Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"The Australian" Editorial 23/11/07

"The Australian" Editorial
Friday 23 November 2007

It's (not just marking) time!

A decisive win on Saturday is essential for the health of Australian politics. The Australian Labor Party may need 52% to gain a majority. The Coalition parties could scrape home with less than 50%, perhaps even less than 49%. Our democracy would be severely damaged by such a result.

The disillusionment amongst younger voters would be profound. Their interest in politics has revived recently with the desire for positive change and the belief that it can be achieved. It is not just changing the government but reinvigorating our whole approach to politics. Climate change and broadband are more than policy issues for the decision-makers of the coming decades. They are iconic. Symbols of new ways of shaping the future.

Many of those who are turning against the Howard government believe that his team are politically and morally bankrupt. Some of the more glaring examples include: Iraq, the AWB bribes scandal, the shoddy treatment of Australian citizens such as Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez Solon, the political manipulation of the Hicks, Habib and Haneef cases, the orgy of taxpayer-funded propaganda, blatant pork barrelling, the expedient about-faces on global warming and reconciliation, and the cynical introduction of Work Choices. The vilification of refugees and the abuse of basic human rights have reached new lows. The first ever joint John Howard/Peter Costello interview smacked of the kind of hypocrisy that young people reject.

The government’s strength has been the economy but Kevin Rudd has presented a convincing case that Labor will be effective economic managers. The debate has become more complex than three years ago. It's not just interest rates or a booming mining sector. Uncontrolled growth, poor productivity and skills shortages have brought financial stress to both the business community and individuals. Mortgage stress and housing affordability are not just catch phrases. Growing personal debt and unfettered balance of trade deficits present challenges that neither side has yet to face. The exchange rate cannot be sustained at such high levels without major ramifications for whole sectors of the economy, especially exporters.

The Liberal party seem to have run out of steam. They are increasingly out of touch and tainted by political expediency and self-preservation. The treasurer has had ample opportunity to present his vision and plans for Australia’s future. He has failed this challenge. He has been very poor alternative leader of the opposition.

Leadership is about creative ideas and renewal. It is not just marking time. We urge the Australian voters to elect a Rudd Labor government with a clear mandate for the revitalisation that we urgently need.

(Rupert Murdoch's election editorials are always so predictable. I thought I'd write my own. If you have your own or would like to make additions, please use comments below.)

Original post at: Labor View from Broome