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Compare the pair

11/04/2011

The current political climate offers the best platform to actually compare and scrutinise the policies of both major parties. My question is why is that not happening?

You don’t get hung parliaments every day. In fact, this is the second elected hung parliament since federation in Australia. Very rarely do the circumstances arise that drive the nation into real division.

The first hung parliament occurred during WWII. There was a lot on the nations mind and the world was plunged into fear and chaos and the tyranny of the gas chambers sent pillars of darkness into the skies.

The second hung parliament occurred in identical circumstances. Instead of one world war, we have many small ones. The GFC plunged the world into fear and chaos, but thankfully with a lot less gas chambers. Instead it is industry that launches pillars of darkness into the skies. Only now mother nature herself seems to be launching retaliative strikes.

So there are a lot of issues that people needed to be addressed and many of us were divided on how to deal with them, so viola, hung parliament.

Okay, so where to from here?

Well many still seem to be divided on many issues. Everyone wants someone to do something, but just not sure what. This gives us an enormous opportunity here and we are letting it slip through our fingers.

You need to wait till an election is called before any form or scrutiny is required re policy from the opposition as during the term of government, they are ineffective due to their lower numbers.

Not so now! Now any MP in parliament can create policy if they can sell it to their peers and the nation.

So it is concerning when there is very little in depth scrutiny of opposition policy. They can no longer claim it is pointless to provide it now as they will not be able to enact it till another election. If they can sell their policy, they can get it through now. And that begs the question of why is it not out there and in detail?

Recent exposure of the opposition climate change policy, or what little of it out there, shows that it too is a tax. You just don’t see it straight away. What the opposition is proposing is removing 30 billion dollars from consolidated revenue and earmarked for services and infrastructure to ‘tenders’ put in by businesses and they pick and choose who gets the money.

So while we don’t see the tax ramifications straight away, we will be driving on more potted roads, have less teachers in schools, less policing and there will be longer hospital waiting lists. But that should only really concern you if you drive, have children, are concerned with public order and you get sick.

The ALP proposal uses the money it gets from the polluters to pay re investment to green energy as companies do it on their own as opposed to the government choosing which company to support.

Both proposals have pluses and minuses.

The coalition proposal actually creates more bureaucracy as now we need a department that overseers the tendering to make sure that it is all above board etc. Then we will need senate committees to oversight those and so on. This will slow the process of any emission reduction to the flow of the government incentives.

The ALP proposal needs to be willing to compensate investors in industries that will be effected in the shift to greener options. If you had a sizable investment in superannuation for example and they in turn invested a sizable investment in fossil fuel industries, does this mean you are now broke?

This is the part the Greens don’t get when they criticise the CPRS for providing some compensation for all industry including the polluters. I use the word some deliberately as dirty industries will never be fully compensated for their losses re the CO2 option, but if the dirty coal powered station that powers an entire city and everyone dislikes was to close down tomorrow, there will be outrage as now everyone does not have power.

So even though the ALP is trying to punish the big polluters, they don’t really want to punish them a lot. Likewise even the coalitions option has to have you wonder why they are not loans offered on the proviso that business repays in full and with interest. After all, it is our money they are planning to give away.

Frankly I reckon if taxpayers money go to upgrading a old dirty coal fired station to a spanking new dirty coal fired station is a travesty. But that is what will happen and they will argue that the technology now will reduce the emissions without needing to change the fuel blah blah blah.

Here is the thing. You only have so much land area you can sink carbon into. The only real way to cut emissions not only in the short term but in the long term is to start the walk down the alternative road. Replacing an old coal fired plant with a new coal fired plant does nothing to reduce the amount of CO2 produced.  The only real way is to replace some old plants with emission free alternatives that do the same job.

But it is not only climate change or carbon pricing here. The asylum seeker debate absorbs more of the media’s time then it is proportional to GDP. Nauru continues to not have a government and the infrastructure there is in total tatters. (Mind you the governments East Timor alternative is in as much tatters.)

Having said that, this does not mean the government of the day gets a free ride here. Their policies and decisions will always face extra scrutiny because the government of any day has the added threat that they can make their policy reality at any time.

Not so with the current Gillard government.

Julia Gillard’s government has been labelled weak. And that is true. But it is not weakness in their ambition to get policy through, it is based on the fact that at any moment, they can lose support and become opposition.

While Gillard continues to make some ground, ghosts of prime ministers past and off the cuff election statements continue to haunt her publically.

How are they doing in parliament?

Pretty darn good actually. You can tell exactly how good by the anger and the disgust the opposition is hurling at those they will need to take the crown off Gillard mid stream.

It is my belief that the coalition has abandoned this prospect – ‘turning the independents. Why? Cause there is NO way they want to appear like they need them. Especially those Greens!

And it is working for them in the polls. So much so that the PM was forced to follow suit and also call the Greens names. At least it APPEARS she is following suit.

Oh I hear you thinking. She is only doing this as a show. When the greens get into the Senate, she will be buddy buddy again.

Not so. At least I don’t think it is that cut and dry.

Appearance is everything in politics. And if it can be made to appear that the Greens in the Senate are blocking legislation, then come next Senate election and you can expect people to decide it is time to clear that blockage once and for all. Not saying that you may not get Greens in the Senate, just not in enough numbers to warrant them any power.

The other thing is some of the newer Greens may not be too keen at the language of the PM and want to do more than just let Bob Brown express a party view.

Yes the Greens have expanded in seats. But with each seat comes the views of another 100,000 people they need to take into account re policy making. Something that they did not need to worry about prior instead opting to express a view and hoping people will follow. Now the worry is what to do with all the people following.

You got to love/hate politics baby.

 

 

A. Ghebranious  2011   (All Rights Reserved)

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2 Comments
  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Enough Said. Jenn

  2. Catching up permalink

    We need to move from the politics of abuse to judging a party on it’s policies and beliefs.

    I, as a young person did not see why we needed to treat people such as PMs with respect. As a person whole lot older and I hoper a little wiser, I now realise it is important to treat the position of PM and other offices with respect. Not to do so, lowers the quality of our democracy and dishonours the voters who put the present government in place.

    If we do not like the result, we have the chance to reverse the position in three years.

    Both sides of politics during this time have a responsibility to put forwarded their platforms and convince us as to who is the better able to govern the country. We need to move on from the shocking situation we have today, that we are not voting for the best but for the lesser of two evils. No one will convince me that Mr. O’Farrell is greatly loved or admired.

    It is not important that we love or hate the politics that are elected, it is important that they have the ability and skills to do the job.

    We need to learn that we might not like the party in power, but to hate them is a little childish and unproductive. It is also dangerous, as the Opposition could get into power with policies that are hidden and many of us would reject.

    Leaders should look at the polls and also react to them if appropriate. By this I mean, if the polls are rejecting government actions, it is up to the government to set out to convince the public they are correct and the actions are necessary. It is a weak government that reacts by jettisoning policy because it is seen as unpopular.

    I expect strong governments to proceed with the policy if it is what the Australian people need. The majority, especially when manipulated by powerful interests can often be wrong. What is good for the powerful and rich sections of society is rarely what the greater population needs and is often paid for by the poor and vulnerable.

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