Saturday, 7 September 2013

A Warning To Voters Down Under...

by Will Wallace

Will Tony Abbott (left) replace Kevin Rudd (right)
as Australian Prime Minister today?
Today, voters are being met with a choice about the future of their nation, and it is a very clear decision: change or continuity? It’s the same question that we face at every election, but for Australians, it is particularly important that they don’t make the wrong choice. Today is a turning point in that country’s history.

I’m the sort of person who loves politics - which probably makes me a bit of a loser - so much so that I have an insatiable desire to explore the current affairs of places beyond the shores of Britain. What fascinates me is where consensus and the centre-ground differ between each country: the United States is undoubtedly skewed towards being more conservative than Europe, as there are American “liberals” (Democrats) that see eye-to-eye with Dutch “conservatives” (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie), for example. This is why a lot of people find it bizarre that my fingers are crossed for the Australian Labor Party to be re-elected next week. The leader of the Australian Liberal Party (which is nothing like the UK Liberal Democrats, but is quite conservative) is a fool named Tony Abbott. 

Why is he a fool?

(1) In 2009, he overthrew his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, who would have made a fine Prime Minister.
(2) He doesn’t believe in climate change.
(3) He acts in his own interests, not the country’s.This third point is undoubtedly the most severe, as it is duty of elected officials to legislate and make the decisions that will benefit those that have elected them.

The last six years of Labor government in the land of Oz have seen huge strides made in the right direction: a National Broadband Network, a tax on high levels of carbon emissions, improved relations with Aboriginal Australians, record investment in schools and hospitals, the Disability Care program, the eradication of institutionalised discrimination against the LGBT community, the creation of nearly a million jobs since Labor entered government in 2007, and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that the economy bucked the global trend by not entering recession in 2008 and, instead, becoming the fastest-growing in the world. Yet, despite all the achievements, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is set to be booted out of The Lodge (the Australian equivalent of 10 Downing St) tonight.

So what alternative does Abbott offer? 

A Liberal government will replace the NBN with an expensive and slower system, scrap the carbon tax which has reduced emissions by up to 7% in the space of a year, discontinue legislation that aims to improve Aboriginal rights, drastically cut public sector spending and oppose efforts to equalise marriage; it will put the national economy in jeopardy thanks to plans to severely reduce infrastructure investment. Unfortunately, the Murdoch-run media in Australia has played a significant hand in bolstering support for the Liberals, at Labor’s expense, and it is more than likely that the country will have a new government with a new approach and a new threat to society and the economy.

Australia, you have been warned. Brace yourselves for three years of hell.

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