And now I reach the end of the line. Since it's late election eve I'm going to do a combination post, partly to save time and partly because the Nationals haven't made enough of an impact that I've noticed them as a separate entity (the fact that I live in Queensland where they aren't a separate entity may be contributing to that impression).
Led by Tony Abbott, the Coalition have spent last 3 years opposing pretty much everything the government has done, even things that in the past have been their policies (emissions trading scheme anyone?). One cannot deny that they have been successful in their negativity.
But it takes more to govern than just being against what the other side are doing. You need to actually do yourself, and here the Coalition have not covered themselves with glory. Holding back on releasing costings and policy details until less than two days out is not the move of a well prepared party. That the costings just list numbers with no explanation of how they will be achieved or having been checked by the Parliamentary Budget Office that was set up specifically for that purpose again shows a lack of seriousness about the matter.
On policy matters I'm not impressed. Repealing the carbon tax while keeping in place all the compensation measures is not going to save money, and it's not going to help the environment. The alternative direct action plan they've said will have a fixed budget and if it fails to achieve the required impact on emissions (as seems likely) they won't spend the more that is required. They have a planned parental leave scheme that is more generous, but gives more to the rich than the poor, that will be paid for by a "Great Big Tax" of the sort they've opposed, and that the Productivity Commission has said will not be significantly more effective than Labor's plan while costing several billion dollars more. And the whole Buy the Boats plan just puts lie to the idea that these guys understand economics. That and the fact that their "We must cut spending at all costs" budget saves a grand total of $6 billion dollars over 4 years, an amount that on a national budget scale is SFA. Cutting funding from rail and public transport projects to pay for more roads. And I've just realized I haven't got around to their woeful attempt at an NBN using technology that is already out of date and won't provide the level of service in a decade that other countries have now.
I made myself read through the entire 52 pages of their policy book looking for some ideas I could get behind. I do like the Colombo Plan of giving students in Asia scholarships to study in Australia and Australian students scholarships to study abroad. $10 million for surf life saving clubs is also pretty good. That's two small items.
The Coalition is saying we need to embrace austerity to improve our economy, but austerity has led to slow and anemic recovery in the US, the UK, Europe (Greece, Spain, and Ireland especially). Our debt to GDP ratio is the envy of other nations, as is our avoiding a recession during the GFC and AAA credit rating.
Between them the Coalition has candidates for each seat in the house of representatives (in a few cases more than one) and senate candidates for all states and territories.