Australian Parliament House

I am calling it on Tony Abbott’s government

Provided our Prime Minister does not call an early election, we are still a year out from the next federal election. There have been repeated rumours of an early election, but our Prime Minster either stayed silent on the subject or denied any intention to return to the polls early.

Even Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian newspaper, which often feels like a de facto publication of the Coalition government, opined ‘[i]t’s a big gamble, but Abbott must call election early or lose.’

Admittedly, our Prime Minister often says one thing and does another, like any seasoned politician.

The government intends to serve a full term.
Tony Abbott (The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 March 2015)

No one can deny the last couple of Labor governments were three-ring circuses. But the Coalition can’t gloat after the past two years in power, which can only be characterised as chaos and a … three-ring circus of their own. Nowhere near the adults being back in charge, as condescendingly promised in 2013 by the incoming Abbott government.

Tony AbbottMy regular readers would know I am no friend of Tony Abbott, or the Liberal Party of Australia.

Conversely, I also care very little for Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor Party.

I have also long come to accept incompetence as a given in politics. Consequently, the only real choice that remains open to voters at the polls is to select the kind of political ideology they prefer, served with their side-dish of obligatory incompetence.

I am firmly liberal, and progressive in my thinking. I consider the brand of conservatism offered by the Coalition government a failed economic and social experiment, just as Umair Haque, a leading global thinker expressed in a Twitter storm:

  1. ‘What’s going wrong with the globe? The problem really isn’t economics anymore; it’s politics. We are stuck with broken politics.’
  2. ‘The problem facing us isn’t economics per se, but politics. Solutions are obvious; but politicians deliberately ignore them.’
  3. ’Politicians ignore obvious economic solutions to crisis because our politics is broken. There is NO incentive for them to fix anything.’
  4. ’There is no incentive for politicians to fix anything because our political systems aren’t just corrupt, but badly designed.’
  5. ’Take the exampel of the UK. It’s been plunged into FIVE YEARS of real depression. Why? Mostly, because politicians…wanted it.’
  6. ’Conservatism is modern history’s greatest, most tragic, and most lethal failure. It is plunging the globe into a lost decade.’
  7. ’Conservatism is a failure because it has succeeded beyond it’s (sic) wildest dreams. And the result is a society unfit for the future.’
  8. ’Conservatism has succeeded in preserving an unfair distribution of income, social stratification, inopportunity, and injustice.’
  9. ’Conservatism’s great success is it’s (sic) failure; it’s (sic) goals are precisely what rob economies of dynamism, and leave them fragile.’
  10. Conservatism EXPLICITELY aims for rent-seeking, social fracture, systemic externalities, and elite capture.’
  11. ’Thus, modern conservatism is not a political philiosophy fit for a humane future; nor is it one built for a prosperous future.’
  12. ’America is a mini case study in conservatism’s failure. It is off the charts compared to other advanced economies rightward.’
  13. ’Modern conservatism is a kind of intellectual poison that corrodes modern economies by degrading politics, society, and culture.’
  14. ’There are many avenues to fight the lethal toxicity of conservatism. But societies have to choose them.’
  15. ’Societies that choose conservative politics in the middle of historic transformations will, by definition, not move forward.’
  16. ’Societies that choose conservative politics today are choosing a nostalgic utopia: the late 20 century, forever.’
  17. ’A conservatism incapable of grappling with the challenges of today, instead of holding fast it the past. is (sic) little more than fantasy.’
  18. ’Liberals who do not recognize the failure of conservatism, and take a more aggressive stance in highlighting it, are conservatives.’
  19. ’The great failure of liberalism is also it’s (sic) great success: it is responsible for a golden age of prosperity. And it must claim so.’
  20. ’At this point, the central tenets of modern conservatism require NO refutation. They are disproven by recent history.’
  21. ’Liberals who engages in “intellectual” debates with conservatives are neither. Because there is no intellect left in conservatism.’
  22. ’We may trace the rise and fall of nations over the ext decade according to this logic: are they conservative? If so, they’re toast.’
  23. ’(Neo)feudalism is essentially the event horizon of modern conservatism. Where it comes full circle, and regresses into lunacy.’
  24. ‘Reality: there is no example of an advanced economy anywhere in the world following conservative policies and prospering.’
  25. ’There are no conservative and prosperous countries. Hence, to attempt conservative politics today is an exercise in magical thinking.’

I don’t think very highly of the Labor Party either. Their many failures, and desperate attempt to match the Coalition’s refugee policy in the race to the lowest common denominator, which appears to be a requirement these days to win government, saddens me and offers me no acceptable mainstream alternative.

Would I vote for the Greens, another small party, or an independent? I can’t say this far out from the election. But I know this: I won’t vote for a candidate just because he or she does, or does not, belong to a particular political party.

I will be voting purely on the basis of the policy platform of the candidate and, where relevant, his or her party, and nothing else. I will only vote for a candidate whose policies are a close match for my values. If there is no candidate that meets a minimum threshold, I will cast an informal vote. I refuse to cast a vote for a candidate who does not share my values, and I can’t trust to represent me in Parliament.

This political moment from The Simpsons sums up how many people feel about voting for someone other than the two main established parties in a two-party political system, but such attitudes contribute to political apathy.

It’s almost certain I won’t be voting for a Coalition candidate unless there are serious changes in the policy direction of the government. I vehemently disagree with just about every policy they currently have, from climate change to refugees, renewable energy, the economy and marriage equality. In my eyes, Tony Abbott is a failed Prime Minister who lacks the most basic judgment and leadership skills. The list of failures seems endless:

The current government is culturally destructive, economically damaging, environmentally vandalistic and socially divisive.

In light of the above I could not, in good conscience, vote for any member of the Coalition (sorry Malcolm).

I call on all Australians to open their hearts and minds, and help make Tony Abbott’s government a one-term government.

And so, I am calling it on Tony Abbott’s government. But this is not a free-pass to a Bill Shorten Labor government. On recent performance they are not deserving of government either.

Consequently, this is also an idealistic call to all Australian politicians to lift their game and serve the public interest.

Not party ideology.

Not party interest.

Not personal beliefs.

Not self-interest.

The public interest.

If you can’t do that, get out and make way for a new generation who can …

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