Brown Study

Brown study

4 May 2019

9:00 AM

4 May 2019

9:00 AM

I see that some members of the media have started referring to the election as ‘boring’. I disagree with them. Appalling, yes, but not boring. Disappointing, yes, but not boring. A mad scramble to see which party can be the most irresponsible and profligate, yes. But boring? No.

In fact, I find it fascinating. Watching Bill Shorten squirm as he struggles to look serious and answer the simplest question on the cost of his crazy schemes is mesmerising. Watching the bulk of the media avoid putting serious questions to him and his offsiders and generally being so deferential, is entertaining. They must all want jobs as press secretaries. Then, to watch the endless ABC panel shows pandering to the ALP and the Greens and asking them questions like ‘What would you say were your ten best qualities?’ is to experience a refined form of high satire. Then, it is breathtaking to hear the nonsense of the alternative government actually paying child care expenses when the centres will simply jack up fees to absorb the generous handouts. And wondering how the intelligentsia can swallow all this twaddle about electric cars and the ten minute recharge is quite bewildering. In fact, far from the campaign being boring, it is worrying that the press do not have the knowledge or the wit to raise obvious and sensible questions about policies that are waived through as if they were already an accomplished fact. Example: if you can simply put child care workers on the public payroll and pay them hundreds of millions of dollars straight out, why would other workers not ask for the same handouts? What about aged care and disability workers, the fire brigade and ambulance workers? Surely, everyone will want the same government generosity and if they do not get it, we are in for a long winter of claims and mayhem. And isn’t this especially so because it is all supposed to be paid for by new taxes that will probably not be passed by the Senate? And where will the legislative power come from for the federal government to pay the wages of people it does not employ and to restore penalty rates, when a law student could tell you it has no power to fix wages and conditions? All it can do is set up an industrial umpire which is already there and which Shorten wants to dismember. So, far from being boring, the 2019 campaign is like riding a roller coaster of excitement as we experience these increasingly ludicrous and irresponsible promises.

But the other side is not much better. Although the Coalition’s price tags are smaller, they are in one sense worse and more worrying, because it has assumed the burden of foolishly trying to compete with the ALP in dishing out loads of money for every imaginable local project, a contest it will always lose. No level crossing, no koala sanctuary, no net ball court or football ground is safe from a bucket of Coalition money being hurled at it. And the real questions are never asked by the public, the media or, apparently the Liberal party itself: what happened to federalism, what happened to the much-vaunted benefits of local government, what happened to smaller government and the responsibilities of people to look after themselves? The extravagant child care subsidies are again a case in point: what happened to the responsibility of mothers to look after their children at home, at least part of the time?

And of course, to top it all, it is a fascinating campaign when you have so many eccentrics vying for position, giving vent to their egos and getting themselves into seemingly impossible crises. The prize, of course, must go to One Nation that had great promise and touched a chord with many Australians, but has now degenerated into an obviously incompetent band of oddities determined to make themselves a laughing stock and scarcely deserving of a single vote.

So, it is actually a fascinating election campaign in so many respects. And there are several aspects that deserve particular mention: 1. The intrusion of what is little more than sustained hatred and vindictiveness from GetUp! and the so-called independents. 2. The argument that the Liberal party is divided and that the removal of Malcolm Turnbull is the cause. The former is true but the latter is not. People, especially in the Liberal party, need to be reminded that the trouble started not with the removal of Turnbull but with the overthrow of Tony Abbott. 3. The importance, therefore, of getting Abbott re-elected to keep alive a genuine commitment to traditional Liberal party principles which are in danger of being washed away by a sea of modernity and trendiness. 4. The myth now being foisted on us by both sides that our society will prosper only with more laws and regulations, more government bodies and ever-increasing government spending. 5. The mass of taxpayer-funded government propaganda from the ALP government in Victoria, where there are so many borderline seats. 6. The danger to our democracy of promoting the so-called Voice to parliament for Aboriginals, with the confidence trick of having a referendum with ‘not too much detail’, as the organisers say. Yes, we all know what that means.

All of which is pointless without telling you how I will vote. Well, in Higgins I will vote for the minor conservative options and then Liberal, to show my disapproval of what the party has sunk to and because Shorten would destroy the country. In the Senate I will cobble together whatever band of eccentrics I can find to stop them doing anything, no matter who wins.

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