Politics sucks

My daughter is 19 and has voted in one State election. But she despairs. She simply doesn’t feel confident that she understands the issues. In her words , in the last election, she “threw her vote away” by voting Greens (as there was absolutely no chance of them winning in that seat).

I don’t blame her for despairing. The political climate in Australia is not only confusing, it’s in many ways pathetic.

On one side we have the Liberals who’ve been in power for 11 years under John Howard. They’ve implemented a Goods and Services tax, which Howard previously claimed would never happen. There was the fiaso of Howard going back on a number of election promises, claiming they were “non-core promises” (a promise is a promise isn’t it?), the Children Overboard affair, a draconian immigration policy that keeps refugees offshore so that the government doesn’t have to acknowledge any rights for them. Howards’ unquestioning willingness to believe Bush regarding WMD’s in Iraq, and his refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol. (The Liberals have only just decided that there might be something in global warming. However, they refuse to take any measure that might disadvantage Australias economy in the short term, whether or not this is good for the planet in the longer one.) The unwillingness to go in to bat for the human rights of David Hicks, an Australian citizen held in Guantanamo Bay for 5 years without charge. Now, seeing their electoral support eroding, they’re pursuing a policy of personal attacks – mud-slinging at the opposition party members.

The other major party, the Labour party (who traditionally have had a more “socialist” approach than the Liberals) have been in complete dissarray since losing office, with several leaders self-destructing spectacularly in that period. At present the current leader, Kevin Rudd, is under attack from Howard over some meetings he held with a disgraced State politician a couple of years ago. The Labour party is saying many of the right things (IMHO) regarding global warming, immigration, Iraq etc… but has an inexperienced team.

The Liberals like the idea of pursuing Nuclear energy as opposed to renewables. The Labour party likes the idea of “clean” coal. Solar, geothermal, wind and tidal energy seem to be somewhat down the priority list for both.

Neither party will publicly acknowledge that continuous economic growth is unsustainable in a world with finite resources. Neither party has a policy that drastic action needs to be taken NOW to curtail our dependence on hydrocarbon fuel.

I’d add to this rant but right now I have to go chat to some guys in suits in a black van that just pulled up….

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