So, here we are 3 days out from the election. Unfortunately, for Australia, I think, it looks like Latham won’t quite make it. Thats not to say that he hasn’t campaigned well. He’s seemed quite relaxed and comfortable in the public arena, surprisingly so for someone with such little experience. He’s handled sticky situations quite well, such as being ambushed at one of his community forums. This characteristic, as well with his seeming ease (and it would seem, preference), for the unstaged, natural campaign method, is something that I believe is missing from Australian Politics. I believe that the set-piece campaign style does not pay due respect to the population. Basically, it says “we know whats best – we just need to sell it to you” – rather than getting out and fielding concerns of the population.
The current political climate, which IS advantageous to Howard – is also a direct product of the Howard style. He has attempted to push the population out of the decisionmaking proccess – yet make them feel comfortable that he is making the right decisions for them. The population is very cynical of all politicians, but would rather have them do the thinking for them. ANd this works against Latham – the electorate fear change from the comfortable political position, even if it means a social and economical gain.
Over the last few days, we have seen both Latham and Howard release their policy on the Tasmanian forests. And its resulted in some scenes many people thought they would never see – the CFMEU cheering on the man who would destroy unions had he the opportunity. Latham want to essentially, put away close to 240million hectares of forest land – Howard wants to do nothing. However, what is being missed in this whole debate, is the reality of the situation. Apparently only 6% of the Tasmania’s workforce is enganged in the Timber Industry. (Compare 30% in tourism, who would benefit from the Forest’s preservation). Also the timber industry is shrinking as it is. Much of the timber is then shipped overseas, with the bulk of the value-add happening in Asia. Anybody looking at a long term career in the timber woodchip industry would be stupid. Latham is offering an opportunity that will probably never come around again – the opportunity for workers in a dying industry to be reskilled and retrained into better jobs – $800millions worth. Tasmania cannot survive on logging alone – the population need to move with the times. Yet, the timberworkers cling to this dying industry. Its almost analogous to people on a sinking ship, refusing a liferaft! I ask, once again… why are people so stupid?
Howard (and many of his top ministers) are showing unprecedented levels of arrogance towards people, and the media particularly, i’ve noticed. In interview, and whilst fielding questions, i was surprised to here Howard say, “I am the PrimeMinsiter of Australia” and “I’ll release that when I’m ready to…”. This shows clearly that he believes that he still rules Australia and does what he wants when he wants to. I cannot think of any good reason that Howard should be given another term! (In fact, I challenge anyone to find one!). He has core policies – “Interest Rates will go up under labor” and “Labor is weak on security”. He has no outlook for what he wants to do in the next term – no new policy direction (in fact, no policy). Any grants he has given are sweeteners to patch up the rape of social systems he’s enacted over the last 8 years. And now, the surplus has magically appeared because of “good economic management” (actually, you just taxed the hell out of everyone and ripped money out of the public sector, you bastard) – and now he’s splashing it around very specifically to the marginal electorates – as if somehow, this money is his to bestow upon the masses as he see’s fit. People forget, for some reason – that that surplus money is THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY – and should go the the benefit of all. Howard has done NOTHING to instil trust and has no plans for the future. If he had anything good to offer the country, he’s done that. From here on in, he will just run it backwards.
So, folks, its with a heavy heart that I say that I feel Howard will hold on to power – I wish it were not so. To quote Mick Molloy (who surpisingly did a 15min anti howard rant on commerical radio) “he will get in, because STUPID people will vote him in”. So – if there is anyone out there who doesn’t care how they vote, please PLEASE give it to anyone but Howard (or Family First). And if you are thinking about voting Liberal – sit down and have a good long think about what you want this country to be, and what you would be condemning it to.
One day… people will wake up and vote on the best for AUSTRALIA – not for the money placed in their pockets.