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Archive for July 2012

One of the more infantile pieces of cinema that marked the futile attempt of mainstream America to execute slapstick was 2001’s Dude Where’s My Car? The drive through scene sticks in my mind the most. You know, where the boys order Chinese  only to be infuriated by the annoying ‘And then?“, resulting in the destruction of the speaker box.

My link? Well, as I have previously written, the ALP at the Federal level is headed for at best a hearty paddling. It really is just a matter of degrees, a 2 or 3 termer. But what of the incumbent Abbott government? Only recently do I detect some degree of analysis of what Abbott would bring  to the job of PM.  A great analysis of what he has hinted at, both through his interesting acts of diplomacy in the USA, China and Indonesia are dissected expertly by Dr Tim Soutphomassane (http://goo.gl/5624C). I’ll let you read this and decide for yourself.

Beyond this, what would Tony Abbott do with a large mandate? Surely he will not be able to resist imposing his forceful will and his own vision of what Australia should be on all of us. The key word being should. Most certainly he will reward big business antagonism towards the ALP by dressing Workchoices in different clothes, citing changing circumstances. Climate deniers will also be acquiesced, with the blood oath enacted in repealing the carbon tax. The MRRT will go with the same fervour to strip back the previous government’s reforms. What will stay untouched though is the 18K tax free threshold, as such a move would represent the first scaling back of tax cuts in Australia’s history, an act of bastardry a bridge too far even for Tony Abbott.

In the light of the above changes to tax revenue, just how would Abbott, Hockey et al conjure the fiscal prowess they claim is the hallmark of Liberal governments? Will “eleventy” be able to magically produce more tax revenue? The simple answer is no. Unless of course the GST is augmented, which appears an obvious option despite Abbott’s assertions otherwise. If either party was serious though about tax reform, they would show leadership and tier the GST to reflect the necessity of the taxed item (a discourse too voluminous and complex to flesh out here in this humble rant).

Basic services like health & education, foreign aid, welfare (whether merited or not) and education will be trimmed to the necessary degree, and the area of immigration will again return to the demonic practice of housing the statistically insignificant number of asylum seekers on boats on Nauru. To be fair though, the ALP have fluffed few issues in a worse manner than this human one. The one issue that could have defined the ALP as clearly distinct from the Coalition has been ruined by the me too approach from the start, with Abbott & Scott Morrison able to fan the lowest common denominator racist sentiment with ease.

So we have an opposition leader who has had a prolonged period of little or no scrutiny due to the chronic malaise of the ALP, even if you account for whatever degree of media wind assistance you care to believe in. He has wielded the drill bit that has worn enough bricks in the wall to ensure it comes down for the Coalition to take up residence. But once the house has changed owners, it takes a person with a clear vision that relates to Australia’s future and not with its roots firmly in the Anglophillic past. Tony Abbott is not that man. And while the ALP can have no complaints when it is sent from office, those frothing at the mouth about Ju-Liar this and Ju-Liar that will need to think ahead of their next slab.

And then?

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Warning – may contain disturbing and depressing thoughts from a frustrated political tragic

Today I finally resigned myself to the imminent (well not so imminent as the next poll may not be until November 30, 2013) demise of the ALP government. On Gough’s 96th birthday of all days.

And we’re not talking about getting close and redoubling for a tilt in 2016. We’re talking about a two to three term stint in the wilderness where even the ugliest of creatures will feel compelled to console the ousted ALP MPs they encounter. MPs who slurped the nectar of victory when John Howard was finally prised from the Lodge. That night and the image of Kevin07, Maxine McKew dancing rather badly to some questionable jazz and Michael Kroger’s face resembling a cat’s arse seem eons ago.

How this has happened has been dissected by people uglier and far more immersed in the political warfare than myself. But I think we can safely assume that even before the faceless men period, before the real and not so real Julia, things were not right in the ALP.  An unchecked Kevin Rudd, the messianic yet micromanaging figure who helped probably more than even he anticipated, followed by mismanaged roll outs of policy bursting to hit the deck were just the start.  The reaction to the stink and the subsequent knifing (all euphemisms lead back to the term ‘knifing’) went down like a lead balloon publicly.

But there was the jewel in the crown of steering the Australian economy away from the recession that infected most OECD countries, a feat that Paul Keating felt should earn them re-election on this achievement alone. Good work though has been undone by inconsistency on policy, no more so than with the ETS that become watered down from the greatest moral challenge of our time to being, well, dumped, to a pre election pledge of no carbon tax which was introduced after…anyway you get the drift. If you found my last sentence clunky and haphazard, imagine how the public found the inconsistency of the ALP’s position on acting concretely on climate change. Julia GIllard is not alone though. She is preceded by Bob Hawke’s poverty pledge, Keating’s L-A-W tax cuts, Howard’s never-ever GST, and will likely be succeeded by Tony Abbott’s reintroduction of a version Work Choices as soon as he gets his hands on the dispatch box. The impact of Julia’s back flip though was fatal given the timing and the accumulative examples of a government seemingly inept at selling and rolling out what is on paper, good progressive policy.

So now? We are faced with an ALP that will limp along to November 2013 with any good policy negated at every turn by bungling and a hostile media. The prospect of a Tony Abbott led government with a strong mandate and probable majority in both houses means that significant changes to implemented policy will take place. Not since that stupidly mocked up cutting of the cake by Hewson, Reith and Fischer have I been so petrified at the Liberal opposition ready to take power. And unlike that election, there is no Keating to be unearthed here. No rabbit. Not even a hat.

Recent noises from Abbott and the realization of a probable landslide mean that Work Choices in another guise, tweaked to avoid literal comparisons with the previous species, will be enacted. How the Coaliton would balance the books to fund their proposed parental leave scheme without the windfall of the MRRT and Carbon Price is still a mystery, but with a favourable media (and not just the usual nutjob alliances but serious credible media) giving the Coalition a free pass, this is of no importance.

We face a Coalition winning Stephen Bradbury style, with good, hard working ALP folk scattered like the 5 opponents that inexplicably lost their footing when victory was theirs. A Bradbury (I think that term has achieved noun status beyond a simple surname) that will result in what I consider to be on the whole a reactionary bunch of populists. Once in power, what will the Coalition have for us beyond bogan slogans and a small target MO? They will have 2 terms at least to roll back the ‘bad policy’ they want to put to sleep, but what will they actually give us as a vision? I haven’t even touched on the asylum seeker issues – this deserves a post on its own.

As @BlindFreddy1 says in his bio: I am not blind – I have just seen enough.

Follow my cantankerous rants on @PAforClive