Sunday, November 25, 2007

Labor Landslide

Kevin Rudd - The New Prime Monster of Australia

"Now we can implement our 'real' agenda! *evil laughter ensues*

I am not a 'political' animal but like most, I listen to policy promises that affect me, my life, my children. So this time round, yep, I voted Labor and Labor won. Our new leader, Kevin Rudd is a babe in politics so has much to prove in bringing his conservatively left wing Government into the limelight and proving they can do as good a job as the outgoing Liberal conservatives. He also has his work cut out for him containing the rampantly left wing Deputy Julia Gillard in ensuring we don't sink back into the union controlled Australia of the 70's and 80's. Remember Electricity rationing, the Wharf disputes?

Last night's landslide result, a win of a 22 seat margin by labour in the House of Representatives has proven that Australians are ready for a change after 11 years of Howard Government. Well done Aussies for getting off your political backsides. As I said yesterday, John Howard has done a good job on the most part, bringing Australia into the fore as an economy to be reckoned with even if the world doesn't know where we are. Among his victories:

  • Free trade agreement with the US (nobody seems to realise what a biggie this is for a nation who relies so heavily on its primary production and resource sales an has to compete with heavily subsidised US and European Markets)
  • A booming economy
  • Less than 5% Unemployment
  • A budget surplus over the past 8 years of above $4 billion
However over his 11 years in Government Howard has also, made Australia one of the most heavily taxed nations in the world despite offering tax cuts three years in a row to average Australians. Despite promising there would be no GST in Australia, he implemented it (Goods and Services Tax). He introduced compulsary fees for Tertiary education which in my day was free . . thats right . . . free. My kids will graduate each with a $25,000 debt to be repaid once their earnings peak at $38,000 pa. This move seriously hampering the ability of bright students from low socio-economic backgrounds to enter the tertiary system. He even introduced higher fees for TAFE (Technical and Further Education) which should have been the bastion of education for our tradesmen and skilled workers. He built Detention Centres for refugees where the authentic and the fraudulent simmered for years before the dinosaur that is our public service processed them - allowed the good guys in and sent the bad guys home. He blindly followed the US into the War against Iraq when popular opinion was clearly against it, without seeking a plebicite from the people. And of course Work Choices Legislation which allows individual workplace agreements to be negotiated between employer and employee and the abolition of the Unfair Dismissal Tribunal.

So voting for a new Government wasn't easy. My mind seriously wasn't made up until last Friday and I'm not 'elated' by the result but pleased. One good thing about a Federal Labor Government is that it is now aligned with every State and Territory in Australia which has had Labor State Governments for many years. Hopefully, this means that State Governments will now be more receptive to Federal initiatives. The way I read it, the Commonwealth provides the funds for infrastructure, Health, Education and the States choose how to spend it. In NSW particularly (I speak of this because it's where I live), our public health system is in crisis, medical staff are in short supply, our schools are ill-equipped, Child Care absorbs up to 40% of the working family wage and the roads are in need of improvement. The Environment, including climate change has only been on the agenda this year as an election 'sweetener'.

Another 'good' thing about this result is in the Senate, essentially, the forum where laws are discussed and approved. Once a majority Liberal Senate, it was easy to 'sneak' legislation through. Now the Greens hold the balance of power which hopefully means that there will be healthy debate on any laws being fronted (despite their labour leanings). This too can only be a good thing rather than legislation being a 'given' in a largely impotent Senate.

So there you have it in a nutshell. My children have never known anything other than a Liberal Australia . . .Lets see how it all pans out shall we?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For better or for worse there needed to be a change. I'm with you Baino! It will be interesting to see if Rudd keeps his promise to ratify the Kyoto Treaty on climate change, withdraw combat troops from Iraq, and roll back the Industrial Relations laws. Hospitals, public schools, environment ... it seems ground basic needs have suffered a lot. Sigh. Thank *F* the election is over! Bring on the future!!