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.