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Ker-Plunk! Or How To Blow An Election


Pick your straw!

If you are a hard-core Coalition voter you must be shaking your head right now wondering what the hell is happening. The un-lose-able election just got lose-able.

Tony Abbott had everything going for him and his team: a government that had been perceived as being poor by the public, the bad press the ALP endured re the changing of leaders,  and the backing of the Mining Industry re their opposition to Labor’s Mining Tax. To any politician with their eyes on the top job, these gifts were akin to a kid locked inside a toy shop.

The main problem the Coalition had and they one they addressed brilliantly was the ALP’s belief that Tony Abbott would stumble somewhere in the run. Imagine their shock and horror when this did not play out at all their way during the campaign. Even some political commentators had clearly chosen to back the Liberals and their allies purely because of how badly they believed the government was acting and of course, the ousting of a first term government would have sold heaps of papers.

In their rush to barrack for Tony, they all failed in one thing. That is while the ALP has shown reasons to not elect them, they failed to check if the Coalition had reasons for people TO elect them. On August 21st, 2010, the Australian public made their decision. And the decision is what has become Tony Abbott’s undoing.

I noticed an interesting thing in the media leading up to the polls. Not a day went by when the public was not reminded that ‘Julia knifed Kevin’. Yet in the same media, they gave the Coalition a huge free ride on the analysis of their policies and their final undoing, the ‘Costings’. It was pack journalism at its worse. The very few that questioned the key economic policies of the Coalition received little if any air time or headlines. In fact, many were derided as ALP stooges. Of course many have now been vindicated and the egg many thought they will be wearing post the election still stains the faces of those that had invested their lot with the Coalition.

The perversely unfair Parental Leave Scheme that the Coalition is proposing was called ‘overly generous’, but it was never called perverse. Under such a scheme, if one owned their own business, what would stop them from ‘hiring’ the daughters of friends who are about to get pregnant? What would stop them from doing that to for their own family and then before the pregnancy, give the person a huge pay rise? I believe there was a 12 months employment barrier, but is that full employment? Is domestic duties a position some husbands who own their own businesses can credit their partners? Would they have not been doing this task since the marriage began? But the most ridiculous aspect of it all was it was clearly aimed to buy the vote of the middle to upper class. This was pork barreling at its finest. Maybe Tony Abbott thought his scheme would be affordable because intelligent working women don’t breed? Who knows. When the countries hospitals are fighting for a few hundred million, and people complaining about the population boom, it seemed to me odd that $3.3 BILLION dollars was set aside for this scheme and nothing set aside to deliver the hospitals all these babies are expected to be born in or the roads that expectant mothers and husbands need to drive to get to said hospital. Barely scrutinised in the media at all.  But almost every day Julia Gillard had to face the same questions re the ‘knifing of Rudd’. It made me sick to the stomach.

And having out performed the ALP during the campaign proper, the Coalition began to show signs of that incompetence they had expected from Tony Abbott during the campaign. His phone call to Steven Fielding; his delay in negotiating with the Greens; his refusal to submit his Costings to Treasury; his language re the “red/green terror”; his inability to convince Tony Crook to side with the Coalition; his inability to make a formal agreement with his own Coalition partners for the term; and of course his attempt to get Wilkie onside with an offering of 1 billion dollars for a hospital while his own Coalition partners had to  face cuts in the hospital budgeting in their own electorates.

The man just can not play Ker-Plunk!

A. Ghebranious   2010                                 All rights reserved

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