Sunday, August 4, 2013

Election 2013 : Prologue

So, the PM has visited the GG and an election date has been announced - 7th September.

Now for the circus to start (if it hasn't already been in full swing since the last election).

I haven't used this blog in a little while, but feel the urge to take it out of hibernation and to make some commentary about the election as it progresses.

As a start, let me give you, the reader, some idea as to where I am coming from with this blog.

  • I have no connections or affiliations with any party.
  • My background in tax and accounting will give me a slightly less than passable understanding of all things economic. 
  • I will be voting in the seat of Indi, due to a change in electoral boundaries (last time we were in McEwen). We will be choosing whether to keep the incumbent, Sophie Mirabella (Lib) or dump her for someone else.
  • The political events of the last month have made it difficult for me to feel "loyalty" to any side. I will therefore endeavour to look at things as objectively as possibly (up to a point).
  • I won't be updating this blog every night. I do have a life.
  • I have a big interest in music, and will be keeping an eye out for any pronouncements relating to The Arts.
  • I have no respect for 99% of the media, especially during an election.
OK. So, what do we know so far? Both sides are going to be running a negative campaign, and with good reason.

The bounce that Labor received in the polls after Rudd ousted Gillard has softened. There are too many negatives that the Liberal party can smash the Labor party with, and they will. What are they?, I hear you ask. From my point of view:
  • The level of infighting over the last few years, especially at the highest levels, is unbelievable. There are so many sound bites that the Liberal party have from Labor hating Labor, that I think half the Liberal ads have already been created, using the voices of Conroy, Swan, Garrett, Gillard etc.
  • Eddie Obeid in New South Wales. The timing of the release of the ICAC report is not going to help Labor.
  • The changing goal posts that is the Budget deficit. How a budget released in mid-May be so wrong just a few weeks later is beyond me.
 There's many more, but that's enough for now.

On the other hand, there are no real positives for Liberal party.
  • Their leader is not liked, as poll upon poll has shown. 
  • From what I have seen from the performances of the opposition front bench, there doesn't appear to be a great deal of talent to showcase. Hockey and Robb look as though they know less than I do about economics, Bishop has dealt with foreign matters poorly, Pyne has been shown to be clueless about education and Turnbull has been forced to defend a substandard policy regarding broadband. As for Hunt, the less said about the Environment portfolio, the better. 
  • And finally, where are their policies, for anything (beyond three word slogans)?

One of the big problems I personally see in this election is that some real non-issues are going to be front-and-centre of the campaign. They are:

Asylum seekers. As a son of a refugee (Hungary, 1956), the "debate" surrounding this issue really stinks. And from both sides. Forget who started this, this has developed into a pissing contest of the highest order. And a contest where the asylum seekers are used, not as pawns, but as ammunition. I hated the use of this issue by Howard in 2001. I loathe it now. This should be a second or third rate election issue. But it won't be.

Presidential campaigning. Rudd v Abbott. What bollocks. Watch the media analyse the minutiae of the two leaders. Happy snaps with the family. Sound bites and more sound bites. Stay on message. Highlight the gaffes. Bullshit.

The Economy. The truth of the matter is that the government will never be able to control events that occur beyond its borders and most of the time our economy is shaped by what happens overseas. The China slowdown, the European debt crisis, the GFC, the US recession are all factors that significantly influence our economy. That's not to say that the government can't make it worse (slash jobs and other austerity measures) or reduce the worse of its effects (Budgets 2008 and 2009). It's just that it shouldn't be the The Thing That Matters.

So what does matter, and what should the election be about?
  • How do we prepare our kids for the future (education, cultural development and broadband)
  • How do we help those who can't help themselves (aged care, child care, health, welfare, Foreign aid, Refugees - as in helping them, not getting rid of them)
  • How do we encourage and promote innovation (broadband and education - again)
  • How do we grow, as a country (infrastructure, education, business, taxation, cultural development)
  • How do we tackle the challenges of the future (climate change and environment)
I mentioned earlier I have no respect for the media (or most of it), and especially during elections. However, I am a keen reader of some political blogs, such as Grog's Gamut, Polytics, Andrew Elder and The Failed Estate, amongst others. There are also interesting points and discussions occurring through Twitter. As for the press and the broadcasters - good for sport but not much else.

Well, there is the Prologue to this Election.

We'll keep an eye on the seat of Indi. We'll keep close watch on the things that we think matter. We'll make passing commentary on the things that don't. And we'll hope that people take the time to think about the things that truly are important to them, in the lead up to this election.

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