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Getting the good Gillard back on track

6 August, 2010

When Julia Gillard took the reigns of the ALP and the government hurtling towards an election, she neatly encapsulated her motive and her objective as getting a good government, that has lost its way, back on track.

But just where had the government lost its way? If Kevin Rudd’s opinion polls were a symptom or a barometer of national sentiment, what had caused the Rudd government to go walkabout? In ‘a few notes for Julia‘, I boldly suggested a few areas where the new government could re-claim its mandate for leadership. Since coming to power, what has the Gillard government been doing to rectify this ‘loss of direction’ in the lead up to the election?

Gillard’s comments have obfuscated some of the great gains that the Rudd government has brought to Australian society and economy: for example, she appears less willing to demonstrate how the Rudd government “steered” Australia through the global financial crisis. Yet on the other hand, many of the policies that caused Rudd government “lose its way”, Gillard has allowed to trail on.

Carbon

The Rudd government failed to get a bill up on carbon, and failed to price it. It was a dramatic retreat from pre-election stance, and from the much publicised Garnaut Review and the report tabled by ANU Professor Ross Garnaut.

Staring up at the diving board, the government saw the opposition in the political hot tub, and decided it was far less risky to join the Coalition of the warming spa than to climb the tower alone and take a dive into the colder, less familiar, and far more dangerous pool below.

>> The government needs to commit to a timetable for environmental reform, including carbon and renewable energy. It needs to go back to the Garnaut Report and steer Australia to become a world leader in green business, rather than a laggard.

The Net Filter

Nothing has sickened me more, writing from overseas, to watch the developments of the net filter, championed blindly by Senator Alston Conroy. With his filter and its blacklisted blacklist, Conroy stands as a beacon of hope for any Labor politicians wanting to show voters they are more conservative than the Liberal Party. Since Conroy took the communications portfolio, forums have discussed whether he one of the worst enemies of high-speed low-cost internet since Senator Alston famously stated that broadband was only for pornography and gambling. The filter has attracted due criticism from international observers concerned about what the move means for freedom of expression and civil rights, and also for the cost of doing business in Australia.

>> Yet with a change of leader brought a chance to kill this inane policy. Regrettably this was not taken. This policy has dragged on, or possibly swept under the electoral rug in a bid that the bad press may go away.  However, Gillard has been handed with another option: removing Senator Conroy, now billed as Australia’s dumbest politician“, from his portfolio and killing the policy along with his cabinet post. Furthermore, now that the Coalition has motioned that it will not support the filter, it is dangerous for the government to continue with it, even if it is likely to receive damaging political “flip-flop” flak if it pulls out now.

Porn at customs

The next “is this really Australia?” moment, was the rise of the “are you carrying porn?” on the customs incoming passenger card issue. It was a clear sign that rather than Australia becoming more progressive under Labor, the government’s various arms were moving to uphold ultra conservative values. And on the back of the net filter, it was a signal of the state wanting a more pervasive role into people’s private lives. Was thing again a misdirected attempt to crack down on child pornography? CNET’s coverage showed all too well how some of the world perceived the move.

Others will be relieved that the customs officials declared that they will apply “tact and discretion.” Which, presumably would mean no loud exclamations including the words “Cor!” “Blimey!” and “Sheila!”

Perhaps I should leave my iPhone on the plane or flush my stash in the toilet before I pass through customs?

Resources SuperTax

When you wake up and hear of a proposed new 40% tax, it makes you rub your eyes, scratch your head, and wonder if someone slipped something in your drink the night before. After you see that all vital organs and orifices are in tact, only then do you realise the words you are hearing are real. Sharing the mineral wealth of Australia with Australian citizens is a noble gesture, but it is a lofty goal and in this case, its implementation – a huge new tax, had disaster written across it from the beginning.

>> Fortunately, Gillard acted swiftly on this one, and should be a reminder to her that when she acts swiftly and with conviction, she can effect policy change and rise above the  three-phrase-mantra of Tony Abbott.

In further coverage of electoral issues, coming soon: Gillard, God, Gays, and Abbott’s boats.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. justmeint permalink
    6 August, 2010 1:54 pm

    Will Julia be resurrecting Churchill next? Leave the dead to bury the dead, a very wise man once said……… Let’s get this election over and done with and begin moving Australia forward once again. Right now I feel it is stagnating in a cemetery somewhere.

    http://just-me-in-t.blogspot.com/2010/08/polis-resurrection-shuffle.html

    • ribbit permalink
      8 August, 2010 11:02 am

      Well, discontents, what’s driving the polls at the moment?

      The media of course. Most of us don’t think for ourselves. The media tells us what to think. We’re fed what the media wants us to believe. They attract us to buy their papers and watch their programs by using sensationalism. We grab ONE paper and settle down for a delicious time with our coffee and disengage our brains. Policy announcements get swamped by this sensationalism.The Gillard govt. is having to use valuable campaigning time addressing these sensations that DON’T REALLY MATTER. ‘Pop politics’!!

      Real debate issues like you’re suggesting is what we need.

      Fellow Australians, I appeal to you not to vote for a negative policy like “Stop this ……stop…..stop…” How about “Start….start….start…”?
      “The Coalition has an economic policy that doesn’t ‘add up'” (Insiders, 8/8/10)
      They have an immigration policy that isn’t moral.

      Let’s debate the issues that really matter and that will lead our country ‘forward’.

  2. 8 August, 2010 7:06 pm

    The coalition only reversed their position on the filter after preference deals with Family First.

    Here’s five ways around the filter in two minutes from EFA:

    http://openinternet.com.au/2010/08/04/5-ways-around-the-filter-in-2-minutes-video/

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