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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly



Although I named this post "The Good the Bad and the Ugly", there is little good in the final outcome of this election, no matter what it turns out to be.

The Good

The most significant single 'Good' is the Pyrrhic victory for those who objected to the ousting of Tony Abbott last September. The electorate has punished the Malcolm Turnbull government where it hurts most, at the 'only poll that counts'. No doubt many of the so called 'Del-cons' have had a role in this. It may not have been the only factor in the swing against the LNP but it was significant as it was indeed an own goal. 

The lesson is clear. No matter which party you are, if the bed-wetter MPs turn against the elected PM in their first term, the party will be punished at the next election. Moreover such a move will divide the party and damage electoral support potentially for multiple terms. No doubt the LNP and in particular those who turned against Abbott are now trying to rationalise their own stupidity.

The Bad

Unfortunately in this category there are too many to mention, but here are some; - 
  • The Senate potpouri will make it difficult for either major party to govern. Minority and independent senators avoid unpopular measures, and since the serious job of budget repair requires such measures, budget repair is likely to be postponed. At the same time in order to woo these crossbenchers government decisions will be skewed towards their pet projects. All unsatisfactory outcomes.
  • With a hung parliament, as seems most likely, all the above problems will simply multiply. More chaos, more wooing of crossbenchers, more misdirected decisions.
  • The voters have lost trust in the major parties and have moved from the centre to the right (Pauline Hanson) and the Left (NXT).( I know Xenophon says he is mainstream and centrist, but that's what they all say. Judge them not by their words but by their deeds. Historically he has voted with the Green Left. ) This makes for a divided electorate that will not favour the very hard and unpopular decisions rebalance the ship of state.
  • The LNP is now a more divided party. Turnbull may not realise it yet, but his wings will be clipped and he will have to accept serious changes. If he doesn't he may be ousted. That would only lead to more instability. Many Turnbull supporters have lost confidence in their leader and most likely this will have inevitable consequences.
  • The ALP is emboldened. It now feels its policies are winners. These are policies of the Left rather than the centre . Policies to spend more on Education and Health and allow deficits and debt to grow. Whether it gains government in a hung parliament or not, these policies will be more ingrained in the ALP psyche.
  • The ALP has not been punished for its reckless spending beyond its terms in government. Our structural deficit is the result of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governments' legislating rising spending commitments beyond its terms in government, and without any commensurate rises in incomes.
  • ALP has not been punished for shamelessly sabotaging the LNP's attempts at budget repair by denying passage of measures that it has subsequently used in its own election commitments. Will it now pass this legislation?
  • The Unions are emboldened. The TURC royal commission uncovered significant and on-going union corruption including extortion, thuggery, and sweetheart deals with Employers that disadvantaged their own members. Neither the ACTU nor the ALP have made any moves to even acknowledge the problem let alone take action against any Union leaders or even change some of their own givernance. The CFMEU  the subject of the most egregious corrupt practices remains a fully endorsed memebr of the SACTU and the ALP to its shame still accepts donations from the tainted union.
  • and so on..

The Ugly

Elections are generally an 'ugly' time to view a nation's character. This campaign has been no exception, highlighted by some of the most blatant lies and misrepresentations I have come across.

Starting with ads citing half-baked truths and extending to an entire campaign based on an outright fabrication.

The Unions' ads citing cuts in education and health spending fall into the former category. Education and Health spending are both increasing year on year. Similarly the LNP attacking Labor on border control given their stated policy is the same, was only justifiable when many ALP MPs openly contradicted their own parties policies.

But it is the Medi-scare campaign arguing that the "Coalition will privatise Medicare" that was the most ugly aspect of this election. It was a fabrication and at no stage did the ALP believe that the LNP had any intention to privatise Medicare. The push back by the LNP was slow and weak. Who knows what a more forthright rebuttal may have achieved. Nevertheless the Mediscare campaign did a lot of damage and certainly swung many wavering voters to the ALP. It will no doubt take pride of place in political attack campaigns for its success. Call me a purist but I think such tactics are not worthy of any party that wants to govern our country. 

What next

Instead of Turnbull's dream scenario of a re-elected Coalition delivering stable government, the electorate has produced a nightmare of instability and uncertainty. A divided LNP that may or may not form government, a resurgent ALP with policies to cripple the country, a feral senate with multiple crossbenchers with diverse personal/party goals and an electorate in denial, blissfully sailing the Atlantic on the RMS Titanic - pass the champagne please!

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