September 7, 2013
We now know that under an Abbott Government the majority of the Coalition’s infrastructure spending will be on regional roads, and that this is the Coalition’s idea of infrastructure. In Coalition logic NBN = bad infrastructure, roads = good infrastructure. Improving public transport in the capital cities is also bad. It is an example of government waste that needs to be eliminated.
So the quality of life in capital cities is going to get worse under a Coalition government, which gained power in a such resounding fashion. Any urban renewal will now be equated with increasing urban sprawl. There will be no support from an Abbott Government for those state governments seeking to infill the brown sites or build around public transport hubs. Infrastructure is all about cars for them, whilst their conception of good, prudent governance does not include sustainability.
If we look back on the Rudd and Gillard governments we can see that they did recognise and engage with key challenges facing Australia in the first two decades of the 21st century – including the global financial crisis, the Asian Century and climate change. As Carol Johnston points out:
The National Broadband Network was seen as essential in ensuring that Australian industries could compete internationally and in ensuring that education and services could be delivered throughout the country, including in the regions. Both the Rudd and Gillard governments also emphasised the need to develop a diverse Australian economy that would prosper beyond the mining boom. Indeed, the mining tax was partly meant to redistribute profits from the miners to those sections of the economy that were more vulnerable.
It's not clear that a badly defeated ALP, with its history of self-destruction, will "stand and fight" and defend its reform legacy. The Labor Right, for instance, would only be too keen to allow an Abbott government to do what it wants on climate change and avoid the prospect of a double dissolution election.
We all know that Abbott has brought the conservatives back to power in Australia by beating up on refugees and global warming. Things are back in their rightful place. The old order of Fortress Australia has been restored.