Aug 182010

Finally, some common-language, commonsense assessment of the Abbott economic plan, which by definition, is better than anything an incumbent government and all of its resources can come up with. Van Onselen makes excellent sense with his analysis, drawing the only conclusion that can be drawn, that being a coalition economic approach which cannot in any sense be proven to be any better or any worse than the incumbent government. Clearly, one cannot scrap revenue earning measures, reduce company tax and still spend on socially responsible measures like paid parental leave without some hole being rent in the economic fabric. As Van Onselen states, these airey-fairies would appear to be the things an opposition would come up with in the almost sure and secure knowledge they’d never have to be implemented. Thing is, the way Labor has quite neatly shot off both feet by axing a sitting PM because popularity polls weren’t sitting where they’d been 6 months previous, Abbott could pull off what his own internal polling says shouldn’t, but might, happen.
I can see and appreciate both sides of the political argument, more so from the Liberal perspective, and less so from the conservative perspective. Let’s be perfectly clear in acknowledging that the Liberal-National coalition is no longer that, but a Liberal-Conservative coalition with a rural lobby sideline. The Nationals are no longer a force in Federal politics. The Howardian brand of conservatism remains strong in the Liberal Party, as evidence by the 42-41 vote which put Abbott where he is today. At least half of that party are overt conservatives. Not the socially responsible Liberals of the party’s creation, but ardent free-market capitalists who believe in doing things the way they’ve always been done because change is bad, and those who disagree are marxist/socialists eco-treehuggers. Mindless ideologues, in other words. It’s this part of the Australian political scene I do not understand. The rabid fear-mongering over asylum-seekers doing what is perfectly legal. The rabid fear-mongering over the levying of an appropriate surcharge on each and every tonne of non-renewable resource dug out of the ground & sold, for fear of upsetting multi-national corporates and their massive profits sent off-shore. The dismissal of scientifically proven portents of unregulated ecological destruction.
Between Labor & genuine Liberal ethos, the gap is very small, in fact, non-existent in some areas. The gap between labor & conservatism, especially the Howardian brand, is a yawning chasm. A chasm Australia can ill-afford to fall into again, especially so soon after coming through the worst global recession since 1930. Labor may not be your way, reader, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that voting Liberal will be any better, because it won’t.


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