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

electoral horrors « Previous | |Next »
October 29, 2007

Rising inflation changes undercuts the Coalition's tactics of policy announcements speaking of job creation and sharing the spoils of prosperity from the economic boom, coupled to its rhetoric being overwhelmingly negative.

The negatives are the 70 per cent of former trade union officials on Labor's front bench every time he opens his mouth; and recession under Labor because Rudd's industrial relations policy will bring back centralised wage fixing and cause inflation to explode.

election fears.jpg
Bruce Petty

The inflation scenario places an unpopular Government on the back foot, and it appears to be concerned with the past instead of emphasizing the future? The more Howard and Costello boast about their "going for growth" economy (loaded with tax cuts and giveaways) the Reserve Bank's response is to impose discipline via higher interest rates.

Howard and Costello are caught in a trap of their own making: the sustained strength of the economy, the inflationary pressures generated by capacity shortages, the failure to co-ordinate fiscal and monetary policy and the momentum of rising rates. Hence the bad dream.

It's only going to get worse. The media are becoming vultures circling the body of the wounded Coalition.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:11 AM | | Comments (11)


the Coalition's strategy is to combine the two negatives: public concern about union domination of the Labor Party is linked to the fears with "economic risk" and poor management. The Liberals have been running advertising that links former Labor officials, now ministers in state Labor governments, with failures in public hospitals and transport.

The economy is Howard's major card. Talking about the economy means that Howard is able to stay off Rudd's strong issues such as education, health, childcare and climate change. The viability of the 'economy' tactic is increasingly weakened by the state, and politics of, interest rate increases.

The bad dream of interest rates being pushed up by the RBA and the banks can now be coupled to a divided cabinet--the leaking of Turnbull's Kyoto cabinet submission to the AFR. The Coalition continues to look divided---remember the cabinet wanting its leader to quit and the leader refusing to go?--- and that signifies disunity. Disunity spells death as Howard continually reminds his Party.

So where is Howard putting out this spot fire? Is he to rattled finding clever ways to squirm out of interest rate promises in the last election?

Glenn Milne explores the disunity scenario in The Australian, whilst referring to the Kyoto cabinet leak aimed surgically at Turnbull. Milne argues that this surgical strike was a grotesque failure in that it has hurt the Government as a whole, including Costello. He says:

The worst aspect of this scenario, if it's true, is that it leaves Coalition looking as if it's already contemplating post-defeat scenarios. But such is the ineptitude on display they appear not so much to be re-arranging the deck chairs as arguing over who's going to get the best view of the iceberg.

The wheels are starting to fall off, and its only the third week. Will the bad dream become the nightmare that haunts the Liberals, and causes them to turn upon themselves and bite chunks of flesh off one another's bodies?

The Ministers are already putting their own self-preservation ahead of maintaining cabinet solidarity. Meanwhile the ALP's momentum continues to build. They are looking increasingly confident.

In Canberra Glenn Milne is commonly understood to be the media mouthpiece for Peter Costello. He's on the mainline drip feed from Costello's office. His column's are usually interpreted as the view on events from Costello's office.

Allelujah Amen. Long may it continue. Until at least November 23rd would be fine in the interim.

yep. 'Going for growth' is being undercut by another message. How can you have full employment from economic growth when the Treasurer is talking about world financial meltdown?

Yes I know. Howard is saying that there are storm clouds on the international economic horizon, and he adds.

Economic management is going to get harder. Which side of politics is better able to manage those difficulties and therefore deliver over the longer term a lower interest rate regime?

Trust us, Howard is saying - we know how to run the economy in a downturn better than Labor.

Yet if Howard storm clouds on the international economic horizon are the Treasuer's world financial meltdown, then we are going to need more than good and expereinced economic management.We are going to need lots of safety nets to protect us from the fallout.

All the more reason to vote for the ALP and not the Coalition as they have a better track record on safety nets in an economic crisis.


From memory this government has never had to handle an economic crisis of any moment either. If anything really bad happens both sides would be asking Keating for advice.

Gary It seems to me from tonight's Lateline that the Union bosses are still a live issue. Gratefull if you could accommodate the contribution below.Thanks

The vicious "Union Bosses" attack by the Coalition continues without pause.
The Coalition has links with support groups far more powerful and threatening than Australian workers unions could ever be. For example the strong demonstrable linkages between the Liberal Party in Australia and neoconservative forces in the USA, UK and New Zealand. The linkages ere clearly established. There are also clear links with the so called "independant" think tanks in these three countries. There are even links betwen the Liberal party's chief strategist Crosby Textor and the necons in those three other countries. The dramatic impact the President of the United States has on the way our Prime Minister behaves.

These influence chains are far more dangerous to the integrity of Australian political, social and industrial life than if all the union Bosses Australia has ever had were encompased in the one Cabinet. Bush's blatant canvassing for John Howard during the APEC meeting was interference in Australia's internal affairs and should not have been tolerated - even if George Bush thought he was at an OPEC meeting in Austria.

Take for example our involvement in the illegal invasion of Iraq. The majority of Australians, and the majority of Members of the UN were against unilateral action. Over a million people have been killed and several million people displaced. Despite his protestations, if Howard were reelected would he again join George in an equally crazy undertaking in Iran. Remember how he denied we were committed to support George Bush invading Iraq? As he still asserts that he does not regret taking Australia into that invasion, why wouldn't he take us to war in Iran? His protestations mean zilch.

We have been hearing about how experienced and stable the current Cabinet is but look at the history. How many of Howards original Cabinet had Ministerial experience. Not many, and it quickly became apparent. Within about a year seven of them had been dismissed for improprietous behaviour. One of them has even been reappointed to the Ministry! This year two more jettisoned for the same offence. About six ministers leapt free or were pushed out the door. Why? Then there was all that shuffling of chairs to cater for incompetence, mingled with rewards for compliant behaviour. More changes and fancy games than any time since Federation. Hardly a pattern of stability and rectitude.

Then of course we have the Prime Minister's own record as Treasurer in the Fraser Government. The only Treasurer who has ever made the great trifecta - double digit unemployment, double digit inflation, double digit interest rates. This is the man notorious for his invention of the non-core promise.

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Speaking of this breathtaking "management" that is winning back the beltway, according to Lateline commenting on the latest Newspoll, who watched 4 Corners tonight, concerning that serial offender Brendan Nelson?

I say "serial", because he was also busted in the Fairfax "Age" yesterday in concert with Paddy McGuinness, for censorship of academic grants concerning subjects unpopular with the government. Tonight we again witnessed this strange soul's curious "talents" in action, involving a fantastically expensive sabotage of Australia's defence system.
Yet another billion dollar defence procurement "dud" and this one leaves us genuinely at risk.

Naturally the trail leads ultimately in the direction of Cheney and Howard, but that's for another day.

Gary.Re the reference to Iran in my post just above. See todays New Matilda story on Iran and the Times on line link. Seems Australian SAS in concert with UK and USA forces are operating at least along the Iranian/Iraq border

One item arising from the Costello/Swan debate relates to Work Choices. On Lateline last night Howard said that Costello had clearly stated there would be no more changes to Work Choices under a Howard-Costello government. Costello's committment, if you read the transcript carefully, was for the point of time his utterence was made, he did not make a committment for the future. Were the Coalition to be returned with say two more interest rises between now and the next sitting of Parliament he could quite comfortably say "Well things have changed. We need to tighten up the work force", or some such. We should never trust politicians who drop weasel escape clauses into presenations or even declare a "never ever" possibilty.