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

the election: smile and look positive « Previous | |Next »
July 28, 2010

I have pretty much tuned out from the over-scripted and staged current election campaign, apart from listening to the headlines. I find it mind numbing in terms of its slogans and talking points of stopping the boats, end the waste, the Liberals obsession with deficits and debit, Labor's attempts at greenwash and the debate on population policy. Both sides are driven by their party polling research and that is essentially the same.


Bob Brown should have been a participant in the leaders debate. The Greens are in government in Tasmania and the ACT and they have something to offer on climate change that goes beyond the 'not yet.'

When are the two major parties going to realize that there is a now third force in Australian politics, which will soon exercise its balance of power through the Senate? Underneath all the waffle of the staged sound bites of safety first the political ground is shifting. We are moving beyond the two-party model.

In an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald Ross Gittens makes two good observations about the election campaign. Gittens' first observation is that:

The paradoxical truth is that modern election campaigns are aimed at those who aren't much interested in the topic. Swinging voters are assumed to be completely self-interested and short-sighted, driven by emotion rather than intellect, ill-informed and easily conned by slogans and television ads...Hence all the nonsense we're hearing from both sides.

He says that for those of us who do take an intelligent interest, the best response is to conduct our own debate, ignoring the silliness as much as we can. That's good advice. Gittens' second observation is that:
This election is the battle of the scare campaigns. Pollies are trying to frighten us about big new taxes, the return of Work Choices, the threat from boat people, and deficits and debt. I've written a lot in recent times about why we don't need to be too worried by budget deficits and public debt.

What is needed is investment in urban infrastructure to improve the quality of life in our cities (eg., better public transport, people orientated inner city, better food etc ) and more sustainable.

Sustainable, for someone in southern Australia, means environmental sustainability, and that means doing something about water in the context of climate change. That means harvesting storm water and waste-water reuse as well as desalinisation plants.

What we don't know is how the federal and state governments are planning to make our cities more liveable and sustainable in the context of economic growth being the top priority and climate change. I suspect that there is not much planning.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:24 AM | | Comments (10)


re "the threat from boat people"

Bob Eliis nicely unpacks the tacit dog whistle in this comment in his column at the ABC's Unleashed. Referring to Julia Gillard he says:

She can save herself still, but she seems disinclined to. She has learned too well from John Howard the art of concealing information. He knew nothing of AWB and Saddam. She will say nothing of 'private conversations', never ever. He with sinuous dissembling played the anti-Muslim card, we will decide, and so will she. He could 'perfectly understand' why people were concerned about filthy Martians coming in ramshackle plague-ridden galleons swarming with rats and so can she. This is all very well as far as it goes but she must soon do something dramatic as well. Like boarding the Tampa.

I love the phrase "filthy Martians coming in ramshackle plague-ridden galleons swarming with rats."

Should Ellis have said Muslims instead of Martians? Or is he implying that western Sydney voters see Muslims as so alien that they are equivalent to being Martians?

re "there is a now third force in Australian politics which will exercise its power through the Senate".

At least Senator Fielding will go as a result of the Labor/Green preference deal. One less clown in the Senate.

Anthony Green says that:

it is the Loss of Coalition Senators elected in 2004 that will pull the Greens Senators into the balance of power. The purpose of the [recent preference] deal is to weaken the Coalition's position beyond what would naturally occur if the Labor government is re-elected.

He adds that the bigger problem for Labor in losing votes to the Greens is not preferences, but the Greens passing the Liberals in inner-city seats and then defeating Labor on Liberal preferences. In the debate on how the Greens will go in seats like Melbourne, it is not Green preferences that matter, but what the Liberals decide to do.

During the odd moment (very odd indeed) I catch a dribble of the commercial news... I am always blown away at how EXISTENTIAL the boat-people issue is portrayed. Apparently they are the single biggest threat to the 'straaayn-way-of-life.

Sadly there's no indication that the commercial media is going to grow up any time soon. Bloody clowns!

I wonder if having boat people assessed while living in the community is a responsible thing to do? The government has a responsibility to the community.
I wonder what percentage of Green voters will actually read their policies before they vote for them. Having a third party with the balance of power is a good thing as long as the third party is ....... (insert word here)

There was a debate on green issues on the ABC's 7.30 Report between Wong (ALP) and Hunt (Coalition). They both avoided any discussion of the real issues as was expected. There was no Bob Brown or Christine Milne, even though The Greens will have a big influence on climate change policy after this election. Why are The Greens being excluded from green debates?

Kerry O'Brien or Tony Jones should start any future debates on climate change with the simple proposition--lets shut down Hazelwood now without compensation.

(1) it's an industrial relic that was was awarded an extension to to 2031 by the Victorian Government that has been captured by Big Coal looking for ever more subsidies in a warming world.

(2) Hazelwood was due to be shut down in 2005 because it is such an industrial heap of junk.

Watch the two main parties squirm on that one. Watch them defend Big Coal while pretending to be green. Has the ABC the courage to initiate such a debate and keep them honest?

The election campaign is so heavily scripted and stage managed. Its like watching dolls or puppets going through their routines.

The Canberra Press journos on the campaign trail have stopped examining policy and now just examine politicians personalities. This is politics as entertainment.

The election campaign is like two downmarket department stores selling junk with permanent sales. Cheaper is best.

The style of campaign becomes a campaign issue in itself: Gillard has rejected being glossed up, over-managed and super-spun. She says that modern campaigns are composed of set-piece events, you run a risk averse campaign, and you try and minimise the possibility for gaffes.

Gillard did change when she became PM. She was glossed up by the image makers so much that she looked as if she were in showbiz. An image from the ideal woman's style guide coupled to the bland statements and robot lines.