Is The Grass Greener?

Posted on: February 27, 2013

A simple analogy.

A family live in what was once an exciting house. It functioned well and seemed a right fit at the time.

Then little things start to stop working. The weatherboard panels have begun to rot and the water goes cold when you want hot and vice versa.

The area changes as your street becomes a major thoroughfare and you start to question your purchase with every intake of smog concentrated air.

The decision’s made easier when some of the local stoners take up residence on your nature strip.

A new estate offering an escape from this chronology of annoyances presents itself. New and safe, green and serene, but with few details beyond this attractive shopping smell.

When you chip away with some questions, you are simply told you won’t be sorry and asked if you really want to stay where you are.

You commit to an unknown change of circumstances simply on the promise that at least it’s not what you have now.

As we count down the 199 days before we decide whether to vote out the Gillard government, Australia is presented with a similar choice to the scenario above.

Phase one of Operation Abbott has fulfilled its objectives of discrediting and delaying the ALP’s legislative process through destructive, combative and often frivolous means. I have lost count of Opposition Managerial abuses of points of order and how many times the Member for Cook has been booted from Question Time. Quite apart from bad behaviour, it would have been redeeming, if only a little, had the Shadow Ministers for say Education and Foreign Affairs asked questions relevant to their portfolios instead of the latter consuming all of 2012’s final Question Time fixated on the PM’s AWU involvement and the former had asked a question relating to Gonski.

Phase Two sees a supposed change in the LNP MO. Primarily through a cuddlier and less combative Tony Abbott who at times looks like paid Sam Newman a visit for botox advice and then rolled in a barrel of Cheezels. There seems to be no accompanying slow drip of policy details, other than the repeal, reverse, rinse and repeat mantra. 

The Government has, to quote the PM, lost its way. Numerous articles have canvassed this and the polls reflect just how on the nose it really is. Despite steering Australia through the GFC, they remain destined to a slashed representation in the Lower House, with many good minds set to be wasted in a two to three term opposition. Stay with Julia Gillard and things stand as they are. Rewind to Kevin Rudd and the contempt will only boil over more. As Tony Strangio writes, this Messiah worship and a shift from leader-centred politics (as opposed to politics-centred leaders) has only weakened the ALP’s chances of a shock win on September 14.

So if we then move to the estate in the analogy above, what do we expect? If the LNP are on track for a landslide, is it any less important that we ask the strong favourites to outline their vision? They have relied heavily on the anyone but the ALP rote message. They owe us more. Tony Abbott is obliged, if not by any political or legal imperative, but by his contract with the Australian people to outline what he intends to do.

After dismantling the Carbon Price mechanism and the farcical MRRT, what then in terms of raising the revenue to backfill the void?

What tax measures does he see as appropriate in this landscape, both direct and indirect?

What educational measures will he implement from the Gonski report?

How does this Direct Action measure we first heard of 3 years ago work?

How fast will our broadband be?

Is Workchoices under that or another name really dead, buried etc? (ie what does a flexible labour market really mean for those in it?)

Many, many questions. For every day that the LNP play the small target game, the media will slowly speculate, only making the job of selling the message more difficult. Since Tony Abbott’s double spook effort with Leigh Sales and Lisa Wilkinson, he has been reluctant to appear anywhere. Or rather, Peta Credlin has told him not to.

The ALP’s best  media strategy would be to play the numerous Abbott moments on a loop, and God knows the man has been generous in his contributions. And for everyday he remains under cover, on Peta Credlin’s tight leash, these are the things we will associate with him. It is time for him to stand in the spotlight and provide either more LOLs or some leadership and vision. If he is as equipped with Economics/Law degrees and a Rhodes Scholarship, then this should be the minimum requirement.

All yours, Tony and friends.


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