The festival of insults and policy inaction
by David Penberthy
The 2010 election campaign is off to an inauspicious start with the first press conferences by both leaders being light on policy and strong on personal ridicule.
Julia Gillard effectively called Tony Abbott a liar who can’t be trusted on Workchoices, or for that matter pretty much anything; Tony Abbott called Julia Gillard a political assassin who had the blood of Kevin Rudd on her hands and was now trying to hold onto power with the meaningless slogan of “Going Forward”.
Tony Abbott had started the day by trying to neutralise the negative issue of industrial relations, saying that if elected he would impose a three-year moratorium on making any changes to the existing industrial laws. His attempt to take the issue off the table and deny Labor a chance to repeat the success of its devastating negative campaign against Workchoices in 2007 was dismissed by Gillard at her press conference, who is trying to run the campaign along the theme of trust. - So far Mr Abbott has been right. He has put forward policies and he has accurately stated what Gillard is doing. Gillard is spinning wildly and obfuscating. She claims Mr Abbott will not reveal the policies he has, and that seems to be her policy. Some in the media are going along with Gillard out of form. Gillard has lied in the past about her achievements and ambitions, so she wants us to accept her slogan about moving forward. It is important we accept her claims about a budget surplus, because she hasn't ever looked like endorsing such in the past. We don't know when she decided they were worthwhile, or what happened to change her mind, but she said she has always felt that way, so there probably is no need to ask her. Gillard claims Mr Abbott will re introduce work choices. He has said he won't, and I trust him on that, but I don't need to. Mr Abbott has said why he will not reintroduce work choices. Mr Abbott has said that work choices broke faith with the Australians who turned on the Liberal Party last election and voted in the dogs breakfast we have today. It is possible for Gillard's dog breakfast to be administered better than it is now, without changing the legislation. Some in the media claim that that is a backflip of Mr Abbott's, but in reality it is an indictment on Gillard, who failed to manage her portfolio of IR.
On the health front, we have the ALP policy of taking GST money and doing not much different. Or we have the Liberal policy which provides for systemic improvement and a bolstering of the private health supports. On the education front we have Gillard's wild spending, or Mr Abbott's policy of spending wisely .. the media are making it sound as if it is even stevens between the pair. - ed.
The two-speed election: the battle for two sets of voters
by Mark Kenny
We hear a lot about the so-called two-speed economy these days but Julia Gillard is grappling with a more immediate problem, a two-speed electorate.
In fact it is `the’ challenge vexing the new PM and her strategists and probably goes a long way to explaining her last minute hesitation in actually pulling the election trigger.
First, to the economic side. This week we saw more evidence of the perverse effects of that two-speed economy via an extraordinary _ for which you can read transparently political _ economic ``update’’ just two months after the May Budget. - Gillard is lying about her efforts, that is how she is able to bridge the polar opposite gap. She lies about mining tax and its impact on Australians, then he lies about what she has done with the tax. We find out they were really trying to grab about $20 billion before the Mining companies kicked up a big stink, and the ALP used that as a new figure when looking at the change, so a $1.5 billion discrepancy was reported for what was a more serious gouge. The ALP figures cannot be trusted and the treasury figures have been politicized. This allows the ALP to promise far more than the conservatves and still claim to be responsible.
Gillard is also lying about what she will do for those polar ends in the social dichotomy. The lefty's like the fact she is lying to them, it makes them feel comfortable that she will promise much but possibly be responsible if she has to be. This means they can feel good about choosing badly. The struggling working families will have to cling to the promise of a better life that will not be delivered by Gillard. The reality expressed by the conservatives will look uncomfortable compared to the promises of Gillard.
But the truth is that although the economic vandals have badly damaged the Australian economy, it isn't yet broken. But we need Mr Abbott to win government to allow it to heal. - ed.