The Long Walk To Oblivion

Posted on: July 11, 2012

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


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