And it turns out we agree on something for once. Kind of. With a few minor edits.
In which I reluctantly endorse Julia Gillard and Labor for your second-last preference:
This has been the worst federal election campaign in memory.
Neither Julia Gillard, who will have been Prime Minister for 58 days, nor Tony Abbott, who won a party spill by one vote just six months earlier, has shown the leadership to energise Australia. …
The Gillard and Abbott arguments have been vacuous. Neither has made a compelling case for government, conspicuously failing to offer voters a clear choice. …
In truth, Labor and Liberal have drawn ever closer in their populist push for power.
In doing so they cheapen themselves and what they offer. This is no way to run a country under the adversarial Westminster system. The bear pit of Parliament has become a place for politicians to tear at each other.
Voters desperately want to detect a difference. They want policy debate, not personality politics.
Julia Gillard has been hamstrung by the recent past as she tries to forge a new agenda from
flawed policies andthe disastrousmarginally unpopular and surprisingly conservative for a left-winger decisions in which she was so intimately involved as deputy prime minister.
But the “real Julia” persona she has been forced to project is only a new face to the same issues that prompted the cold-blooded ousting of prime minister Kevin Rudd on June 24.
Ms Gillard said the Government had lost its way under Mr Rudd, but
has a change of leader put it back on track?it seems her party has only drifted more off track since she became leader.
In the first days of her sudden elevation after a political execution by Labor’s factions, Ms Gillard attempted to
right the wrongs ofreverse the tensions caused by the mining resources super profits tax that has wrought havoc with Labor’s support in the resource-rich states of Western Australia and Queensland.
to fixat populism on the asylum seeker issue with a premature announcement to make East Timor a regional refugee holding centrewas ill-judged, as was her attempt to push what Mr Rudd called “the greatest moral challenge of our time” into a dusty historical cupboard.
Her quaintly named “people’s assembly” to consider climate change
made her sound more like an architect of the French Revolution, not a 21st century prime ministeronly seemed to force the issue further into that dusty cupboard.
Not that Mr Abbott has been a bright shining light. Voters remain suspicious of a man who was a senior minister in the waning years of the Howard government, as it lost touch with the Australian people.
And tTry as he might, he cannot shake off the spectre of the divisive WorkChoices laws - and rightly so.
Mr Abbott has placated big industry by promising to dump the resources tax, pledging direct action on climate change and vowing to turn back the boats carrying asylum seekers.
Ms Gillard has made much of the Government’s economic credentials, particularly as Australia had one of the softest landings from the global financial crisis.
But this Government cannot escape responsibility for its disastrous waste of money in the housing roof insulation scheme and the financial mismanagement of Ms Gillard’s own Building the Education Revolution. Billions of tax dollars were lost. This was money that could have gone towards health, the elderly, education and infrastructure.
Mr Abbott’s shrillness over Government spending has been tempered by serious questions over the Coalition’s costings, which have not been subjected to Treasury analysis.
And it remains to be seen whether the Coalition’s would-be treasurer, Joe Hockey, is in the same league as current Treasurer Wayne Swan or the Howard government’s Peter Costello.
The costings announced by Mr Hockey have added more confusion to a campaign that has been loosely described as “presidential” because it has concentrated on party leaders rather than their policies.
Simply, Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott are not ready to assume the mantle of great leaders. But each is a fighter.
The task of Ms Gillard to forge a reliable government from the divisions caused by the removal of Kevin Rudd is immense. Labor would most likely stagger forward. There is no shine from Ben Chifley’s “light on the hill” to guide it.
Mr Abbott’s task would be to shed the shadow of the Howard government and present policies that mirror the changing world in which we live.
Australians deserve so much better than what has been presented to them by both sides and the choice is not easy.
Without any great enthusiasm,
weI believe Mr Abbott and the CoalitionMs Gillard and the Labor Party are best placed to lead Australia of the two major parties.
Personally, though, I voted Green.
Related: Australians: is it just me, or is this the stupidest election ever?
Last night I dreamt Julia Gillard won the election…
Four articles I’d like to read on Julia Gillard, K-Rudd and the ‘spill’
Was Abbott the only choice the Liberals had?