had nasty, nasty slogans saying (Queensland Premier) Campbell Newman was closing down hospitals which is an absolute lie.

This is either an out and out lie or a severe misunderstanding of what the signs were about.

The signs read “Save public hospitals”. Nasty, nasty stuff apparently?

This is nothing that said Premier Newman was shutting down hospitals. It is about her concerns that he will seek to privatise – as he has done on the Sunshine Coast – and sack more public servants in health.

Her concerns seem well founded given recent reports that Gold Coast Hospital patients are at risk due to changes the LNP Government has made.

Michael Hart also says:

I highlighted it to them that these people were politicking, (the market organisers) made the rest of the decisions themselves.

Market staff were very clear we were being approached, moved and given directives due to Michael Hart’s requests.

If he is trying to tell me that LNP stalls at the markets isn’t “politicking” I actually can’t take that seriously.

I have since written to Premier Newman requesting his official position on our ability to freely use whatever signage we desire free from interference. I am yet to receive a response.

These kind of actions by Michael Hart and the various other LNP MP scandals are emblematic of a Newman Government that is more scandal ridden and on the nose every day.

In my view, the actions and conduct of Tony Abbott over the last 3 years have not been dissimilar to the display I was treated to on Saturday.

To find out more about Gail’s Burleigh campaign to remove the LNP’s Michael Hart and support her, visit her Facebook Page or donate to her campaign visit her campaign bio page.

Recent articles from Matthew Donovan:

Bolt and Jones achieve full froth in defence of their friend Tony Abbott

Time to end Tony Abbott’s deceitful debt scare campaign

Shock jock fantasy land vs reality

John Lord’s Election Diary Wed 24 July

PLans

 

 

 

 

The Election Date

Another day and we are no closer to knowing the election date. I am still punting for August 31. This would allow the PM to attend the G20 on Sept 6. I don’t think he would like to miss a photo opportunity of that proportion.

A Baby Born

Congratulations to all the parents who had the good fortune to bring newborn babies into the world yesterday. Including the royals. As a Republican, I find it difficult to understand how so much adulation can be expressed for people who are no more remarkable than other human beings. And in many instances do little to enhance the society we live in.

 

Another Poll

The Essential Poll has the parties split along similar lines to Newspoll. 51% LNP and 49% Labor. This is a link to it and I would suggest you give it careful examination because it is very broad and extends beyond just a two-party preferred analysis. http://essentialvision.com.au/category/essentialreport

I have always been of the view that your right to vote is the gift that democracy gives you. Therefore I am often puzzled by the flippant manner in which the electorate treat this right. In the essential poll people are asked to identify the party they trust to handle various issues. What astonishes me in the Essential questionnaire is the percentage of people who answer ‘’Don’t Know’’. To a degree, this bares out my belief that generally speaking Australians pay little attention to how politics affects them. They list the three most important issues as, The Economy, Health, and Jobs with education coming in fourth.

Labor has a good message to sell on all these yet when asked who is better to manage them the LNP fares about even and is rated considerably higher on managing the economy in spite of the world’s recognition of the government’s excellent performance. I would urge everyone to examine the Essential Research. It can only ever be a guide but it is never the less very revealing. The one thing that Essential does reinforce is the unpopularity of the opposition leader.

My thought for the day.

‘’People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life (other than what they do in bed) and should be more interested. But there is a political malaise that is deep-seated”

Better Schools

The signing on of the Catholic Schools Association to the Gonski reforms is developing into a major problem for the opposition. This now gives the government 60% of school children and with Victoria close to signing Tony Abbott may be forced to take it on. Christopher is now looking rather foolish. Three years to formulate a policy and the best they can say is to quote Pyne. ‘’Until something better comes along we are happy with what we have’’. There is no greater need than the need for equality of education. But conservatives certainly don’t see it that way.

Asylum Seekers

Here is a link to my point of view on the subject, For the Greater Good.  In it, I explain that I also would like to see the problem through the prism of my idealism but at the same time, I try to see a greater good. There have been a number of adverse comments to my point of view but what disappoints me is that people cannot seem to grasp the politics of it.

Alan Austin’s Election Quiz

In his speech on Monday to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne, Tony Abbott said, “The Howard/Costello Government … presided over what now seems like a golden age of prosperity – that’s been lost.”

Is this true?

On how many of these 25 variables was Australia performing better during the Howard/Costello years than now?

  1. income – GDP per person
  2. GNI income per person
  3. interest rates
  4. income disparity
  5. inflation
  6. health care
  7. pension levels
  8. superannuation
  9. personal tax levels
  10. company tax rate
  11. indirect taxation rate
  12. international credit ratings
  13. economic freedom
  14. personal savings
  15. current account as a % of GDP
  16. foreign exchange reserves
  17. value of the local currency cf the US$
  18. value of the local currency of the euro and the pound
  19. productivity
  20. overall quality of life
  21. balance of trade current
  22. balance of trade history
  23. terms of trade
  24. government 10-year bond rate
  25. world ranking on economic management

(a) twelve, about half
(b) only four
(c) two
(d) one
(e) none
The answer to yesterday’s question is D

THANKS TO
Kaye Lee for her very comprehensive superannuation analysis.

I leave you with this thought:
We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves, unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self-interest groups.

Diary

Tony Abbott’s shaky campaign – beginning of the end?

Malcolm Turnbull with Tony Abbott (Photo: Sydney Morning Herald)

Malcolm Turnbull with Tony Abbott (Photo: Sydney Morning Herald)

Tony Abbott has spent most of this year hiding from scrutiny and waiting for what the media say is a certain election win later this year — but have the wheels started to fall off his campaign in the last few weeks? Matthew Donovan reports.

TAKE NOTE of this date. 10 April 2013.

In my opinion that is the date the Coalition’s campaign started to crumble around them.

The much hyped release of their NBN alternative could hardly have gone worse. Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull – or as Tony likes to call him, Mr Broadband – were clearly out of their depth at the awkward policy announcement of their “faster, cheaper and more affordable” broadband plan.

It was nothing short of cringe-worthy.

The content of the plan was thoroughly panned across the board and social media had a field day. Within hours, the tag #fraudband had been adopted on Twitter and memes decrying its lack of vision were springing up by the minute. Experts were quick to reject the idea that we shouldn’t take fibre to the home (FTTH) but rather to the node (FTTN) and then use the existing copper network, yesterday’s technology, to reach the home.

It will deliver much slower speeds than Labor’s plan and quickly become redundant as technology and demand outpaces its roll out. An outcome that clearly isn’t satisfactory for Australia’s data and technology hungry consumers.

Not the best of starts when trying to address one of their greatest weaknesses — credible costed policies.

Within two weeks, Tony Abbott plunged his party into another publicly embarrassing situation, this time, asylum seeker policy.

On 23 April, he unveiled what he hoped would be a stunt to wedge Labor. Sadly, for him, it blew up in his face almost immediately.

He happily posed in front of a large roadside sign that stated 639 “illegals” had arrived in Australia since Labor took over, adding:

“Labor have lost control of our borders.”

The response from some in the media was swift and pointed.

Jane McAdam from The National Times clearly wasn’t impressed [author’s emphasis]:

You cannot apply for a refugee visa before you leave a country because a “refugee” is, by definition, someone outside their country. Even if you cross a border, Australian embassies abroad cannot issue refugee visas to those on the move – such as people fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan. Further, it is highly unlikely that refugees will be able to get a visa of any other kind, such as a tourist or work visa.

For example, an Iraqi who applies to an Australian embassy for such a visa will likely be screened out, precisely because of the assumption that they will claim asylum on arrival in Australia. It is a catch-22.

For these reasons, the Refugee Convention prohibits countries from imposing penalties on asylum seekers who enter without a passport or visa. Indeed, in some cases arrival without documentation may in fact help to demonstrate that a refugee claim is compelling and credible.

Article 31 is one of the most fundamental elements of the Refugee Convention precisely because it underscores the right of people in distress to seek protection – even if their actions constitute a breach of a country’s domestic immigration laws.

Indeed, even the two international treaties on human trafficking and smuggling both make clear that being a victim of trafficking or smuggling must not negatively affect a person’s right to claim asylum and receive protection.

The opposition’s use of the term “illegal” is designed to tarnish people’s perceptions about the legitimacy of asylum seekers’ claims. It is language that dehumanises and criminalises. Invoking it is either ignorant or deliberately mischievous, since the act of seeking asylum is not a crime, but the right of every individual.

This is nothing more than John Howard style dog-whistling and, happily, Abbott was challenged about these assertions at a press conference.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxlunUpz-Nc] (more…)

Why I vote Labor

I first wrote this popular post mid 2012, but with the election this year I took the liberty of updating it and reinforcing why I vote Labor.

I was too young to vote for Gough Whitlam (the first time) and until then I had no interest in politics, but it wasn’t hard to get swept up in the wave of excitement of his anticipated victory. I would have voted for him. The Vietnam War was still raging and kids my age and older were dreading their 20th birthday and the subsequent prospect of conscription. We didn’t like the idea of fighting another senseless war. I think we were the first generation to take that stand.

Although I still wasn’t interested in politics in 1975 I voted for Gough as I wasn’t happy at the way he was dismissed by John Kerr (with the help of Fraser, in my opinion).

I stayed with Labor until the early nineties. Yes, I voted for Hewson and I voted for Howard. Hewson’s loss disappointed me, probably because at the time I was not a big fan of Keating’s, while Howard’s victory brought out the champagne, as by this time I quite despised Keating (for his arrogance). In my eyes Howard couldn’t do anything wrong. He was perfect.

It wasn’t long, however, before I would mumble to myself: “Come back Paul. All is forgiven”.

With the benefit of hindsight, looking back at their prime ministerships both history and I will/have judged Keating to be the far better of the two. And by a country mile!

But I digress.

After securing work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) it soon became obvious to me that Howard was nothing but a political opportunist. Aboriginal people became political footballs and he soon caught on that ATSIC bashing provided him with the Midas touch. Despite having at his disposal skilled policy makers and Aboriginal people with their pulse on community needs and real contemporary issues, he found it was better politics to be driven by media demands and editorials. There were more votes in helping with the bashing than formulating some real beneficial programs to help these marginalised and disadvantaged members of our society.

It was sad having to visit remote Indigenous communities and make excuses as to why they were continually being ignored by Canberra. “Oh how different it might have been under Keating” I would silently mutter.

The disappointment I detected in the Howard Government in remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia was nothing compared to the detestation of him I felt within the Public Service when moving to Canberra. Frankly, it was quite a surprise and one that found me asking questions as to why.

The answers weren’t that complex.

From working closely with him and his government, Public Servants saw first hand what a mean-spirited, conniving, lying bunch of pricks they were. It didn’t take me long to discover this either. Policies were formulated to ensure their own political survival while ignoring the needs of wider Australians. Lies were told to the media about how successful their policies were when in fact they were failing miserably. Public Servants were bullied into providing them with confidential information in order to secure a political advantage over the then Opposition. I am not at liberty to disclose what I witnessed, but let me say that in my eyes Howard was still perfect. The perfect asshole, that is.

I often wished that those people interstate who still worshiped him could come to work in the Public Service and see first-hand for themselves what a miserable turd he actually was. It’s a pity that the truth never ventured past the boundaries of Canberra.

On the Monday morning after he lost office, the sight of public servants going about their business with a spring in their steps and a smile on their faces gave Canberra a good feel about it. The bullying had stopped and the Public Service was again apolitical, which is how it should be.

But it was after they lost office that I saw how miserable and mean-spirited this Liberal Party is.

I can not give exact details, but I was involved in formulating many policies that were aimed at assisting both disadvantaged and mainstream Australians. To see something finally being done for the wider community was inspiring. Sadly, the programs went nowhere or somewhere at a snail’s pace, keeping disadvantaged Australians disadvantaged. Why? Because the Opposition made every attempt possible to ruin these programs because the delivery of them would bring credit to the Government. And naturally, the Opposition would then shout to the media that this Government was doing nothing and the wider community started to nod in agreement. If the wider community knew of the billions of dollars that were wasted because of the Opposition’s tactics they might not have nodded so obligingly.

At about this time it was very easy to become demoralised as a Public Servant; working your arse off to get this country moving then watch everything crumble because the Liberals didn’t want it to move. They exhibited no interest whatsoever for the community or its needs. Adopting Howard’s manipulative trait, they were only interested in ruining a duly elected Government and having parties in The Lodge. They haven’t changed much, have they?

I’ve seen enough of the Liberal Party in my dozen or so years as a Canberran to carry a hatred for them for many years yet. I’m definitely Labor to the core and not afraid to admit it.

I couldn’t care less about all the media speculation of ‘the faceless men’ or ‘union hacks’ of ‘leadership speculation’. I couldn’t care less when people scream that the ‘new’ Labor has drifted from its traditional base. I like the Labor of now. I ignore the rants from the rabid right that this Government is ‘toxic’ or that Julia Gillard is the worst Prime Minister ever. It’s all shit, spoken by ignorant fools.

I can also take the abuse and taunts from right-wing nut jobs over my political leaning. I don’t care if I’m the last Labor voter in the country, for I’m not changing.

This is not to say that I’m entirely happy with the current Government or Julia Gillard, but these are over issues that don’t affect me personally, such as gay marriage and the refugee impasse. I’d like to see gay marriage legalised and I’d like to see ‘boat people’ processed here in Australia. On the latter, I don’t like the way they’ve played into the Liberal’s grubby hands on the asylum seeker crisis.

I also think that since 2007 Labor have done a lousy job selling itself. Here they could take a leaf out of John Howard’s book of telling anybody with a microphone or a TV camera how good they are. Howard drummed it into us, and we heard it that many times that many actually believed it.

It’s the same manner Tony Abbott uses to shout to everybody how bad the Gillard Government is. And the friendly media are happy to keep printing his lies.

Again I’m digressing.

The point is, I will always vote for a party that puts Australians first and there is only one party that has shown me they have that commitment: the Australian Labor Party.

Can I really believe that the LNP would put ordinary Australians first? Can I really believe they’d be a better alternative for pensioners, parents or minority groups? Can I really believe they’d offer a better system for education, health or technology? No.

Can I believe that they would offer a better form of government for the upper class, the media barons or the mining giants? Yes.

I repeat: I will always vote for a party that puts Australians first and there is only one party that has shown me they have that commitment … and that’s the Australian Labor Party.

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!

Donate Button

Interviewer – Good morning, on today’s show we have a representative from the Liberal Party who promises to reveal his name closer to the election, but wishes to be known as Mr Pink, for this interview. Good morning, Mr Pink, and what’s in the Real Solutions Document. Mr Pink – Good morning, well, Terry, real…

Read more

The Scourge of the Swing Voter

mandateHappy Australia Day! Last night I went to the inaugural Adelaide Wonk Drinks. It was, as promised, heaps good. I had my very first offline Twitter argument, which was interesting. This particular argument reminded me why I would prefer to debate a die-hard right-winger than an ‘undecided voter’. At least the right-wingers know what they want and understand immediately what I want, and we can disagree to our hearts’ delight. But an undecided swing voter who seems to be tempted to use his valuable democratic right to deliver an informal vote is, in my opinion a very frustrating person. What would the people of Syria think?

The reasoning that this particular undecided voter gave for his indecision was an assortment of arguments that I think can fairly be filed under the heading of there’s no discernable difference between Labor and the Liberal National Party. I guess it really depends who is doing the discerning. And if you’re just assessing your individual life experience under either party, instead of looking at the way their policies affect society as a whole, then I would argue that you’re evaluating the parties’ differences through a far too narrow, short-term view.

The idea that we’re just as well off or just as badly off under either party is quite a trendy response to politics of late. It’s the same attitude that most of the mainstream media seems to hold – politicians can’t be trusted and the outcomes of their policies are not so different that they’re worth analysing or even discussing – a pox on both your houses. In my view this is a load of bollocks. I can’t help but notice that those who propagate the notion that the parties are no different from each other are also the ones who enjoy patronising the views of anyone who they view to be ‘rusted on’. To support and campaign for a political party these days seems to be akin to being viewed as a ‘fanatic’. Or as my sparring partner said last night ‘a barracker’. I was told that people like me, who obviously support one party passionately over another, are acting as if the Labor party is a football club. I am in fact a one-eyed supporter of a football club and so I find this suggestion particularly irritating. I am very passionate about my football club and my politics, but my support of the Port Adelaide Football Club and my support of the Labor Party are too entirely different beasts.

The choice of which football club I support was made at a young age. Choice is probably the wrong word here. I inherited the club from my father, who inherited it from his father. I was ‘rusted on’ to the club from birth. But choice is the most important word when it comes to supporting a political party. Because that’s what politics is all about – one option versus another. To say that both choices are the same is blatantly untrue. If you’re trying to find similarities between the Labor Party and the Liberal National Party, sure, you’ll find many. You’ll also find times (not so many recently) when decisions are made jointly by the government and the opposition in a bi-partisan approach. But ultimately, the entire reason that there are two major parties in Australia is because one is progressive and one is right-wing. Those who think they are being smug and clever, or winning some award for cynicism by proclaiming that both parties have come so close to the middle that there is no longer daylight between them, need to take a closer look. And they need to consider their own values and ideas in relation to the policy agenda of each party.

As an example, let’s use the policy area of the environment. As a progressive voter and a supporter of action to reduce the catastrophic effects of climate change, I will support the major party which is most likely to implement policies that align with these values. Many will argue that the Greens are a better choice in this policy area, and that may be true. But ultimately, a Greens voter still needs to choose between Labor and the LNP when assigning preferences, even if it is just the decision as to who gets the last number on the ballot paper. Since the last election, the Labor Party has implemented a Carbon Price. There are many voters who think this policy didn’t go far enough, and that’s a valid argument to have. But when choosing between the policy of Labor – action on climate change – and the policy of Abbott’s Liberal National Party – scrapping the Carbon Price – it’s blatantly obvious that the two parties are poles apart and my choice is an easy one to make. My adversary, the undecided voter, was really overreaching on this topic. He said that he wants action on Climate Change too, but whatever Tony Abbott says, as Prime Minister he won’t be able to repeal the Carbon Price, so it ultimately doesn’t matter who you vote for. Really? Is this not like saying ‘I like apples, and I don’t like bananas, but this banana doesn’t really taste like a banana so it doesn’t matter if I eat a banana instead of an apple’. This is nonsensical.

And what about the topic of redistribution of wealth, something else I am very passionate about. When I am assessing the effect Labor’s policies will have on social and economic equality in Australia, versus the LNP’s policies, it’s obvious to me which party is offering the outcome that most closely aligns with my values. For example, the Mining Tax is an important reform designed to share the wealth from the natural resources that we all own. The Labor party introduced this policy, the LNP have vowed to scrap it. It’s probably a good time to also mention that I don’t consider middle class welfare to be a policy of wealth redistribution. Wealth distribution maybe, but not redistribution.

Another policy area that is important to me is education. Access for all to quality education is vital for social equity. The Gonski policy proposals more closely align with my ideals in the area of education policy than anything I’ve ever heard the Liberals say on the topic. But does this really surprise anyone? The very definition of being right-wing means that you prefer ‘small government’ over ‘big government’, and small government invariably means cuts to government funding for education, health and welfare.

The attitude ‘there is no difference between them’ has resulted in a lot of angry Queensland and Victorian voters. It’s a bit late now to remind them that a protest vote against the Labor party will help deliver a conservative alternative. A lot of Queenslanders and Victorians who voted for their right wing party now appear shocked that these right wing governments are executing a right wing agenda. Cuts to education funding, cuts to public service jobs in the area of health; slash and burn, and Newman’s version of austerity, not stimulus. But can you really blame Newman and Baillieu for doing what they were given a mandate to do? If the voters were too uninformed to understand the policy agenda of conservative governments, they’ve got no one to blame but themselves. This is a really tough way to learn that the two parties are not the same, and that the outcomes of their policies are completely different.

It might sound trendy and intellectual to deny the very simple concept of choice between two opposing sets of political principles. It might seem simplistic for me to say that my choice between Labor and Liberal National is an easy one based on which platform best aligns to my vision for the country. But I really do find the choice incredibly simple. This does not mean that I barrack for the Labor Party. It does not mean that I think that everything the party does is perfect (as many things the party does are clearly far from perfect). It doesn’t mean that I agree with every single policy that the party develops, nor does it mean that I blindly support everything that Labor members say. I’m not a mouthpiece for the Labor Party. I have not been brainwashed to adopt their ideas and policies from some propaganda machine. But I make a considered choice between two different options. The Labor Party is just a vessel for me to get the Australia I want, not the other way around. Going back to the football club example – I was a Port Supporter before I ever watched a game of football. But I was a progressive before I chose a political party to support.

By Victoria Rollison

Scroll Up