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.
My 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.
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 Coalition’s effective denial of consensus climate science and lack of global leadership on the subject has been a source of ongoing embarrassment;
- the ongoing destruction of the renewable energy sector in Australia is a tragedy that will have a significant impact on future generations;
- our treatment of refugees is a moral outrage;
- the management of the economy has been lacklustre, there has been no sensible reform of any kind, and the only thing the Coalition appears capable of on the economic front is endlessly pursuing socially skewed and unfair budgets;
- their position on marriage equality is antiquated and out of step with modern community attitudes;
- Tony Abbott’s poor judgment has been highlighted time-and-time again by ill-conceived ‘captain’s calls’ leading to repeated internal revolts within the Coalition;
- his unwillingness to exert authority and leadership was highlighted by the Bronwyn Bishop saga, made worse by him eventually taking action only on account of his self-interest in retaining power, rather than in the public interest; and
- he has been unable to come even near the high moral standards he exuded in opposition, and continues to engage in the same political games and missteps he repeatedly criticised in the past.
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.
The public interest.
If you can’t do that, get out and make way for a new generation who can …