There’s an election a-coming…

In Australia we’re in the run-up to a Federal election. It will most likely be held quite late in the year, probably around October / November. Barring triggers used for a double dissolution election, we will go to the polls to elect members for the House of Representatives, and half of the membership of the Senate.

At the moment there is substantial pre-election campaigning going on. The potential government, Kevin Rudd’s Australian Labor Party, is attempting to demonstrate distinctiveness in the areas of social policy and workplace relations, whilst arguing that it will be a responsible fiscal and economic manager in government. The current government, John Howard’s Liberal / National coalition is attempting to argue that the ALP can’t be trusted with the management of the economy, and will be excessively beholden to the trade unions.

I believe that the current government is chronically compromised, and has been shown time and again to have been dishonest, duplicitous, patronising, and manipulative. Democratic process has been eroded, Whilst there is no arguing with the facts on Australia’s economic prosperity, it seems to me that this has come at substantial cost – the social fabric of Australia has been eroded, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor has become greater than at any time since the introduction of widespread social welfare. I fear, however, that the election of a Labor government would not see an improvement in democracy, public debate, or social equity. I suspect that there would be a cosmetic change, but a continuation of business as usual, as I have become convinced that Australia is being run for the benefit of the rich and the corporations, who are seen as the ‘economic generators’. Those trapped in the middle, or worse still, at the bottom, are increasingly disenfranchised and marginalised, with less and less voice or capacity to speak out.

I know for whom I will not vote – not that it will make much difference in the electorate in which I live – the local member will be returned without much of a contest. I would hope that when each of us cast our vote we consider the future of Australia, and the future for all Australians.

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