Who Should I Vote For?
Actually that headline is misleading. I know exactly who I will vote for and why. Labor is indelible within me and I am proud of it. At an early age I inherited (or it was born in me) an unshakable belief in social justice. In equality of opportunity and a belief that every person has an indisputable right to an equitable share of the country’s wealth. Labor is the only party that can deliver on these values.
I believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. That it is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. I further believe that the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. That progressive policies are needed for government to solve problems.
If that sounds idealistic then so be it.
I have never understood the conservative reluctance for change. Why conservatives dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that they can make permanent that which makes them feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence. I think I have probably seen more change in my lifetime time that any other period in history. Often worthwhile change comes with short term controversy but the pain is worth it for long term prosperity. And change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making with its own inevitability. Change is in fact one of the only constants in life. Conservatives often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that they never see better ways of doing things. Change is the tool that serves the common good.
All of this I believe without discounting the rights of the individual to pursue worthwhile ambition. Be it monetary or otherwise. And that in the absence of any another system capitalism is what we have. At the same time I believe that capitalism without regulation is a recipe for calamity both environmentally and economically.
With the ascension of Kevin Rudd voters (if one is to believe the opinion polls) it would seem that the punters now have a choice. This has been allowed by an opposition leader incapable of preventing himself from overreaching. He has been touted as being the most effective leader of the opposition we have ever had. Really. Having had the government on toast for the best part of three years and the polls suggesting a defeat of the government of monumental proportions he continued his attacks on Julia Gillard until the caucus was left with little choice but to change leader. The result being that Mr Abbott now faces a reinvigorated party with a leader of vast popularity with a self-belief in himself and the future of the country.
I would venture to suggest that Abbott has shown a total lack of political judgement that borders on the nonsensical. Had he approached the past 12 months in a more positive manner the electorate may have viewed him differently. They had made up their minds on the Prime Minister and their judgement was set in concrete. So why the hatchet job? This can be best explained by analysing the character of the opposition leader. As I have written previously Tony Abbott if nothing else is a very colourful character. He is aggressive both physically and in the use of language. His negativity is legendary and he has little consideration for any ideas other than his own and says NO to his opponents policies regardless of their worthiness. He is by evidence and his own admission a liar of some regularity. Added to that he has a political gutter mentality and little respect for the institution of parliament and its conventions.
I would contend that rather than being an effective opposition leader he is lacking in political judgement and that the ‘’best leader polls’’ are a true reflection of his unpopularity. It may well be that those who have always said that he is unelectable might be right. As a people Australians are a positive lot and his constant negativity and putting us down really grates us.
As it now stands now Kevin Rudd has all the running and Tony Abbott is looking shaken. His demeanour is nervous and he finds it impossible to shake off his negativity. The hesitation and stutters have begun. Mind you it must be hard if it’s so ingrained in you.
When the Prime Minister elects to go to an election is irrelevant. If he chooses to wait a little longer he can (because of Abbotts reluctance to talk policy) simply continue to paint him as the negative conservative he is. On the other hand should he decide on an early election he has the advantage of momentum.
In terms of policies again Labor has thanks to Julia Gillard pulled the rug out from under the feet of the conservatives. There are no big ticket items left. Better education, NDIS and the NBN are all popular whereas the opposition’s direct action plan for the environment is proving to be farcical. They don’t seem to have an education policy other than saying they will support the government if it can get all the states to sign up for Gonski. (I’m still calling it that) They have no alternative energy policy other than a white paper.
Is Tony Abbott still insisting that the election will be a referendum on the carbon tax and does he still intend a double dissolution on the matter? Despite the obvious facts Hockey and Abbott have been painting a bleak picture on the economy, debt and deficit. Will the electorate fall for it or will facts matter. And of course the coalition will have to be honest as to where they intend cutting to pay for their direct action policy and come clean on the true cost of its maternity leave scheme. Then of course we have his “stop the boats” mantra only now he cannot explain how.
Tony Abbott, as Kevin Rudd suggests might be a formidable negative politician but he is vulnerable on policy detail and this is the area that Mr Rudd should hone in on.
There is much water to flow under the political bridge and the Australian people hopefully have shrugged of the malaise they have embraced for too long. There is a matter of importance to confront.
And to think that a month ago it was a forgone conclusion.