Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Til Sleep Do Us Part: the exhausted election

I have been completely disconnected with this federal election campaign. The policy platforms of both sides are indeed different as Quiggin says, but the Senate is going to block the objectionable parts of the Turnbull agenda, so functionally there wouldn't be much difference in practice, as there wasn't in the previous Turnbull era.

Both Turnbull and Shorten would be running the Rudd-Gillard agenda (NDIS, NBN, Gonski etc), along with the remaining irresponsibly deficit-ballooning Tory nudge policies left over from the failed Abbott experiment. Turnbull will continue the slow white-anting of Rudd's agenda but he can't change it, nor can he implement the worst of the dries' wrecking ball project.

Turnbull called a DD ostensibly to free himself up from the inertia of being prevented from doing anything by those on both sides. He'll probably get returned with a reduced majority, the godbothering faction in his party still intact and empowered by Brexit/Trump, and a Senate that is controlled by Xenophon and the Greens. The ultimate joke is likely to be on him because nothing will change. All he will have succeeded in doing is exhausting his previously stellar leadership ratings, which were the only thing going for him.

In the unlikely event of a Shorten win, he would govern from the centre leaning right, as opposed to Turnbull from the right leaning to the centre. Negative gearing changes would be positive, but would take many years to work properly. That is the same for most of Labor's good policy areas, like education and the environment: they are the Right Thing To Do but the additive effects to GDP and happiness will take years or decades to roll through the system. The legacy of Keating is that low-hanging fruits of reform and liberalisation have already been secured long ago, and all that is left is the unsexy stuff of benefits for future generations.

So, does that mean there is nothing at stake in this election? Ask a beneficiary of the NDIS, or someone lacking decent broadband options, or a refugee, or someone on the dole, or a uni student, or the chronically ill, or a working parent of young children. I'm just glad we have compulsory voting in this country, as otherwise we might suffer the same fate as the UK or US where too many young people don't bother to contribute to democratic outcomes. Both major parties might be smooshed up against each other in the centre which makes elections boring, but I'd much prefer that to the Idiocracy sequel in America, or the Til Death Do Us Part sequel in Brexit, I mean Britain.

No comments:

Post a Comment