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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

barren years ahead? « Previous | |Next »
September 3, 2004

The debate about the economy, interest rates and good economic management bubbles along. It currently circulates around interest rates, even though interest rates are primarily determined by world events, events largely outside of the control of the federal government.

Inflation and unemployment sit in the background. Interest rates will go up after the election no matter which political party wins the election. Isn't that what the Reserve Bank is saying?


The political reality is that most economic policy is determined by Treasury not the Minister. The Minister--whoever that is--mostly follows the standard Treasury line. They rarely direct the Treasury.

The election campaign is about fear of rising interest rates (the Coalition) and hope offered by the ladder of opportunuity (the ALP).

If you recall the fear message is that the ALP is fiscally irresponsible, will run up large budget deficits and push up interest rates soon after the election. Hence a vote for Mark Latham is a vote for a crippling increase in your mortgage repayment. What's more interest rates were always higher under Labor than under the Coalition. The figure bandied about was an additional $960 a month to the average mortgage of the average Australian family.

Latham's response to fear campaign was lame and flatfooted. He signed a pledge. That was political theatre ---a stunt? Note that there was no attack on Costello. It was all defense, defense, defense.

Why isn't the ALP saying that the budget will go into deficit because of the Coalition's pre-budget spending spree? Why not attack the current account being in deficit under the Coalition's economic management?

I do not understand the defensiveness. The ALP is a actually a party of punishers and straightners not enlargers. As Hatcher points out Latham's trilogy involves: Labor running a surplus budget for each of the three years of its parliamentary term and cutting net Commonwealth debt; Labor cutting federal tax collections as a proportion of the total economy as conventionally measured, by GDP; and Labor cutting public spending as a proportion of GDP.

That is a neo-liberal policy agenda is it not? So why not argue along the lines that grwoth is unbalanced in that it is being fuelled by strong debt-funded domestic spending that is sucking in imports whilst exports are faltering?

Why not argue that our current account deficit is at historically record levels?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:58 AM | | Comments (6)


Why not indeed. Too much for poor politically ignorant punters like me to handle I guess. Plus it makes lousy television.

maybe I'll have to bang away on the economic side of the campaign then?

For all their sophistication both parties are pretty lousy at the visuals aren't they.

Agreed. While I am determined to have a bit of a laugh during this campaign I am really bemoaning the lack of substance.
For get any comparative analysis.

This is my first election 'on the net' and if I didn't have this access I'd be seriously voting informal this time round(still tempting...resist...resist)
I even had to look at Poll Bludger to find out who the candidates were for my electorate - couldn't find anyting at AEC etc

I'm a bit dumb on knowing where to look and not an ubergoogler so this still takes time that I don't have. Now am wondering whether I should care!

Appreciate your posts though. Don't know how you do it.

A key to making sense of what is happening is to realise that there are two elections: one for the House of Representatives and the other for the Senate and then to think in terms of checks and balances.

We should vote in the Senate so that it provides a check and balance to whoever controls the House of Representatives.

Yes that is the standard Aussie way of voting. Register your protest with one, and your desire with another. I haven't been immune to that myself in the past. But sometimes I wonder how effective the Senate has been - and I wonder if the balance of power should rest on so few.


Guess it depends on what you understand the job of the Senate to be.

is it not the case that a few Senators hold the balance of power because the ALP has said no the Government.

is it the job of the Senate to say no?

Or is its job to review the legislation, make it better, and do their best to get a better deal for Australians.

Consider this possibility. An ALP win. It works in the senate with Coalition to make life even more miserable for the jobless in the name of familiy to work.

You cannot expect the jobless to get work if there is none available, or the educational insitutions are unable to match the skills of school leavers withe the needs of business.