With the federal election tomorrow, I thought it would be a good time to make my own little commentary, with hopes and predictions.
The main problem faced by the Labor government over the past few years has actually been PR and communication; They’ve done a very bad job of showing off the good they’ve done, with only the blunders making it into the public arena, so something that is actually a huge success, is perceived as a failure by the public because of a few mishaps in some areas.
The handling of the Mining tax is a good example of where their PR fails and a scare campaign from the companies not wanting to lose any of their fat profit margin defeats a good government policy. They failed to sell the tax and it’s benefits for Australia to the people, and so when the media blitz hit, they were unprepared for the backlash over something that was actually a very responsible move.
This has also happened in other major policies, such as the schools stimulus package, where overcharging constructors in NSW damaged the reputation of the entire program, which after several reviews has been rated as well managed and good policy. Again, the public perception is one of wastage of money, where it should be a successful stimulus plan, with public infrastructure and education benefits.
The other problem is the Liberal Party is much better at PR, and exceptionally good at inventing problems to be solved, such as claiming Australia has a large debt due to incompetence of the government, however, speak to any group of economists world wide and they’ll look at it and go “what debt?”.
The same with the “stop the boats” campaign. This has been a non issue, magically popping up during a campaign. We have an international obligation to assess and accommodate asylum seekers. We deal with as they come. We do not control the number of boats, we just process them. With the number of natural disasters, diseases, economic downturns and wars over the last few years, is it any wonder there are more refugees?
The difference in policy between the two parties is also astounding. Labor offers infrastructure, future proofing and economic security through investing now in the country’s future, where as the opposition prefers to sit back, cut spending in as many ares as possible and reap the profits of an economic resource boom. To me, this “let’s sit back and do nothing” approach is irresponsible in the extreme, verging on incompetence. You should be investing in infrastructure NOW, while we have the resources and security of another 10 years of resource wealth, not waiting until we no longer have that financial security.
The other problem is that the Labor party has maintained office with a strict, pessimistic outlook on the economy, as though we are constantly on the brink of disaster, despite being in a highly prosperous position. This negative perception, used to give of vibes of “financially responsible government” has worked in the opposition’s favour, as the perception has allowed the Liberal party to paint the government as bad with money, the opposite of what the government is trying to sell. Again it comes down to PR.
As for the replacement of Kevin Rudd, people forget that we live in a democracy, and that the individual members should not be that important and indeed, be expendable. Mr Rudd lost the support of the government, and so he was removed. Politically it was a bad move for PR, but for the stability of the government itself it was most likely a good thing, a difficult thing to judge considering the lack of information on the events leading up to it.
Onto my preditions;
I predict a Labor victory… slight but enough to retain their government, with a strong swing to greens in the senate.
This would also be ideal, as the major parties should not control the senate ever, if the government controls the senate, then the review process is compromised, if the opposition holds the senate, nothing gets through and you have an ineffective government (such as we have now).
People should not forget that any ineffectiveness in the current government is also the responsibility of the opposition, who hold the balance in the senate. They are as responsible for policy and spending as the government is.