Australian Elections 2007: Slim Pickings

24 Nov

Purely subjective, non-exhaustive and definitely debatable. This list is compiled to provide readers glimpses on the wide and differing spectrum of online opinion views and news on what this election has been about. Not ranked in any chronological order:

1. No blank cheque for Labor in government by Pat Donohoe from Green Left Weekly argues why voting for Labor, instead of the Liberals, is to choose a lesser form of evil. The writer focused on the party’s “Work Choices Lite” or Forward with Fairness policies which will do away worker’s right to strike and continued restrictions on unions’ right of entry to work sites amidst other anti-union measures. The saving grace of voting for Labor, as the writer contends, “the ALP is more responsive to mass pressure as the mass rallies against Work Choices in 2005-6 showed”.

2. Don’t trust Labor with government by Julian Sheezel from The Age. The purpose of including this article is to bring some “balance” to this list as well as the debate of a Howard or Rudd government. As state director of the Liberal Party of Australia, Victorian Division, Julian directs her vitriol on Labor by discrediting Rudd’s potential ministers. She also accuses the Labor party of being bad managers of the economy throughout its history. She proposes maintaining the status quo and that only the the Coalition is able to deliver the bacon (goods).

3. Terry Hicks wants Howard voted out from Yahoo News. Remember David Hicks, the Australian who was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for 5 years without any trial? His father has spoken out against the Howard government for mistreating his son. I quote from him, “I think people should look not only at David’s issues, but the troops (in Iraq) as well – these are the sort of things that our government has been doing hand-in-hand with the Americans.”

4. Your voting preferences really do matter by Beth Spencer from The Age. Beth explains how the preferential voting system works and why it is important to put the minor parties at the top of the list; and why voting for them is not a waste or risk of votes – things which the major parties want the average voter to believe.

5. Voting for Change by Tim Dunlop from, blogocracy. Tim explains why it is important to destroy the stranglehold of the Howard government – mainly due to the fact that after winning four consecutive elections, it “has begun treating the electorate with contempt.” Tim also touches on Work Choices – how it was pushed through despite opposition from Howard’s own colleagues; and how it has become a bureacratic nightmare for both employers and employees. He wears his support for the Labor party by publicly praising their policies on education, childcare, early childhood and foreign policy, particularly with regards to the United States. More importantly, he opines why “a change of government opens up new possibilities” and that even though the system is not perfect, “it is designed to protect us against bad and complacent government and allow us to renew them and the institutions that underpin them.”

6. Voting to restore the decent values Australia once held dear by ex-Liberal Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser from The Age. While Malcom did not openly root for Labor, he takes the reader through a brief history of Australia and emphasizes the need for a nation that will revert to a “traditional sense of fairness, justice, rule of law and due process for all people.” He criticises the ASIO for becoming a secret police unit while calling for a more comprehensive diplomatic process in the Middle East that should include adversaries such as Iran, Syria and Hamas.

7. A bitchy law that mauls the poorest workers by ex Prime Minister, Paul Keating from the Sydney Morning Herald. “Work Choices is nothing more than a bitchy, ideologically based attempt to break down the wages and working conditions of the lowest-paid Australians; in the main, women and young people” writes Paul. He supports Rudd’s industrial relations policies which he feels, is the “existing enterprise bargaining-cum-safety net model”, originally established by Labor in 1993, while taking into account “continuing and evolving needs of the economy and its workplaces.”

8. Climate rallies across Australia from BBC. It is reported that Australia is one of the worst polluters in the world on a per capita basis. It is also one of the two major industrialised nations not to sign the Kyoto protocol. Despite that, Australians have demonstrated concerns on the issue of climate change by participating in mass rallies throughout the nation, demanding both Labor and Liberal to do more in this area.

9. Ex-opposition leader dubs Australian poll ‘a Seinfeld election’ from AFP dated 9 November. Former Labor leader Mark Latham accuses both Labor and Liberal of spending too much money on “telephone polling and focus groups to see how the electorate was thinking.” He attacks both parties for “ignoring poverty and social justice and focusing on appeasing middle-class greed.” By calling this a Seinfeld election in which everything will remain the same despite whichever party wins, is he eating sour grapes or has he hit a raw spot?

10. Australia in Election Mode, No Ideas, Please by Binoy Kampmark from Counterpunch. Binoy’s piece is scathing of the electoral system in which he sarcastically writes, “The state acts like dominatrix: you must love your democracy, and not doing so means you are, as the Michigan militia man might say, in ‘dereliction of duty’.” He spares no punches dissing this Australian election, targeting his wrath on Howard, Health Minister Tony Abbott, and the Internet technology that is being exploited. The humour in his article may not be suitable for general consumption and may prove offensive.


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