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questionable tactics « Previous | |Next »
May 13, 2005

Not many in Canberra were impressed by the clever parliamentary political tactics to oppose and seek to defeat in the Senate the Costello budget's $21.7billion tax cut for all income earners. These tactics, devised by the glimmer twins (the duo of Wayne Swan and Stephen Smith), were premised on negative rhetoric.

Sean Leahy

If the glimmer twins political tactics were meant to provide a platform in the media from which to launch a critique of the Costello's budget policy, then they sure backfired. The ALP ended up on the ropes from the Howard/Costello body blows landed throughout Wednesday.

I reckon it was a case of bad political lines that lacked punch and bad political judgement to go along with the oh so clever tactics. The ALP ended up looking vulnerable, bloodied and inept. It failed to use question time on Thursday to attack the Howard government's soft underbelly in its welfare-to work reforms---eg., the inadequate training places for the unemployed and those on welfare, and the shortages of childcare places. Instead of a public debate about the punitive politics of the welfare reforms the debate was about the ALP's blocking of tax cuts.

That meant Kim Beazley's budget speech-in-reply, had to make up the lost ground, with its alternative tax cuts plan and new policy initiatives on infrastructure and skills training.

New policy initiatives? Did not Kim Beazley say in April (The National Press Club speech in April) say that the ALP was going to focus on attacking the Howard Government in the House of Representatives so as to make them accountable, rather than putting forward alternative policies?

I thought that the newly-elected Beazley was on a promise to deliver a more policy orientated approach? Does that mean we should put the Press Club speech to one side? Do we then concentrate on ideas and policies?

So what happened to the ALP's care and compassion for those who were negatively affected by the work-to-welfare reforms at a time of a tax revenue surge from supercharged company profits? There was no mention of this in the budget reply speech.

I thought the ALP was drawing a line in the sand that demarcated a fairer and more equitable Australia. The line was to be used to enable Labor to define itself against Howard as the party of fairness and equity. So what happened to the tough critique of the punitive work-to-welfare reforms, that are the first step in dismantling the welfare system.

What is going on with the ALP? Does anybody have any ideas why it is all over the place?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:55 PM | | Comments (0)