Sunday, October 14, 2007

What are the issues?

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.


conrad said...

I'd like to see Kevin Andrews, and all the rest of conservative Christian right dissappear (unfortunately, looking at the betting market, that isn't very likely). After the election, given that the Liberal party will have absolutely no policies different to Labor, they might actually have to become a liberal party rather than a group of dull worn-out Stalin loving conservatives.

hc said...

The Liberal Party has never been a 'liberal' party. It is a conservative-social democratic party partly because of electoral appeal issues.

The biography of John Howard makes it clear he regards straight 'liberal' policies as electorally impossible in Australia - it is the basis for his ongoing ideological disagreement with Peter Costello who would like to move on a more 'liberal' agenda.

Look at the brainless flack Howard has taken on a modest move to introduce AWAs in the workforce. I think his instincts are sound.

conrad said...

Maybe thats true at a federal level, but there is more variation at a state level. I think Jeff Kennett was fairly liberal on many issues -- albeit constrained by other conservatives in his party.
I'm not even sure how much electoral appeal these convervative ideas will have into the future, at least in terms of social issues and also the environment (vs. economic ones). It seems to me that many of the more conservative ideals are basically dieing out with the older generations.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

this is 1996 all over again except our Arry and the LPers are saying exactly the oppsote things.

One person is consistent but he is far too modest to claim any praise.

derrida derider said...

I think the Oz electorate is basically small-c conservative - that's why incumbency by any government is a huge advantage electorally. We don't like change.

But this is not a small-c conservative government - many of it's quite radical in pursuit of big-C Conservatism. Australians are a very pragmatic lot(depressingly so often) and don't like ideologues - the Heffernans, Andrews and Abbotts have really dragged this government down. And Workchoices made John Howard unpopular because it revealed his ideology. swinging voters thought they'd voted for a rat-cunning ultra-pragmatist who would not rock the boat, not a true believer.

As I've said before it's ironic that Howard will lose government for his principles, not his knavish tricks.