Today’s Shambles

BF2hXNSCMAAKM7Y.jpg-largeWell well well.  Today has been a day indeed!  Let me start off by saying this is truly horrendous timing.  Crean has done us all a disservice and been incredibly insensitive.  By calling for a leadership spill he has insulted and overshadowed many people.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about; today was the day when the government (working with all parties in a wonderful show of unity) officially apologised to a generation of women (and men) who were forced to give their children up for adoption.  At times they were drugged to force them to consent, and then they were refused any contact with, or any knowledge of, their children.  Disgusting and horrific stuff.  This was a day where many people all over the country travelled to Canberra to be a part of this apology and continue their journey of healing.

The apology moved me to tears.  If you didn’t see it, HERE it is.

Awful, awful timing.  These people have been robbed of their moment to be recognised.

Now let’s get to the leadership issues of today.

Simon Crean (federal arts minister) called a spill (the term for an internal party leadership ballot) this morning.  He said he’d be supporting Kevin Rudd and put his own name forward to be Rudd’s deputy.  This all seemed to be without actually talking to Rudd.  He said he hadn’t spoken to Rudd for 48 hours, but perhaps he should have…  This is a very messy situation.  More about what happened to Crean later.

In the end (5 minutes before the spill vote) Rudd said he wouldn’t stand for the leadership.  This means that there was no contest and Julia Gillard & Wayne Swan were again elected unopposed as PM & deputy.

BF23iaaCMAAFCEA.jpg-largeThis was an interesting move.  Obviously Rudd’s people had spent the day working out his numbers.  He didn’t have the numbers, so he didn’t run.  He said after the spill in Feb 2012 that he would not run against Julia again, and he stuck to that promise (although it seems that he only stuck to it coz he didn’t have the numbers).  He did say that he would only ever stand again if the leadership became vacant (if Julia stepped aside) or if the caucus drafted him to stand.  Fair enough.

The other problem with this is that Rudd’s supporters stuck their neck out today and lost their careers.  Crean lost his ministerial portfolio and is now a backbencher.  Marles has lost his portfolio as Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Pacific Island Affairs.  Fitzgibbon will likely lose his position as chief government whip.  These guys stuck their neck out for nothing as it turns out.  There wasn’t even a vote.  I’m not saying this is Rudd’s fault, but it is a problem.  Why did they do it?

We have no idea what happened behind closed doors, so it’s hard to comment on why Kevin refused to stand and why the spill was called.

Crean says the reason for the spill was that he wanted to finally resolve the leadership issue, and he thought that it was in the best interests of the Labor party to reinstate Rudd.  Rudd is more popular and he is more likely to beat Abbott in September.

Yes.  The polls say that.

And it might be true.

But…

Rudd is the more popular without the party, Gillard is the more popular within the party.  I was a Rudd supporter (and not a Gillard one), but once he was deposed it became very clear that he was an utter nightmare to work for.  The information I have read is that Rudd is a control freak and does not delegate.  He wants things done his way and only his way.  He is bad at working cooperatively and does not compromise well.  I can understand why his party doesn’t want him back in the top job.

Gillard on the other hand is meant to be excellent to work for.  She is good at negotiating (even if she’s not good at pronouncing the word) and works very well with others.  She listens and shares the burden of office.

Keep in mind this is not my opinion, this is information coming from multiple people who have worked with both Rudd & Gillard.  I can link you to articles about this if you want, but I’d have to do some digging because I don’t know where they are now.  These articles turned me from a Rudd to a Gillard supporter.

BF2518lCMAAr7is.jpg-largeJulia has done good things in office.  Carbon pricing, the NDIS, increased pension payments, increased super-annunation, workplace relations reform, media reforms, increased education funding, being the lowest taxing government in modern Australian history (yes, that’s true, despite what Abbott spouts), surviving the GFC (extraordinarily well), very low comparable national debt.  The list goes on and on and on.

Julia Gillard is tough.  People say that, but damn is she tough.  The amount of public criticism she has copped would make anyone crawl under a doona and cry for 10 years.  We let it wash over us, but think about how you take criticism, then think about what she goes through.  If I had people hating on me, violently and in public, I think I’d crumble.  And I’m a tough person.  She is one tough woman.  She gets on with her job just as she is.  Wow.

One of the worst things about Julia is her failure in her ability to communicate well to the public.  That is one of the things that Rudd does very well.  He is popular.  She is not.  Julia is not charismatic, she does not come across as very likeable.  Her voice is annoying, people tune out.  I also think people hate her because she started off on such a bad note.  Taking the leadership from Kevin that way was not a good look.  That made people hate her, and many people refuse to change their minds (even if it’s subconscious).

Because she doesn’t do well in the public eye, her achievements largely go unnoticed by the general public.  Abbott is a master at exploiting this.  If you aren’t naturally charismatic and likeable, it’s hard to preach positive messages.  So many people find politics boring and do not delve into policy detail.  Obviously I am a politics nerd and I’m very much into the detail.  I’m happy to talk about it to people who don’t want to read up on it themselves, but the problem as I see it, is that a lot of people want to do neither.  If you don’t know about policy detail you are basing your political knowledge, and therefore vote, on personality.

That is dangerous.

Don’t vote for who you like to listen to, or who sounds the best.  Vote for who has the best policies.  Who gets things done?  Who actually makes positive changes?  Who cares for the vulnerable and doesn’t leave people to fend for themselves?

Ok, my socialist ideas are coming through here, but that’s what Jesus was about.  He judged a society by how they cared for the poor, the widows, the orphans and the aliens (refugees).  The Libs are meant to be the more ‘Christian’ party, but I’d argue they are not.  They want Capitalism to take its course, something I’m convinced that Jesus would violently oppose.  The ‘trickle’ down effect has been proven over and over again to NOT WORK!!!!!  I can’t understand why the Libs (and the Republicans) still spout it as the ideal of a free society.  No society has ever made capitalism work; apart from for the rich and middle class.  The poor always get poorer.  Always.  That’s not opinion, that’s history.

BFv_V3fCMAAo48D.jpg-largeI completely understand why people would vote Liberal.  I wouldn’t vote that way, but I get it.  What I don’t get it why anyone would vote for Abbott.  He seldom releases details of policy.  He is vague and unsubstantial.  None of his policies have been costed (seriously), so his promises to implement are problematic.  Also, the problem with promising policies without detail and costing is that he needs to cut spending somewhere to pay for his promised spending.  He has now promised $160 billion in spending and has not said where he will get a cent of that money from.  That is violently irresponsible.  He is taking full advantage of the ill-will felt for Labor without promising anything substantial.  Abbott is incredibly ambitious and will do anything to become PM (last election he told Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie he’d literally give him anything he wanted if he’d support him as PM).  He is relentlessly negative and feeds off the negativity he creates.  The old adage that “oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them” is what Abbott’s strategy is.

And it’s working.

This says a lot about our society.

We’re so lazy that we listen to sound bites and don’t actually pay attention to the detail.  That stuff is boring.  We just want someone to tell us about it all in small sound bites.

Please don’t think I’m criticising any of you who feel this way.  I’m just frustrated.  I really think this is where Abbott gets his power and it makes me angry.  He takes advantage of people’s ignorance (not a negative term, just meaning people who are unaware of the minute details) and exploits it.

I know Abbott has his moments.  I’m not saying he’s like this 100% of the time, but surely no one can provide me with evidence (that isn’t your own emotional bias) proving he isn’t like this a lot of the time.

Just listen to him in question time. He rarely offers solutions.  He just says why Labor is failing.  It’s not good enough to criticise the other side.  He needs to offer a credible alternative.  So far he has not done that.

I’m not saying Labor doesn’t do the same thing at times.  They do.  Wayne Swan is one of the biggest culprits, as is Jenny Macklin.  It does them no favours.

The sad thing, and frustrating thing, for me is that this (the unproductive negativity) is the strategy of almost the entire Liberal party.  People like Kelly O’Dwyer, Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop, Michaelia Cash, Sophie Mirabella, Scott Morrison, Christopher Pyne, and many more are constantly jumping on ill will as some sort of political strategy.

It’s awful.

We deserve better, but we won’t get it while we still buy into this crap.  We need to pay attention to more than soundbites and understand what we’re being given by our politicians.  If this is not your thing, get a summary from someone you trust.

Don’t vote on personality or emotion.  Please.

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8 Replies to “Today’s Shambles”

  1. yeah well said about the important things being the difference between the parties idealogies and how that will effect ppl in australia and round the world.. im a bit sceptical about creans involvement and how much today was motivated by rudd supporters.. it is worth thinking about.

  2. I think that there’s been gradual shift away by both sides from a position of vision to one of merely being the administrators of government business.
    Neither side is really prepared to invest properly in higher education and training, in the infrastructure required to maintain let alone define the future and commitments to tax cuts by both sides, only help to accelerate the accumulation of capital by fewer and fewer rich people (who own and fund the poetical parties).

    I want someone to think about where the country will be in 2043. I don’t really find anyone doing that though. Whoever wins in September, I think that it is the people who lose.

    1. I would agree that neither party is doing an awesome job at the moment if we think idealistically. However, if we have to work with what we’ve got, I think Labor have much better policies than the Libs.

  3. Thinking about yesterday’s events in Canberra, I wonder how many of the Labor caucus actually wanted Kevin Rudd back, or were they acting out of pragmatism? That is, they were prepared to compromise and put aside their personal dislike of him and have back as PM because he’s popular with the electorate, and in theory, by lifting their approval ratings, he may have improved their chances of staying in government. That’s debatable anyway. In 2007 Rudd’s flaws were overlooked because they wanted a popular leader to take them to victory at the election, and it eventually backfired on them.

    I’m a swinging voter. Economically I’m not conservative but socially I am. I feel quite strongly about the rights of workers to earn a decent living, and that all people should have access to affordable health care and education, regardless of their socio-economic status. I wouldn’t call myself a Greenie, but believe in the principle of good environmental stewardship, and governments have a role in this area. The global financial crisis showed us what happens when you have blind faith in the free market, so I believe that it is appropriate and necessary to have some government regulation of the economy. I was also opposed to the privatization of public utilities that federal and state governments undertook during the 1990’s.

    I agree that unfettered capitalism doesn’t work, but on the social policy side of things, I’m getting tired of heavy handed state and federal Labor governments who have in recent years given us racial and religious tolerance legislation, late term abortion, with penalties for medical practitioners who decline to refer patients to family planning services, contentious revisions to anti-discrimination legislation which may have huge implications for faith based organisations, and the failed attempt to impose new regulations on the media. To some people this might sound strange for a Christian to say, but I don’t like governments trying to tell me what to think and also talking down at me and taking the electorate for mugs.

    I respect both Rudd and Gillard, and I wonder if behind some of the critique of Tony Abbott is a subtext of smearing him for his Catholicism, insinuating that he’s a closet theocrat who is going to impose his draconian ideology on Australia and make the country into a client state of the Vatican. I once told somebody who expressed these concerns that they were being alarmist and it wasn’t going to happen. The attempt to portray Abbott as a misogynist didn’t resonate with me at all. I know what real misogyny is and I don’t see it in him.

    1. I think Tony is a misogynist, with a small m. His statements over many years all build up that picture of him. His constant ‘slips’ aren’t slips, because he means them. He just thinks he shouldn’t have said it because people responded so badly. He doesn’t hate women I guess, but he certainly views them as having specific roles and it’s clear he doesn’t think they’re equal.
      This is a list of things he has said that make me fear having him as a leader.

      I also agree that some people do hate on him simply for being a Catholic and that’s ridiculous.
      I’m also against late term abortions (abortion in general actually) and hate that these laws have been going further and further. I also think it’s wrong to force a medical practitioner to do something that is against their beliefs. There are plenty of others who will (although there are none in Ballarat it turns out!).
      Also privatisation is a good economic short term solution, but with terrible long term results. Hence why governments do it. They know they won’t be around to suffer the consequences. Awful really.

  4. Hi Megan, I loved this blog. And that’s coming from someone who is not very politically minded. What you said about Kevin and Julia is exactly what Paul learnt from his days working for the public service (even though at that time J was just Deputy). And great comments about policy too.

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