26 March, 2013
Yes, you’re right: Labor is a shambles. We get it. In fact, the shambles of Labor is self-evident so most of us would have gotten it without your constant reminders, but thanks all the same.
You are also right that they deserve to be thrown out at that Australia deserves better. Absolutely right! We do deserve better, which is why we now turn our attention to you. I, for one, would dearly love to vote against Labor, but I also have to consider who and what I would be voting for.
You really haven’t said much about what a vote for the Liberal party would mean other than “not Labor,” and a lot of what you have said doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Your broadband policy makes no sense. In fact, I strongly suspect you wouldn’t have one at all if not for the fact that Labor has one and you needed to match it. You slept through the internet revolution the last time you were in government. You oppose the National Broadband Network and at the same time, you complain that it isn’t being rolled out fast enough. Why do you want faster deployment of infrastructure that, in principle, you don’t want at all? You can see why this confuses people, can’t you?
Your leader was for a carbon tax before he was against it. As a party, you were for an ETS in government under John Howard, yet you dumped Malcolm Turnbull for continuing that policy and now you oppose it. What changed? Your current climate change policy amounts to publically funded bribery of industry to reduce their emissions. As with your broadband policy, you give the distinct impression of not wanting to have a policy at all but you have to because Labor does. After all, your current leader didn’t believe in climate change before he did.
You continue to claim that interest rates will always be lower under a coalition government without any justification for the claim and despite history not backing it up. Your mantra of “stop the boats” is a wedge issue that has no relevance to most Australians’ lives and pre-supposes that any decision made in Canberra can stop people fleeing war zones. You have played a game of see-no-evil-hear-no-evil on the issue of atrocious and indefensible animal abuse at the end of the live export industry. You make grand statements about free speech when it comes to media regulation, yet in your heart of hearts, you really want to shut down or privatise the ABC.
You claim to be the grown-ups in the room but you continually waste the time of parliament with childish stunts, acts of disrespect and self-indulgent grandstanding. How much productivity has been lost by your constant and doomed motions to suspend standing orders?
You have one of the finest economic minds in parliament, if not the country, in the form of Malcolm Turnbull. Yet, rather than put him in his natural portfolio of treasury, you have him hidden away in communications because he threatens Tony Abbott. And because he believes in a market-based solution to climate change. And in climate change.
You make a fair criticism of Labor that they are riven by internal disunity and disloyalty. You constantly howl about how Kevin Rudd was “knifed” or “assassinated” – and in his first term too! YET your party dumped two leaders of government in two weeks! In their first terms!! Any word of “political assassination” there? Of course not. That would be hyperbolic, wouldn’t it? In any case, it was more a case of one being mercifully euthanased and the other having the locks changed on him while he was away. Classy stuff!
Of course, I may be confusing state and federal issues, but didn’t you also say that the Queensland and Western Australian election results were reflections on federal Labor?
It’s enough to make a casual observer think you’re just a bunch of political opportunists who stand for nothing other than winning power and expect to do so just by being the not-Labor party.
Shambolic as Labor may be, they get things done. They have given us a national disability insurance scheme, an official apology to victims of forced adoptions, introduced legislation to extend the sex discrimination act to protect LGBT people, and an agency to eradicate asbestos and that was just last week. With the exception of their half-baked and woefully timed media regulations, they have passed all the legislation they have introduced into this parliament and that’s as a minority government. So apart from theatre, you haven’t been an awfully effective opposition, have you?
I am a swinging voter. I’ve voted Liberal, I’ve voted Labor, I’ve voted National, I’ve voted Independent, I’ve even voted Democrat depending on the election and the issues, so my vote is there for the taking. You have convinced me that I should vote against Labor. Actually, scratch that. Labor has convinced me I should vote against Labor, which means it’s up to you to convince me why I should vote for you.
You’re strident in pointing out Labor’s faults but strangely coy about what your plans for government are. This concerns me. I remember how in 1996, John Howard learnt from John Hewson’s experience in 1993. Hewson put a comprehensive policy package to the electorate and was rejected. By contrast, Howard offered very little, relying mainly on the unpopularity of the incumbent. I also remember how Howard unexpectedly won control of the Senate in 2004 and proceeded to impose industrial relations laws that were never mentioned during the election campaign. I have to ask you: Is this your strategy too? Sneak in on the unpopularity of the sitting government and only then reveal your plans? Are you planning a return to the Work Choices policy or anything remotely similar?
Regardless of my disappointment with Labor, these are things I need to know from you before I even consider putting Liberal above Labor in September. I am not going to vote for you purely on the strength of you not being Labor and trust you to be better by virtue of that fact alone. I am especially hesitant to vote for a party that, despite the weakness of the current government, is so reluctant to say what their plans really are.
What, if anything, do you stand for?