Friday, 23 August 2013

Election good news!

I've refrained from commenting on the Federal election campaign much because it really is just too depressing.

As normal the pork barrell is being rolled out across the nation, sad but not abnormal.

What is abnormal I think is the utter lack of vision and policy integrity on either side of politics.

The Libs

I'd like to vote for Tony Abbott, really I would.

But silly populist policies on boats and other such things aside, I also want an economy that doesn't go into recession generating massive unemployment.

And an excessive focus on Australia's relatively tiny deficit (particularly given our very low level of public debt)  makes no sense at all, as John Quiggin has explained in a series of posts (the latest points to some work on the failure of austerity measures in Europe).

Related to that, Tony Abbott's plan to sack a large chunk of the public service doesn't make much sense either - we went through that under Howard, and the consequent exit of expertise and excessive salary inflation when bodies had to be recruited again has undermined the quality of Government ever since.

Neither, given Australia's extremely low (and patently inadequate) tax base, does abolishing (rather than making work properly) the mining tax, cutting company tax even while imposing a new levy to fund maternity leave, and spending instead of taxing in order to achieve Greenhouse reduction targets.

By far the worst Coalition policy though is surely the gold-plated maternity leave scheme (albeit not quite as gold-plated as Mr Rudd apparently claimed the other night!) aimed at keeping rich and middle class women in the workforce.

The biggest problem with the Coalition though is just the vagueness, as Mike Stretekee has pointed out, about exactly what it is they plan to do.  No costing to be released until the last minute, when its too late to properly scrutinise them.  And very little real detail about anything in fact.

Does that man never stop...

On the other hand, how could one bring oneself to vote for @KRuddMP?

Well the good news is that it seems even his own electorate are turning on him!  According to a poll by The Guardian, Mr Rudd is danger of losing his safe Labor seat, trailing the Liberal candidate 48:52%.  Shades of John Howard indeed.

Other positive news so far in the campaign is the apparent implosion of the Wikileaks Party, and tracking on the collapse in support for the Greens.

Thanks goodness that the campaign agony will soon be over, even if the real pain is probably yet to come...

16 comments:

Ron Van Wegen said...

"Tony Abbott's plan to sack a large chunk of the public service..."
He claims that it will be through natural attrition not sacking.

Kate Edwards said...

Natural attrition won't get rid of 12,000 people. And even it did, how do you make sure you retain the right mix of skills?

Besides, his other closely related policy is to move whole Departments to the NT etc?

I imagine 'natural' attrition means helped along by redundancy packages and so forth as per usual, so that those who are those with the most accumulated experience...

Anonymous said...

There are about 168,000 public servants and the natural attrition rate is about 4% a year i.e. 6,700 a year - a freeze for 2 years would mean 12,000 gone in 2 years.

That's what they did in 1996.

There are about 12,000 temporary/contract public servants and not extending them would mean the 12,000 could go in 12 months.

Malcolm

Kate Edwards said...

Yes but they won't go in the locations and jobs you need them to.

And for that reason in 1996 there was a massive redundancy exercize and crash in the Canberra property market as a result.

Only to be reversed and some when the Howard Government ended up beefing up the APS to its highest numbers ever.

Anonymous said...

“I’ve embraced a comprehensive national paid parental leave scheme is because I think that a modern conservative philosophy acknowledges that if you’re going to be fair dinkum about the family it can’t just be the so called traditional family, where dad is at work and mum is pregnant in the kitchen with the kids.” Tony Abbott

Modern conservative philosophy apparently involves disparaging and discriminating against single income families where the father works and the mother works harder (at home)...

Marcel

Joshua said...

As is well known, many mothers work because they have to, rather than because they want to; and the disincentives to having more than the regulation two children are sadly influential - I overheard a conversation to that effect at a local cafe only a few weeks ago. To provide six months' maternity leave at par with the earnings of such a working mother is, while expensive (frankly Whitlamite!), also, I would argue, quite a good idea, since it helps encourage births at the upper end of town, rather than (as notoriously the baby bonus encouraged) at the lower, out-of-wedlock end of town...

Kate Edwards said...

Yes but there is a simple solution to that Joshua - find a genuinely conservative leader who will stand up and say that the family is about protecting the future of society, viz our children. Then refuse to give baby bonuses etc to single mothers, the unemployed, and other such groups! And back that up by tightening up divorce laws.

Joshua said...

Given the state of Australia at present, a leader proposing such reforms would garner virtually no votes. Politics is the art of the possible, after all. If any present politician proposed what you claim, the outcry would be immense, and I doubt that person's political career would survive; indeed, given all the sanctimonious secularists, feminists and assorted do-gooders out there, such a person would doubtless be tried by the Star Chamber of the Human Rights Commission, and convicted of numberless thought crimes...

We must convert Australia first, and then quite naturally such things can be done, once the wider community agrees. At the moment, such proposals have no chance of success, since so few would agree, and so many would vehemently disagree.

It seems to me that, while we always hope for miracles, the conversion of Australia is a target for the far future, since even among Catholics less than ten percent (perhaps as little as five percent) actually believe and practice their faith. The rebuilding required is immense, and humanly speaking seems hopeless; think of how three centuries were required to convert the Roman Empire...

Kate Edwards said...

But do you really think restricting baby bonuses etc to those with a job and partner is unsellable? I'm not convinced things are yet that far gone!

In any case, the current Mat Leave scheme was pretty much dreamed up by the Productivity
Commission and is unsurprisingly relatively responsible; there are surely other ways of encouraging high earning women to have more children.

Pius said...

Oops, a typo has crept into the original comment: it's "Quiggin", not "Quiggan".

Kate Edwards said...

Thanks, fixed.

HolyCatholicApostoli said...

Vote 1 for a Pro-Life and Pro-Family party this election, such as the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Family First, Australian Christians/CDP.

Kate Edwards said...

Yes, we should certainly use our first preference for genuinely Christian parties.

But in the end, either the Liberals/Nationals or Labor will be the Government, so we do have to make a choice between them as well!

And neither is a champion for religious freedom, as Cardinal Pell pointed out in his recent speech, which highlighted the Coalition's failure to oppose an amendment forcing religious based aged care homes to accommodate unmarried couples in the lower house (and one could also note Mr Abbott's failure to guarantee continuing opposition to same sex marriage for his party, instead simply noting it will be a matter for the party room after the election).

Maureen said...

At least by not voting 1 for either of the major parties, we can ensure that the electoral dollars go to one of the alternative candidates. That seems to me to be a pragmatic compromise.

HolyCatholicApostoli said...

Yes, one of the two major parties will form goverment, but they may need to negotiate with pro-life/family parties if they are elected to the Senate (e.g. DLP Senator John Madigan)

votebelowtheline said...

Isn't the organiser of the latin Mass group from Wangaratta running on the coalition senate ticket in Victoria? Definitely worth considering if voting below the line if you live in that state and, if successful, would be better placed to have some influence rather than a minor party vote.