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Will this election be any different?

As things stand today, when it comes down to policy initiatives, we know far more about Labor policies than we do the Coalition. But how much is understood?

This year, as the federal election draws near, you can be sure the mainstream media (MSM) will waste much of their time on the trivial and ignore most of what’s really important.

We can confidently anticipate that policy initiatives will be skimmed over in favour of personalities, preferred foods, how one dresses, which candidate better articulates his position on the great Aussie meat pie, and so on.

Things like the preferred prime minister, which looks at form and completely ignores substance, will be a weekly, if not a daily talking point for the breakfast shows, radio shock jocks and evening television satire.

Negative wedging will also be the order of the day for the journalists on the hustings, desperate for a scoop. Get one candidate to confirm or deny what might sound like some vague reference to a statement by a staffer that was misinterpreted by a journalist while he was asking about something else entirely different and before we know it, the campaign has been side-tracked from the real to the imagined.

Journalists will try to catch candidates out on their knowledge, or lack of it, on what the tax rate is for pensioners or what the current mortgage rate is, or how much a loaf of bread costs, or what’s the population of Tasmania.

This is exactly what the Coalition would want. They will do anything to deflect attention away from the real issues and you can be sure a compliant media will soak it all up and deliver those favourite fifteen second sound bites for the 6pm news, relentlessly.

Labor have made their position clear on education, climate change, the GST, superannuation concessions, family tax benefits, education, Sunday penalty rates, infrastructure, multi-national tax avoidance, marriage equality and a more humane approach to Asylum Seekers.

The Coalition’s policies are essentially those of the neo-liberals, deregulation of business; privatization of public activities and assets; elimination of, or cutbacks in, social welfare programs; reductions in aged pensions, pay-as-you-go health care, increases in the GST and reduction of taxes on businesses and the investing class.

The right wing think tank, the IPA (Institute of Public Affairs), has a policy list also, some of which Tony Abbott has already implemented. But they go much further than anything the Coalition is planning this side of the election.

What we can never be sure of, is how much of the IPA’s agenda is also on the Coalition agenda to be introduced after the election.

But the big issue will be the economy. How is it all going to be paid for? This is where both parties fall over. They are both hopeless, Labor less so, but with some preferential treatment from the MSM, it is likely the Coalition will sound the more convincing.

The Coalition have failed miserably with the economy, they know it, and their only defence is to say that it would be much worse under Labor. And they always punish the most vulnerable when things go wrong.

Labor should pay closer attention to what’s happening in the United States. With almost no support from mainstream media, Democrat underdog Bernie Sanders has ripped through all barriers and reached the heartland of America. His message is simple enough: to restore equality.

His success has come because he is not beholden to the establishment. He has no baggage. He has attacked the banks, the media and demonstrated to Americans that the word ‘socialism’ is not to be feared. They are listening because most now realise they have been the victims of capitalism, its greed, its destructive power, its enslavement.

Australians are victims too. Our living standards are in decline, inequality is increasing. Every act, so far, by the Coalition government has increased that inequality. They have demonstrated all too clearly that they govern for their masters, the corporate sector, the mining industry, the banks, the finance houses.

Labor needs to return to its roots: the people. Bernie Sanders has shown the way. The people are listening to him. They will listen to a caring, people-orientated leader who promises to return to them what has been taken away; to protect our world class health system, make education more affordable, make business pay its fair share of tax.

Labor’s advantage will be that debt and deficit will hardly be mentioned. The Coalition have demonstrated they can no more manage a national economy than manage their own internal affairs.

And they have increased the “debt” by 40% since coming to office. They can no more produce a surplus budget or project when they might. We are victims of their hyperbole.

This election, we should ignore the negative wedging, the sound bites, and the trivial distractions. We should demand an end to the hyperbole and ask for nothing more than to restore equality. Good luck with that.

 

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18 comments

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  1. stephentardrews

    Spot on John the L-NP are total greed infested incompetent corporatists as Labor is a willing yet less overt accomplice. The types of reform needed are far from the thoughts of both the L-NP and Labor and, as usual, it will be the choice between the better of two evils.

    The point is Labor is continually setting itself up for failure by trying to follow the no-liberal supply side nonsense from a more socially responsible position, yet, because the foundational paradigm is rotten to the core, they are inadvertently slavishly following the trail of failure running over the last one hundred years or more. Its the conga line of wait your turn until the other mob screws up.

    Meanwhile the foundations of capitalism are rotten but rather than deal with the rot it is easier to play along in a game of musical chairs.

    True rational practical progressive reformists are ignored because that would mean they have to admit that the whole paradigm they have supported for so long is a deceptive lie and failure. In this respect Hawke and Keating have a lot to answer for.

    What to do? It is so distressing watching politically and economically ignorant and ossified minds ramble on with the same old garbage while 25% of youth are unemployed and impoverished by totally inadequate support and draconian job search requirements. Then you have pensions, disability, health care, aged care and on and on it goes. No effort to address the underlying instability and inequality because of mindless conformity and a lack of innovative thinking.

    I watch people argue over the minutia of Modern Monetary Theory as Rome burns. People we must take the bull by the horns and relentlessly attack neo-liberalism irrespective of entrenched parties or sit back and watch our fellow citizens suffer intolerably through no fault of their own.

    This cruel and heartless system has to change and it is not going to happen from within any of the current political parties unless challenged relentlessly. It is a challenging and frustrating position for progressive however I see no other option. Maybe if Corby or Sanders get elected Labor may come to realise the errors of its way however, at this moment, is a bit of a long shot.

    Labor voters stop being defensive and offended at the critique. If you cannot see we are in big trouble structurally and theoretically then you are deceiving yourselves.

  2. John Lord

    Excellent John. As I said yesterday. Same old, same old politics will not advance anyone. Least of all Labor.

  3. Zolbex

    Hit the nail on the head, thanks John. This is an anatomy of systemic failure. There is no forward planning, there are no new ideas by the political parties beyond wedging one another. There are a lot of new ideas out there dutifully muffled by the MSM, including the ABC. The mostly misinformed and misguided voting public thus unprompted aids in the flogging of the stinking dead corpse.

  4. Sir ScotchMistery

    At the end of the day, the challenges this country faces, are faced by your average Joe/Joanne, in the street, not by the political classes. They will be fine whatever happens. My great challenge, and one none of us (IMHO) can afford to step away from, is to change the minds of those who vote the SAME WAY every time. They are the problem.

    It is no longer, and hasn’t been for 12 years or more, an issue of left over right. Ever since the ALP stepped to the right in favour of the businesses that support them, we, the supposed drivers of this bus, are just ignored, and as long as I say to someone “Over 50 and still voting LNP?” and the instant response is “you reckon Labor is better”, then the needed conversation hasn’t been had.

    It isn’t left over right any longer. It has to be at some point accepted that progressive representatives are the only ones with US the voters, in their minds, not the blasted companies paying no tax.

    It has to be understood by farmers, that as long as they vote to either right or left, nothing will change and our food bowls are at the mercy of foreign coal companies, coming to Australia, mining the shit out of it and leaving us to clean up after them.

    They mine for 30 years, leave a mess that never is ameliorated, pay no tax, put a couple of billion (supposedly) on royalties, lie about how many people they are going to employ, and WE are the suckers, because they are as bigger liars as the politicians they employ, and the politicians from the parties aren’t going to upset that little apple cart, since that’s where their jobs come from when they get chucked out.

    If an independent runs in our electorate, or a green, they are where first prefs need to go, no ifs buts or maybes.

    26% of Australians vote for the greens but because they are all over the place, they don’t get a lookin. We suffer. We roll over.

    We lose.

  5. diannaart

    Labor have made their position clear on education, climate change, the GST, superannuation concessions, family tax benefits, education, Sunday penalty rates, infrastructure, multi-national tax avoidance, marriage equality and (finally) a more humane approach to Asylum Seekers.

    More humane than??? The LNP’s? Thought I’d take advantage of JK’s handy link to Labor’s promises, which led me here:

    http://www.alp.org.au/asylumseekers

    Protecting the interests of children

    Labor will work to ensure children are out of detention as soon as possible.

    As soon as possible? Haven’t the years of detention and uncertainty earned these children and their families the right to immediate release? What is there to work towards? Surely Labor could lift the bar just a little further and guarantee immediate resettlement of of those people who, by this late stage, will require a great deal of care and support?

    Apologies for being so picky about basic human rights!

  6. Katrina Logan

    Sir ScotchMisteryJanuary 16, 2016 at 11:27 am

    “26% of Australians vote for the greens”

    Where did you come up with such a wildly inaccurate figure as that ?
    26%…. You’d have the Greens peeing their pants in excitement

    Sorry to rain on your parade but the most accurate, the 2013 Federal Election has them at
    8.6% .
    sorry, a miserable 8.6% after a lifetime of trying.
    In fact, down 3% on their previous try
    do try to keep up

  7. Marilyn

    Both old parries will again resort to racist and sexist attacks on the most vulnerable and again the racist stenographers who pretend to be journalists will beat both to death over little things.

  8. Paul Murchie

    John Kelly ( :

    ” As things stand today, when it comes down to policy initiatives, we know far more about Labor policies than we do the Coalition. ”

    it could be Planet Lag, but some (75, including distractions) of the most destructive of the LNP “policies” have been public since well before September 2013 : the IPA’s Programatic for Ruin can be found here – (Alan Davies) http://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2013/04/11/is-tony-abbott-the-new-gough-whitlam/ … undeniably, the entire focus of un-elected, foreign, interested LNP Nihilasm !

    you appear to be aware of the IPA-LNP Nidus, but not of its scope or significance, nor of its unconstitutional illegality …

    hmm … i wonder how that can be the case …

  9. jim

    . Bernie Sanders has shown the way. The people are listening to him. They will listen to a caring, people-orientated leader who promises to return to them what has been taken away; to protect our world class health system, make education more affordable, make business pay its fair share of tax.Spot on Here here, Liberals always increase the equity gap thus :https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2817-right-wing-governments-increase-suicide-rates/

  10. cornlegend

    Sir ScotchMisteryJanuary 16, 2016 at 11:27 am

    “At the end of the day, the challenges this country faces, are faced by your average Joe/Joanne, in the street, not by the political classes.:\”
    I agree.
    There is also the committed LNP voter at one end of the spectrum and the committed Labor voter at the other .
    This leaves this election right in the hands of the uncommitted, or the waiverer and to be honest I don’t think Labor stand a chance .
    It isn’t whether you Like Bill or not, or if Malcolm is flavour of the month but whether the policies of the Party address your concerns .
    Also, Labor face an epic task.
    Not only do they need to hold the current seats but pick up 21 seats with a uniform swing of about 4.5% plus , with redistribution 1 seat lost in NSW , from 48 to 47 seats and a gain of 1 in WA from 15 to 16,so electoral boundary changes will happen in both States .with consequences .
    The time is not now for waverers .
    Either you want the LNP returned, or you don’t and that vote is critical , given the mammoth task ahead of Labor

  11. Matters Not

    There is also the committed LNP voter at one end of the spectrum and the committed Labor voter at the other

    Not sure about that. But I suppose it’s all tied up in the ‘particular’ and ‘peculiar’ meaning you give to the concept of spectrum and also the spectrum you then choose to employ.

    While I concede that there’s some significant differences between Labor and the LNP at the ‘verbalised’ level, there’s little difference at the ‘lived’ level. Both are located at the ‘right’ in my chosen political spectrum and it’s why I am somewhat disheartened.

    While (to me at least) it’s clear what the LNP is on about, Labor has very poor track record when it comes to delivering policy outcomes.

  12. cornlegend

    Thats where we differ, I think Labor has a pretty impressive record in what it delivered .
    Still, everyone to their own ,
    I have just taken the opportunity to “LNP proof ” my family for when they hit in earnest with control of both Houses, which is very likely

  13. kerri

    I am reading this excellent article in a hotel room in downtown Los Angeles where under every freeway flyover there are the tents and/or the meagre pile of belongings of one or more of the 40% (according to our Uber driver) of homeless Americans. This is a country with a huge chasm. (no not the Grand Canyon) a gaping maw between rich and poor. And this is the ideal society the neo-cons want for Australia? Capitalism works! But only if you are a capitalist prepared to use and abuse your workers. This is the stuff of the French Revolution. I have lost count of the number of handwritten “anything would help” signs of the poor on the street.
    Los Angeles has two distinct smells. The smell of the gasoline charged atmosphere of the wealthy in their cars and the smell of human urine from those too poor even to access a takeaway restaurant bathroom.

  14. Roger

    I believe the ALP needs to employ the tactics of ‘fear’. They worked very well for Abbott, even though they were baseless. All non-LNP politicians, who have even the smallest understanding of equality should be employing these tactics as there are dire consequences for the majority of Australians if we don’t bring a halt to the relentless shifting of wealth and welfare to the privileged few. It is not simply a political strategy – it is an essential adjustment needed to right the inequities of the current system. Circumstances are not too unlike those which led to the French Revolution. Let’s avoid the revolution and step up our efforts to rectify the relentless shift of power and money to those who already have it in abundance.

  15. June M Bullivant OAM

    Labor just need to oppose every cut that Turnbull and his crew have proposed, they will romp in, there are more sick, frail, aged, poor people than the rich, they need to get on social media, all of them just not Shorten, but Shorten comes over as a bit wishy washy, he need to be taught how to speak, take control, take a leaf out of Jack Lang or Ben Chifley, now these were Labor Leaders.

  16. Pudden'head

    Rumblings of discontent and predictions of revolution in the style of that French disturbance. When will someone raise the subject of the petite bourgeoisie (PB). For years they (the PB) have been the target of Murdoch, the IPA the LNP and the rabid mob who moved to the conservatives from the DLP. That cabal has never refrained from telling the PB fairy stories encouraging them to see themselves as the masters of the commercial and industrial world and more deserving than the common herd (which is just there to fill in the empty spaces in the picture of life as it really is.) If the lies perpetrated by the LNP and its backers in the last decade are counted I suggest they could well deserve a place in the Guiness Book of Records. There the PB may happen on them and come to know they’ve been consistently dudded .

  17. Roswell

    One thing will always be the same during any election campaign: the Mutdoch media will can Labor and promote the Coalition.

  18. Pudden'head

    Would it be improper if we asked, who is leading us into the recession now unfolding in all of its glory? I seem to remember Gough being blamed for a similar event and no allowance was made for its genesis elsewhere on the planet.

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