We are now well into the election campaign, and both the Libs and the ALP seem to be scrambling for the lowest risk middle ground. The area I am most interested in, environment, flows into population issues, urban planning and infrastructure, food security and of course climate change.
On none of these issues is either major party providing anything that I would call real leadership. Rather they seem to be playing hop-scotch, seeing who can get a leg up on the other and stay one jump ahead in the polls.
It is important to remind ourselves that in our Parliamentary system the leader elected by the party itself has a different role than in a presidential system such as the US. Thus, the party overall has to bear some of the blame for the vacuousness of their policies. For the ALP, I look to their LEAN group (the Labor Environment Activist Network) to become activists. The party has slipped into a near narcosis of delusion about current clearly unsustainable economic settings. How long can the housing industy leech off our urban land? See the article by demographer Bob Birrell on immigration. He describes Melbourne as a ‘parasite city’. In that case, Canberra is a virtual Ebola.
As for the Liberals, well, the sooner Tony gets on his bike and keeps going, the better. I would like to see him try to land a job in the resource industry, somewhere near the Pilbara. Maybe he could run a gym, or answer phones.
In the absence of real meat in the polcy debate, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a whole spread on Wednesday about the issues we should be talking about, but aren’t. All experts, all offering their experience and common sense. Evidence, if that is still needed, to direct us towards real change.
But while the major parties try to seduce mature voters with the same old hip pocket trinkets, young voters are just ignoring the whole show. Enrolments of young people are way down, and getting them to participate will take more than token assemblies.
By the way, voters in Kooyong at a citizens’ assembly rejected the climate change policies of both parties. Good luck to the Greens and Independents, maybe for them moving forward can mean more than a soft shuffle.