Why Labor will be slaughtered at the next Australian federal election (and why I will be holding a knife)

“There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.”
Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, French politician (1807-1874)

Is there a quote that better sums up the current Australian Labor government? Which begs the question – ‘Where are Federal Labor leading Australia, and what drives this direction?’

Is it based around education?

Education is not a great example of Labor leadership or direction as it is based around the Gonski review. In fact, Labor’s entire credibility on their solutions to education are based on the fact that that their ideas have not come from their own party, but from someone else. Most importantly they rely on us trusting in the integrity of this Gonski bloke.

Is it the carbon tax and the protection of our environment?

Not a great example either. A federal Labor government not relying on a Greens coalition would have never believed in the carbon tax.

Is it the mining tax and the distribution of Australia’s natural wealth?

Now we have the convenience of treasury data so that we can consider the evidence for ourselves. What Labor said it would be versus what it actually is, have been two very different things. We were told it would distribute the wealth of Australia’s natural resources for all. In truth is was such a piss-weak piece of legislation it has so far raised barely more than the budget of the mining companies campaign created to fight it.

Is it health?

Kevin Rudd promised he would fix Australia’s health system in two years. If he failed we would have a referendum where he would propose the federal government fund all of Australia’s health system. Remember that one? Where are we now? Labor are cutting hospital budgets. The national disability scheme? It was the recommendation of the Productivity Commission and we would have it regardless of which government wins the next election.

Asylum seekers?

Labor came to government with a promise to get rid of Howard’s solution. They seemed to then forget to replace it with something else. They proposed a solution with Malaysia and forgot to ask Malaysia. They proposed another and forgot to run it by the lawyers and it failed in the High Court.

I could go on and on. So the question remains – where is Labor leading Australia?


Where is Labor leading Australia?

This is a very important question because we all need to make decisions based on where this country is heading. Many of the decisions we make will last for many years. A mortgage is around 30 years. Our children will be in schools for at least six. An aged care home for our ailing parents could be for the rest of our their lives. When we find a job we usually hope we will have it for a long time and be in an industry that is stable. We have a right to know where our leaders are taking us.

Let’s look at one example from my own life:

Let me begin by saying I see my vote at the ballot box as both a vote for the interests of myself and a vote for the interests of others too.

In 2010 I lost my job and it was directly the fault of the federal Labor government. I was working as a solar installer of both solar hot water and solar electric systems. Each scheme had different state and federal government incentives.

Over the 2009/10 periods these incentive schemes began changing at a moments notice. We would come to work and find the decision had been made at midnight with no notice. What made it difficult for sales people is that customers rarely knew specifically if the changes affected solar hot water or power and often believed the entire government funding for all solar had been canned.

That is why sales enquires started drying up. People assumed they could not longer afford solar power.

The sad reality is that governments had probably invested too much in the retail side solar power. The funding had significantly inflated the prices of our suppliers. As the government cut money from the programs the suppliers adjusted their prices accordingly and system pricing always settled at a level affordable for most average Australian consumers.

Solar companies would be required to spend big money again on advertising to let people know other solar incentive schemes where still going and that solar was still affordable. The enquiries would steadily pick up, and then another incentive scheme would be caned without warning and again the enquiries would dry up.

This is how I lost my job. Eventually our company stopped selling solar hot water all together and to the best of my knowledge the surplus stock still sits in their warehouse two years later. This is despite quite large government reimbursement for solar still existing and the prices of solar power still at similar levels as what they were in 2010. Solar power, for the moment, is simply too hard to sell.

Stability is important. Direction is important. I lost my job because the government was directly involved in our industry with no clear clarification of where they were taking us in the medium to long term.

Back to the part about my vote at the ballot box. I believe many of us would vote for leaders who we know will force us to wade through a river of shit because at least we will know to buy a canoe and gumboots, if the alternative is a leader seems to have lost the map and has no phone reception.

I am not bitter at our government for me losing my job. I am a young tradesperson and, trust me, I’ll be ok. I am angry at them over the people who lost their jobs, like those who answered phones.

Imagine joining the unemployment list in this climate, only qualified to answer phones, or do admin work or sell stuff? My vote and the ballot box will be to represent those people.

This is why Labor will be slaughtered at the next federal election (and why I will be holding a knife).

Piece by guest opinionist San Kirk Patrick.

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Categories: Politics, Law

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3 Comments on “Why Labor will be slaughtered at the next Australian federal election (and why I will be holding a knife)”

  1. March 14, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I am always wary of industries that rely on government subsidy (and hence taxpayer money) and see it as a form of welfare. If it was really such a great idea, the market would respond by purchasing without the government picking fashionable winners.

  2. San Kirk Patrick
    March 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    i guess the market is ok for solving our problems as long as you can afford its solutions (which many can’t). i think people do put a little to much faith in the market to solve our problems – i prefer facts and evidence to faith myself – but the market system does seem to have led us this far without too much disaster. i guess only time will tell. not really what the piece was about but thanks for you comment.

    • March 18, 2013 at 5:52 am #

      I would contend that , to make market solutions affordable, we do not burden our citizens with unnecessary taxes and imposts that prevent them from being productive. In addition, we have to allow consequences for failure.

      The only way to supercede “the market” is to have reliable psychic prescience- policy is too likely to be gamed. Right now the government burning money on pink batts, school halls and solar heating isn’t the way to go.

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