Even as a partisan in this debate I still feel it is worthwhile to ask a basic question. Would we be better-off with an experienced Howard Government or with a broadly similar, though less experienced, Rudd Labor Government? The arguments I have seen favouring Labor often seem negative – reasons for not voting for the Coalition rather than a strong preference for Rudd’s team.
Rudd is certainly trying hard not to offend and is offering a ‘small targets’ policy but why then throw out an experienced party. Will Labor provide better economic management? What will it do better?
Some of the criticisms of the Coalition are that it is a slow on implementing a reform agenda and that its age has made it run out of ideas. Despite WorkChoices I think there might be some point to this though it would be surprising to me if the mass of Australians saw the lack of a reform agenda as a reason to vote against the coalition.
By the way Labor’s last spell in office (13 years) was longer than John Howard’s current term. The age of John Howard himself (68 in two days) seems an irrelevancy.
There are also specific issues such as Australia’s involvement in the unpopular involvement in the war in Iraq and the claimed untrustworthiness of the Government (Tampa, AWB etc.). This issues are often discussed by the left but I am unsure if it is accurate or if it reflects general community attitudes. Would the electorate appreciate a repudiation of the American position in Iraq with all that that would imply?
The most disappointing aspect of Coalition policies to me has been the continued lack of emphasis on tertiary education and on producing a first-rate university system. At a time when investment in education is more important as it has ever been – we will never be competitive with countries like China in mass produced manufactured goods and we cannot operate purely as a rural and mineral products exporter - I think we are not showing foresight. It would be better to be marginally over-investing in education than under-investing as we are.
How will a Rudd government improve the Australian education system?
Finally, maybe there are no sensible reasons for change other than the view that a change once in a while is a good thing. While the long spell of economic progress that has been enjoyed by the Coalition should operate in its favour there might also be the feeling (as Paul Keating has remarked) that it is an inexpensive time to make a major political change. The economy is in good shape and we can afford a few adjustment costs.
What do you think? What is the main reason you will vote as you will? Will tou be voting for a different party this election?
Try to keep your response as free of polemics as possible.