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Canberra Watch « Previous | |Next »
October 15, 2006

As John Howard begins to clear the legislative decks for the federal election next year there is a growing unhappiness about the Iraq war, increasing insecurity about the changes to the industrial landscape and a developing anxiety about the effects of climate change in the electorate. There is the growing possibility for a rise in interest rates before Xmas due to inflation risks and pressures, the ALP has been doing well in the polls, and the Howard Government is becoming sensitive to the effects of climate change in Australia.

These are interesting times for Canberra watchers as the Howard Government endeavours to control the political outcomes of pressing issues:


So we have a $837m skills package designed to respond to the skills shortage through a packa g of vouchers and wages support for older apprentices combined with extra investment in high level education and training. It is a political document designed to neutralize the persuasive arguments made by Kim Beazley amidst Labor's scare campaign on the importing of foreign workers by Australian firms in order to overcome the skills shortage across the nation.

Beazley argues that importing cheap foreign worker effectively denies opportunity to those who need it most---young Australians and, because foreign workers are being paid less than their local counterparts, it's lowering pay and conditions for everyone else. Jason Koutsoukis, in an op-ed in The Age argues that Beazley has a good targeted campaign:

With voters already anxious about the impact of the Government's industrial relations, Beazley has skilfully weaved in fears about foreign workers taking local jobs as part of the problem. It's a classic wedge between the two policy positions Howard has been able to hold together for so long and upon which he has been able to build such a broad constituency of middle-class voters.On one side is Howard's economic liberalism, which strongly favours globalisation, one of the consequences of which is for local industry to import foreign workers when it wants to. But on the other hand is Howard's social conservatism, which has been inclined towards policies that keep foreigners out and appeals to those who want to preserve Australia as it is.

This scare campaign frightens exactly the same group of voters that Howard won over in 2001 with his tough stance against asylum seekers.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:12 PM | | Comments (2)


"This scare campaign frightens exactly the same group of voters that Howard won over in 2001 with his tough stance against asylum seekers."
Great when Fat Boy slim wins in 2007 we replace one scoundral with another.

The ALP has to win over the middle ground if it is to be elected. Fear campaigns do work.

Will it swing over those in the outer suburbs in the capital cities who are becoming subcontractors and contractors?

If it is to gain power the ALP will need to pinch Coalition seats in Queensland with individual swings of 6 to 7.5 per cent----around six to eight seats in Queensland, where it currently holds only six of 29 seats. A big ask isn't it.

And it has to win in SA--there are 11 seats in SA, five of which are very marginal. the ALP needs to win all five marginals.

Industrial relations look to be a good way to cut through to the raw emotion of thiose in marginal seats.