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October 29, 2004

Reality dawns

It has taken a while to sink in amongst the corporate media, but it finally has:


Did Australians vote strategically in the Senate to give the Coalition control? Was it just a mistake? Would citizens have voted differently if they believed the Coalition would achieve a majority in the Senate? One answer.

The new Senate will not just pass all the government legislation that has banked up over the last six years. We can also expect the roll back of the modifications to the government's legisation the Coalition did not like by the minor parties; or the roll back of the bits that the Coaltion had to back down on to get its legislation through. Remember the industrial relations legislation attached to the universities legislation last November?

Guess what? It'll be back. Sooner rather than latter. And lots of new stuff about university governance--the states handing over their powers over universities to Canberra--- and industry-driven vocational training that bypasses the states. Are we going to see a fully market-based tertiary sector?

What will suffer is the environment. There is little hope for any movement towards renewable energy manufacturing in Australia. The National Party has increased its power over environmental reforms. Will they work to roll back the environmental reforms of the past six years?

The new ALP Treasurer Wayne Swan says that Labor's top priority was keeping the economy strong, creating economic wealth, and pushing for a second round of productivity reforms. Nothing at all about a sustainable economy. Since Swan is known for a "relentless-staying-on-message" political communication the ALP has well and truely retreated from its earlier sustainable development approach. This is about politics not policy that is good for the nation.

So what will the ALP do in the Senate for the next 3 years? What will its strategy be? Go to ground? Put up token resistance?

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at October 29, 2004 02:59 PM

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