Only one choice

I think there is only one choice in this election; Labor. Let me go through issue by issue:

  • The economy: Australia missed the recession. Was it due to the Government or to luck? Hard to tell. The point is that it would have been very easy to have stuffed up with economic management and have blamed it on the world. The fact that that did not happen is amazing and, if ever a Government deserved some credit for good economic management, it is this time.
  • Immigration: I can’t say that the new Gillard direction on immigration is inspiring much confidence but the politics of this issue suck. The point here is that the Liberal Government in its current ‘old hat’ conservative guise (as apposed to ‘new hat’ liberal guise we briefly saw with Malcolm Turnbull) cannot be trusted on this issue at all.
  • Science: the Government, like so many before it, has failed here. But no one else is proposing anything better so it is a wash.
  • Competition policy: the NBN policy was looking good but the deal with Telstra is a big worry. That said, the issue is not with the politicians at the moment but the ACCC so it is not decisive for the election.
  • Censorship: the Conroy Internet censorship plan will not go away. Again, though, no other party is willing to make this an election issue.
  • Financial system reform: the clear big issue facing us is the need to review and make sure we future proof our financial system. Amazingly, no party has taken the charge on this so we languish.
  • The environment: this is the big issue that will not be resolved at all by the election. That is the Prime Minister’s fault. But I note that John Quiggin is likely to advocate a vote for The Greens on this issue. Here is the problem with that: it is the Green’s fault that the CPRS was not passed. The Greens blocked the only move forward that had been proposed ever! Had they been supportive the Government could have bribed one of the independents or, let’s face it, a Liberal or two may well have crossed the floor. They didn’t and now we don’t have climate change policy for at least 3 more years. How can anyone vote for a party that would let perfection be the enemy of the good in such a blatant manner?

There are other issues: health, tax and education but I can’t be bothered to write about them. So, looking at the above, we either have reasons to support Labor or complete indifference amongst all parties. Had Malcolm Turnbull still been at the head of the Opposition, this would have been a much harder choice. But then again, had he been there we would have had climate change policy.

I have to admit that I am not inspired by this election (although I would by much happier about expending the costs involved in casting a vote if I lived in Canberra). In the past when I have felt this way I have let one of my children determine what I should vote. That led to a vote for The Greens in a previous Victorian state election. But I know what my 11 year old daughter will want me to do: this time, she will want me to vote for Australia’s first woman PM so we can see how she does. And so that is what I will do.

14 thoughts on “Only one choice”

  1. Censorship – The Greens oppose the filter, and have made it an election issue.
    Climate change – if the CPRS was merely weak, The Greens may well have supported it.
    Vote how you like; I’m not trying to change your mind.  But the rest of your posts are evidence-based, and I thought it might be good to add some evidence to this one too.


  2. We’re 12 hours into an election campaign, and you’ve already declared who you’re voting for before the detail on any policies from any of the parties has been released.
    You’ve chosen not to comment on health, tax or education, where potentially the biggest differences between the major parties lie.
    Why not just say “I’m voting Labor because I feel like it” and spare us the false analysis?
    I also agree with Alister on the CPRS: why support a policy that many experts thought would do absolutely nothing to change the bottom line on climate change? Climate change isn’t something that responds to half-measures.


  3. Josh, this is very weak. You start by confidently saying there is only once choice. You end by telling us your daughter is, in fact, the decisive influence. By your own analysis:

    1) The economy: arguable win to the govt, although with the benefit of harry hindsight they went too far;

    2) Immigration: wash;

    3) Science: wash;

    4) Competition: the govt;

    5) Censorship: has to go to the Opposition given the govt’s silly strategy here;

    6) Financial system reform: Joe Hockey supported this, so I will give it to the Opposition in view of the govt’s extreme inertia;

    7) Environment: go the govt or a wash.

    There is hardly a clear outcome here.


  4. Two liberals already did cross the floor!  Sue Boyce and Judith Troeth both crossed the floor to support the ETS in its 41-33 defeat in December.  With support of the Greens, this would have been 38-36 in favour, with no support from independents needed.
    Yes, the ETS was loaded with problems, but the Greens’ rejection has only delayed emissions reductions.  The 5% reduction in 2000 levels sounded puny, but in fact hitting this level in 2020 would have been a 25% reduction in the trend we are currently on (I can’t find a reference for this, but I am pretty sure I heard these estimates.)
    The Greens seem to think that public opinion in favour of an ETS will increase inexorably, but I think that’s highly optimistic.  Voters are fickle, and can easily tire of an issue after it has been voted on (Quebec passionately voted 49.42% to secede from Canada in 1995, now the issue has virtually disappeared).
    It would have been much easier to reform the ETS once it was in place, than for a party to take the risk of bringing it up again.
    At this point, I don’t think Australia will try to lead the world with any carbon pricing.  They will wait until other countries act, and who knows how long that will take.  In the meantime, expect wasteful “direct action” (aka green pork) from both parties.


  5. Understandable the Greens wouldn’t want to lock in a terrible scheme. Better to try for something better next parliament.
    As others have pointed out the evidence your provide suggests the ALP is at most slightly better. Such minor differences are to be expected in a system where the median voter rules supreme.


  6. A weak post. I think your 11 year old daughter’s views don’t justify a public exhortation to vote for a particular party.  Particularly without reference to the forthcoming political policy agenda of each party.

    The stated grounds for your choices – immigration and the economy are unconvincing. 

    The Chinese economy didn’t collapse and we are enjoying strong terms of trade gains on our mineral exports. The banking system was sound for reasons that had nil to do with Labor.   Its a question of evidence that it was Labor that dragged us through this thing and you have not provided it.

    There is evidence of substantial public sector waste in almost every area Labor has touched.  Education, green subsidies, insulation….

    On immigration. What a joke. Record levels of intake were initiated under Howard and the queue-jumper solution of Gillard replicates John Howard’s policy in a different ocean.

    This is not a case for not voting Labor but for making a more careful choice than your analysis suggests.  A protest vote for the Greens makes sense if you are concerned about climate change.


  7. Yes, it is a ‘weak’ endorsement and in retrospect I should have titled it “Only one choice left.” It was a post written out of despair. Guess, I’m not perfect.
    Chris, on the financial review, we need real public statements and a policy to do it not just leanings. The libs also still have MT but it is of little consequence at the moment.
    I agree entirely with at @BruceT who puts the case against the Greens much more clearly than I did. There was a vote on the CPRS, and the Greens voting against it was decisive as was the Coalition; each of whom were pivotal. If you are a one issue party and you can move action forward now 4 years (!) with your vote, you have to do it or you not even worth a protest.
    And @hc, my daughter’s opinion is extremely relevant. Talk to a young woman about what it means to have our new PM and try and think of any better reason to drive your voting choice. Believe it or not, it isn’t all about policy positions.


  8. Joshua,
    Do you mean one choice or one option?  If there is only one option, then there is no choice.


  9. Why is everyone so caught up on not voting liberal because Tony Abbott is at the helm? He personally can’t sway both the lower and upper houses to pass his own personal legislation, or probably even convince his own party of certain matters, for example Turnbull on the ETS.. and if he tries, he may suffer the same fate as Rudd.. look at the entire party and it’s policies, not the lone person heading the party..


  10. Because not everyone is ‘not voting liberal because Tony Abbott is at the helm’. Believe it or not but there are some people who ideologically lean towards the Liberal party are currently disenchanted with its policies.


  11. @WTuckeyforPM – Um, tony got his maternity leave policy up without speaking to not sure what you mean? Ok, so he promised no to do it again until next time…


  12. What did the Coalition offer on the GFC? Unfunded tax cuts on the Bush II model + pork-barrel infrastructure as far as I could work out
    What are they offering now? deflate the economy to bring down interest rates benefiting employed home purchasers like me at the expense of the socially excluded
    The Greens vote on the CPRS is the one big thing against them


  13. The internet filter appears to have been very quietly put out to pasture.  It was announced that it was being delayed by a year in order to review it – but note that a 12 months delay means that the new Senate will have just taken its seats (on 1 July 2011).  A new Senate in which the Greens will have the balance of power, and thus the filter will not pass.  This cannot have escaped the Government’s notice.
    It’s straight out of the Sir Humphrey playbook – how do you drop a policy without dropping a policy?


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