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Well-being and security for all or wealth and privilege for a few – Labor and the LNP are far from the same.

Australians are generally despondent about the state of politics in this country. Daily scandals, both personal and political, fill the airwaves causing many people to tar politicians and parties with the same brush.

“They’re all the same” is an understandable response when confronted with evidence of dodgy donations, branch-stacking, pork-barrelling, factional in-fighting and rewards, expense rorting, prevarication, backstabbing, poor personal judgement, rampant sexual harassment and workplace bullying.

Disillusionment with the two major parties, or perhaps the inadequacy of some of their individual members, is causing people to look elsewhere to minor parties or independents.

But the reality is that after the next election, either Labor or the Liberal/National coalition will form government and that will determine our direction for the immediate future with consequences for the long term.

Whilst we may well have reason to complain about individual policies and politicians, the evidence shows a stark difference between the two contenders for government.

It has, almost invariably, been Labor governments that have introduced policies that have made real societal change.

The Australian Labor Commonwealth government led by Andrew Fisher introduced a national aged pension in 1908, a national invalid disability pension in 1910, and a national maternity allowance in 1912.

During the Second World War, Australia under a Labor government enacted national schemes for child endowment in 1941, a widows’ pension in 1942, a wife’s allowance in 1943, additional allowances for the children of pensioners in 1943, and unemployment, sickness, and special benefits in 1945.

The only mention the Coalition get on the Wikipedia page Social Security in Australia History is the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 which introduced a demerit-point system for not meeting welfare obligations and the infamous and apparently illegal Robodebt. “As of June 2018, former social security recipients who owe a debt to Centrelink will not be allowed to travel outside Australia until they have repaid their debt, with interest.”

Whitlam gave funding to non-government schools and abolished fees for university.

Bob Hawke introduced Medicare.

Paul Keating gave us the Superannuation Guarantee.

Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generation, ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and got us through the GFC with early stimulus.

Julia Gillard gave us paid parental leave, the NBN, the NDIS and a carbon-pricing mechanism that everyone concedes would have been the cheapest and most effective way to reduce emissions.

Most of these things were fiercely opposed by the Coalition.

Repeated smear campaigns and draconian legislation have undermined the effectiveness of unions – the only groups where workers can unite to protect and promote their rights. This has led to wage stagnation, an avalanche of exploitation, insecure work and an erosion of workplace safety and entitlements.

Rather than eschewing their union affiliation, Labor should proudly point to its historical commitment to the workers of the country and their families.

Liberal/Nationals governments talk a lot about “the economy” and very little about society.

“The economy” is about allowing rich people to get richer so they will then employ people who work to make them even more money. The lower the labour cost, the higher the profit.

“The economy” is about the GDP – a number that is easily manipulated by including a big government program when it needs a boost.

“The economy” is about the budget, an obscure set of figures which are ripe for cherry-picking – a guess based on convenient assumptions, which can decide to leave stuff out at will, which never ends up being accurate, where debt and deficit can be a disaster one year and a wise investment the next.

The LNP would have us believe that they are very concerned for our mental health and well-being as a result of the pandemic. Prior to that, not so much.

When, in February last year, Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers suggested Australia should consider adopting a wellbeing budget, Josh Frydenberg absolutely ridiculed him.

 

 

Josh’s shouty attempt at humour didn’t go over so well with the Hindu community who found it “derisive and offensive” not to mention “brazen, racist and Hindu-phobic”.

Fifty years ago, Gough Whitlam, as leader of the Opposition, made a historic trip to China where he more than held his own with Premier Zhou Enlai, devising the blueprint for Australia’s “one China policy”.

Today, they won’t even answer the phone.

There will never be another Gough who made us feel like an independent nation for the first time but Scott Morrison’s idea of sovereignty looks a lot more like servitude to the US/UK military machine and the fossil fuel industry.

I could go on and on but this is already long enough to make the point – any suggestion that Labor and the LNP are the same ignores the evidence.

Well-being for all or wealth for a few?

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10 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    Don’t you love the photo of the childish loudmouthed Frydenberg fronting a posed choir of generally ignored females, supposedly to add a little humanity to predatory naked greed and stupidity. This modern world has been steadily sculpted into a corporate controlled politically perverted profiteering machine with money invested in organised bribery and corruption by donors who use regiments of lobbyists to tick off the greedite list of earners and gougers. The People, the Citizens, the Needy can go and get stuffed, if Gerry and Solly and the Fat Frau of the West get slightly hindered.

  2. Terence Mills

    Following on from the Peanuts cartoon.

    The federal government have a $16 Billion war-chest to be allocated prior to the next election. Will it be spent on public housing, schools, hospitals or will it go to marginal electorates ?

  3. Kaye Lee

    Tim Wilson has got six car parks in his electorate so far. He is bragging about the biggest grant ever given to a council – over $20 million for just two of his six car parks – except they never asked for it and have lots more pressing priorities. All the council has agreed to so far is a feasibility study and design concept that the Feds are paying over a million for.

    He has also posted his photo with Dave Sharma in Wentworth, next to some hydropanels (pilot study of solar panels that produce clean water from humidity funded by Arena – the body Tim wanted to abolish) and in Warringah with Senator Bragg at a bowling club that got $8,000 that Tim says will “enable the club to purchase and install 140 Canadian solar panels and a battery storage system.” Eight grand wouldn’t even cover Tim’s expense claim. (Note the nod to Sinophobia)

    I think Tim overestimates how much help he will be in Sydney electorates …then again, he probably has a party to go to so needs any photo to make it legit for us to fund his holiday.

  4. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye,

    Gosh, when you lay it all out like this, the effect is startling! And I agree with you wholeheartedly that while Labor might not be perfect, on balance they are the clear and only choice for 2022.

    Obviously there are a few seats where it makes sense to vote for, or give second preference to an Independent candidate, but there aren’t many of those. In the end, as you say, it will come down to the LNP or Labor. It’s a no-brainer to decide which party we need to hold the majority in Canberra.

    Thanks for your devotion to the job of informing us, and for your clear-sighted and logiclaly expressed opinions. Have a lovely festive season.

  5. Henry Rodrigues

    Kaye Lee….. Looking at their past achievements, Labor has demonstrated that they had the vision and the foresight for long term good of all Australians, not just the residents of Toorak or Killara or Bondi. Every major initiative Labor started was for the benefit of the ordinary person, like the laying of sewerage in Fairfield. Would Howard or his ilk ever thought about that ?? Labor still has the big ideas like mitigating climate change, renewable energy, reinvigorating TAFE, bringing back manufacturing in a big way.

    The coalition is big on carparks not even asked for, music conservatoriums where the demand is miniscule, or shooting galleries for the landed gentry who vote for them.

  6. guest

    It is interesting to see the question asked here in an advertisement: “Who is the real Jesus…?

    Greg Sheridan looked at this question in another article by him about Christianity (“Christianity’s purpose: the re-enchantment of life”, 17/12/2021).

    It arises, no doubt, from recent moves by Christian groups to make themselves more prominent after the same-sex marriage issue and the freedom of religion bill and the prominence of religious politicians.

    The discovery of a synagogue excites Sheridan because, he says, it “bears out the historical accuracy of the Gospels and the New testament generally…the Bible is also the central book of Western Civilisation.”

    Sheridan is concerned about the direction of Western culture. Richard Dawkins, a prominent social commentator, he tells us, has said that “because the universe is 14bn years old there can be no God because God wouldn’t waste 14bn years constructing a whole universe just for humanity to enjoy one planet in one tiny corner.”

    But Sheridan writes: “To a Christian, it seems characteristic of God that he would spend 14bn years preparing a beautiful garden just for us.”

    Now I do not intend to argue about what we know of God or what He thinks. One can look at an article on the historical Jesus in Wikipedia which discusses this matter which has been discussed over millennia with no real agreement reached.

    What worries me is the attitude take by people supported by Murdoch media who see the world as being a gift to be exploited and dominated by humans for wealth and profit, so that climate change is of no great consequence.

    Bjorn Lomborg, “Christian charity begins by homing in on those in need,” 17/12/2021) writes this: “An eye-watering sum has been spent by rich countries during Covid-19, and the effectiveness of much of this spending is dubious at best. The COP26 conference recently focussed attention on climate change, but – especially for the world’s poorest who still experience energy poverty – it also showed that many available policies remain too expensive and inefficient.”

    But as Lomborg has often said, the solution is not to spend on pandemics or climate change: climate change and pandemics are not so bad – and in the future we will be so wealthy we will be able to adapt and endure. Meanwhile, spend on just a few of the UN’s 169 immediate issues of concern. Believable?

    Janet Albrechtsen ( “Courage and conviction in Perrittets’s Promised Land”) is full of praise for Dominic Perrotet’s “Promised Land” (more Biblical words), revealed on Alan Jones’s new digital program where “viewers were rewarded with a rarity in politics, an interview with a conservative who talks with authority about his values, and even in his short time in office, backs up the talk with action.”

    Of course, the action is “freedom” for NSW people.

    See Independent Australia, Sue Arnold (18/12/2021): “NSW’s Government slammed as COVID cases soar.”

    With regard to spending, see Independent Australia, Alan Austin (20/12/2021): “Latest Government report indicates record economic mismanagement” along with Dennis Bright’s article here on AIMN.

    Also, watch out for Coalition use of the word “alarmist”. They use it against Labor, but they themselves have their own alarmism.

  7. Michael Taylor

    From Twitter:

    There are many great articles by #theaimn , this is one of the best of this year.

    Well done, Kaye. ✊

  8. John Inglis

    “Canadian Solar” panels are made in China by a Chinese company.
    Nod to typically ignorant and ill-informed phobias

  9. wam

    Another great piece showing how easy it would be to embarrass the clp/lnp voters, if ever they could be persuaded to read your words.
    This should be tabled at every labor party meeting throughout Australia and learned by heart by all members.
    You should put your election campaign speech on youtube, Kaye, to stimulate labor.

  10. Andrew J. Smith

    Interesting cartoon image, Australia’s journalists in legacy media also need their feet held to the fire for their unsupported agitprop masquerading as informed business/economic commentary, as worse is the anodyne output of ABC/SBS, TG etc.. Very conservative and seems implicitly to support the LNP govt. line due to not challenging Ministers nor think tanks; message is don’t disrupt top down narratives and be like good autocracies.

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