A federal election will be held 24th November. The competitor parties have similar policy packages and it is reasonable to expect Kevin Rudd to be doubly cautious about expressing policy difference from PM Howard over the next six weeks. Both parties will therefore plausibly compete on a non-policy basis emphasising personal issues and 'fear' factors.
There will not be the constructiveness we want. What do we really want from the parties? Do we really want just to confirm our own prejudices? In my view a primary concern is that the economic expansion of the last 16 years should be extended.
What do you think? It is a good discussion topic to think seriously about in this first week.
I was impressed with the statement by Michael Chaney, President of the Business Council of Australia. It emphasises economic policy and is balanced.
“The key policies required for future prosperity remain effective federal–state relations, nationally coordinated infrastructure renewal, streamlined business taxation and regulation, lifting workforce participation, and outcomes in education and innovation that better meet our future challenges.
Our current prosperity has been delivered because successive governments, through several elections, have thought beyond the short term and taken difficult reform decisions.
The benefits of those decisions are clear, but what is not clear is how long our growth will continue without a commitment to a comprehensive reform agenda covering fundamental areas of our economy”.
If the huge public surpluses continue I would include measures to cut personal income taxes as well as business taxes without compromising the social safety net. The best way to have a just and decent society is to maintain the strength of the economy. I would also add that proposals to manage carbon emissions need to be in place and operating within the lifespan of the next parliament.