Australian Election Issues 2010

Consensus Government

One of the things that was obvious in the recent elections has been how SIMILAR all of the parties are in their beliefs. However they try to hide this and promote their own status by mounting hugely negative campaigns against the other contenders.

Why are politicians so short sighted? They focus on how they can win the next election instead of how can they be of the greatest service to the people who elected them.

Why not openly acknowledge that, in most areas, they all have similar beliefs? Why not focus of what they can all agree on and get that in place instead of arguing about minor details which don't much matter but which cause the whole process to grid to a standstill?

Why would you come into government and cancel a "great big new tax" that would significantly boost the Government's income without significantly impacting on most people's lifestyle. The big mining companies have already struck a deal with the government about the tax so WHY would you reverse this? - especially if you are REALLY committed to reducing Australia's debt.

Australia weathered the financial crisis better than the rest of the world. Some of that was because we were in better position coming INTO the GFC (and that may partly be due to Peter Costello) and some of it was due to the financial stimulus package (thanks to Wayne Swan). The biggest reason we did so well was because of China's growth and that China keeps buying our resources and that is NOTHING to do with EITHER party. Why can't BOTH parties admit the TRUTH and stop bagging each other?

Why would you cancel one of the biggest and most important infrastructure upgrades in Australia's history - the NBN? The NBN will significantly improve almost every aspect of life for almost every Australian.

70% of Australians are DEMANDING urgent action on climate change and yet both major parties are giving it lip service (and the leaders of one party don't even believe it is happening).

Why are we having a debate about how big Australia should become (and vilifying refugees as a byproduct of this discussion) when we should be debating HOW we can improve living conditions and infrastructure in Australia for the population we have now and the population we will probably have in the future. When we have so much SPACE why are we saying that Australia is overpopulated?

Question time in Australian Parliament should be renamed to "childish ranting time" and promoted as a means for politicians to reduce stress and NOT be televised until they can come up with a practical, useful, productive way to behave. These are SUPPOSED to be the LEADERS of our Country! Tony Abbott now says that we can have a kinder, gentler government - well let's see HIM "walk the talk"!

Politicians MUST listen to the wishes of the WHOLE of Australia. You can't please ALL of the people ALL of the time but at the moment the politicians seem to be attempting to please the small minority with the loudest voices. They need to ask the RIGHT questions in their polling and then they might get the RIGHT answers. I recently received a questionnaire from Andrew Southcott - my local member. In it he asked what issues were important to me and to list them in order of importance. But HE provided HIS list and didn't have anywhere where I could list the things that were important to ME. I don't care what HE thinks is important - I want him to listen to what I think is important. The way to ask such a question is to ask "What are the five most important issues to you in order of importance? You may be concerned about climate change, stopping the boats, the nation's debt, broadband, mining taxes, superannuation etc as some examples but feel free to list what is important to YOU". He didn't ask me whether I thought that the NBN or Climate Change action was important - they were non-issues to him and there wasn't room on his form for me to express that THOSE are the two most important issues to ME. I want decisive action on BOTH of them.

How Big Should Australia Be?

It seems to me that the recent discussions about how big should Australia become are mostly alarmist, uninformed discussions which are approaching the "problem" from the wrong direction. Instead of asking "How big should Australia become" we should be looking at how Australia's population is currently growing and be asking "How can we cope with the change in population size?" We may not currently have the infrastructure to support all of those people now - but we don't need to have it NOW. We need to plan and have it in place for when it IS required.

Also, the population debate has mostly been focused on Western Sydney where "people dumping" has been going on. So the solution to THAT problem is to move the people to areas which NEED additional population instead of putting them into overpopulated areas. Refugees want to start a new life. In general they appreciate being given a chance at a safe, productive life and they work hard - much harder than the average Australian. If they work hard then they also pay taxes which can be used to fund the required increases in infrastructure.

CountryPopulationLand Area
(Sq Kms)
Pop. Density
(Per Sq Km)
United States of America295,734,1009,629,09130.71
United Kingdom (UK)60,441,500244,820246.88
Papua New Guinea5,545,300462,84011.98
New Zealand4,035,500268,68015.02
Vatican City9201920
CityPopulationLand Area
(Sq Kms)
Pop. Density
(Per Sq Km)
New York City16,626,000 
Information from www.worldatlas.com and www.wikipedia.com

Have a look and compare the population density in Australia with other countries - notably the USA where the population is more than 10 times of Australia in a land area around 25% larger. So, to double our population doesn't seem to be such a big deal, does it?

But, assume that our population does double, then we need to have the infrastructure to support that number of people. We need better roads and freeways and we need to make better use of our water and food resources.

Australians, on average, used 115 kL/capita during 2000-01, a 20% increase since 1993-94. From www.environment.gov.au we see that Australian households used on average 280 kL of water per year in 2000-01, with an average of 2.6 persons per household.

From www.treehugger.com we see that the top five biggest average daily users of water are the U.S., Australia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico - all five of these use well over 300 litres daily. So we need to (a) reduce our per capita water usage, (b) increase our water re-use of storm water and (c) increase our potable water supply (perhaps via desalination plants, shipping water south from Northern Australia etc)

Let's not focus on how big our populations SHOULD be but on how we increase (and then maintain) the standard of living for all Australians through the natural population growth.

Boat People

This seems to be one of the more divisive issues of the recent election. John Howard said "we will decide who comes to this country" and that's a fair comment but the results of the policies associated with that belief were not fair.

Boat people are only a small percentage of the total people arriving (or attempting to arrive) in Australia each year so why focus so heavily on them. Why don't we hear similar rhetoric about the "illegal immigrants" arriving by plane? (We don't seem to have too many walking or driving in).

What is the REAL issue here? Well, if people smugglers put refugees in danger by attempting to transport them to Australia in un-seaworthy boats then this is a practise that we should discourage - so we should attempt to "stop the boats". The difference is that we should be focusing on prosecuting the "people smugglers" and not treating the refugees in an inhumane manner. Under the Howard government refugees were locked up for YEARS in both on-shore and off-shore gaols. One of the "supposed" reasons for the illegal invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein was inhumane and used to lock people up for years without a trial - and yet Howard did the same thing to refugees (and then there's Guantanamo Bay!!). If a person is a genuine refugee and they ask Australia for help then we should accept them into Australia and help them start a new life.

Climate Change

When the Rudd Government was swept to power, one of the big items on the agenda was a response to climate change. It was described as "the greatest moral challenge of our times" and yet when the Abbott group of Climate sceptics blocked the legislation Rudd backed down. Now I don't know whether it was Kevin Rudd who made the decision to back down or whether it was the Labor Party "heavies" or "faceless men" made that decision but it was the single worst decision of that government. Over 70% of Australians are DEMANDING an URGENT response to climate change and yet nothing is being done. It is my belief that if the Rudd government had gone to a double dissolution then they would have been returned with a greater majority and we WOULD have had action on climate change.

Abbott liked to stand up and say that neither the LNP or the Greens liked the proposed legislation - implying that the two of them both AGREED that it was bad. The problem is that many of the LNP don't believe in climate change and they want to DO NOTHING while the Greens know that climate change is real and they wanted to do MORE.

National Broadband Network

The national broadband network (NBN) is also one of the KEY areas which can improve both the living standards of Australians and their ability to compete in a global market.

Private enterprise will NEVER build an adequate network in rural areas as they have no financial incentive to do so - only the government has that incentive. The NBN will enable MUCH more equality and opportunity around Australia than we have now.

Tony Abbott believes that a 12 Mbps network is good enough and that it's better done by Private Enterprise. Well, many people today already exceed 12Mbps as the current ADSL2+ technology supports speeds of up to 24Mbps. I currently get 3MBps and in my previous home in Adelaide I got 6Mbps so a 12Mbps system (in many areas) to cope with the foreseeable future is just not good enough. The people in the country have MUCH lower speeds (or no access) than the people in the cities - that is a result of allowing private enterprise to provide the infrastructure. The NBN was originally designed to provide 100Mbps speed but they now believe that it is more likely to be 1,000Mbps. In fact using the same fibre optic cables the speeds can be much greater than that.

Why is this important: Well, think back 10 years ago to when the internet first started making an impact in Australia and now look at how we rely on it. The internet (or ARPANet) was originally designed for military purposes and then extended to Universities to help with collaborative research. Now EVERYONE in Australia has access to this network (some have much better access than others). When it was originally conceived no one knew how it was going to be used now. The same goes for faster internet. The faster it goes the more things we can do with it - things that we haven't even thought of yet.

Once you have a fibre optic cable to most houses in Australia you can get rid of the old copper wire network as it's no longer required - we can recoup all of that currently wasted copper and put it to better use. We won't need the copper wire because our phone (probably videophone as well), TV, internet, fax, email etc will all be provided by the one fibre optic cable. Elderly or disabled people can be monitored full time by their carers through the NBN. Security monitoring systems can provide remote video monitoring in high quality video.

If you think that it has revolutionised the world NOW - you have NO IDEA of how much more it will revolutionise the world in the future. Image if all doctors will be able to instantly get your medical record information from ALL other doctors or hospitals anywhere in Australia (or even the world) resulting on a much better standard of health care. Your kids will go to primary school and high school and be able to tap into educational resources from all around the world - as if they were there. They will be able to talk "for free" using video chat on big screen TVs with students from other schools and universities from all over the world. I remember staying home from school to watch the first man walk on the moon "live" as it happened but with the internet you can watch almost ANYHTHING from almost ANYWHERE LIVE as it happens. It will revolutionise entertainment as you will be able to access high definition (1080p full HD) video content from all over the world - much of it for free. Imagine "free" cable TV with THOUSANDS of channels. SBS TV has made a huge difference in Australia and, while it used to be only for minority groups, is now watched by most Australians. Imagine the same effect with free Internet-TV. Televisions are already commonly available on the market in Australia with the ability to tap into Internet TV. Instead of borrowing DVD or BlueRay discs you'll be able to watch the same movies via High Definition Internet Pay-TV. The difference between current PayTV and Internet PayTV is that you'll be able to choose what movie you want to watch and when you want to watch it and not have to watch whatever content has been scheduled.

More and more people will end up working from home because the internet will enable them to interact with their co-workers as if they were in the same room. This will reduce pollution (less people driving to work) and improve people's lifestyles (less time travelling to and from work) and allow more decentralisation as you no longer need to be within commuting distance to your work.

The Global Financial Crisis

Australia weathered the financial crisis better than the rest of the world. Some of that was because we were in better position coming INTO the GFC (and that may partly be due to Peter Costello) and some of it was due to the financial stimulus package (thanks to Wayne Swan). The biggest reason we did so well was because of China's growth and that China keeps buying our resources and that is NOTHING to do with EITHER party. Why can't BOTH parties admit the TRUTH and stop bagging each other?

As part of the stimulus package the government decided to lump together two problems - climate change and the financial crisis - and offer "free" roofing insulation. It is criminal that not all Australian houses have roofing insulation as it has a huge effect on the energy consumption used to regulate the house temperature. As a result of this offer lots of Australian's decided to take advantage of this and started up Insulation installation businesses. Not all of them were competent to do so and as a result there have been some deaths and some potential fire hazards created. This is hardly the fault of the GOVERNMENT - it is the fault of the shonky people who got into the insulation industry in order to make a quick buck. This scheme should be reinstated but the installers need to be licensed so that the shonky work is not repeated. There were some shonky practises by shonky operators but let's blame and prosecute the people ACTUALLY responsible for the deaths and fire risks - the shonky operators. The government should have the roofs checked by competent people and where there are problems then the people who installed the insulation should be prosecuted. If some of those businesses have closed down then the directors/operators still need to be prosecuted and they can be fined to cover the cost of rectification.

The Knifing of Kevin Rudd

For heaven's sake - Tony Abbott and Co promptly disposed of Malcolm Turnbull not so long ago and they have the gall to get stuck into Labor for replacing THEIR leader. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. And who are the faceless men who disposed of Kevin Rudd? They are other members of the Labor party and members of Parliament. And they didn't do it in the dead of night either. What a crock of SH*T. It happened and it wasn't pleasant for Kevin but "that's life" (especially in politics). The Labor "faceless men" are no more faceless than Tony Abbott, Nick Minchin and the other "faceless" Liberal and National party members who swiftly disposed of Malcolm Turnbull. Thank heavens Malcolm Turnbull decided to change his mind and NOT quit politics. He may be (should be) the next Liberal Prime Minister (whenever that happens).

Then there is the RUBBISH about how the Prime Minister the PEOPLE elected was thrown from office by the "faceless men". Well, I have news for all of you. The PEOPLE don't elect the Prime Minister. The people elect their local member and often their local member happens to be a member of a political party and that political party elects THEIR leader. That political party is entitled to change their mind and elect/appoint another leader if they see fit. I didn't like it but that IS democracy. The people elect their local member to parliament, the parliament elect/appoint THEIR leader and that leader usually appoints their inner cabinet. Technically, the Prime Minister (from what I've read about it) is actually an appointment of the Governor General who takes advice from any politician who can demonstrate that they have the majority of the parliamentarians supporting them.

Personally I didn't think that Kevin Rudd deserved what happened to him and the swiftness of how it happened but SOMEONE had to take the blame for the state that the Government had got themselves into. If only Kevin had gone to a double dissolution. The people would have rewarded him for his strength of purpose and elected him with a greater majority. He may even have gained control of the Senate! - such is the importance of the Climate Change debate. Over 70% of Australians want a price on Carbon but the politicians are off in la-la land. I don't think that Malcolm Turnbull deserved what HE got either and I think that he is one of the few politicians who is prepared to stick up for what he believes in. I didn't think much Of Malcolm BEFORE he was given the boot but NOW I think he MAY be the best alternative for Prime Minister (not that I dislike Julia Gillard).

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

When Julia Gillard introduced the Carbon Tax after saying that she wouldn't the Abbot crew got stuck into her and called her a "liar". Now, I personnally believe that she truly had no intention of introducing a carbon tax (as she preferred an ETS anyway) but the circumstances of the hung parliament meant that she had to negotiate with the independants and the greens (as did Tony Abbott) and as a result she was forced to introduce a carbon tax in order to gain government. Now Tomny Abbott was ALSO negotiating with the independants but I guess either Julia was a better negotiator or the independants just didn't take Tony seriously.

However, later on, prior to the 2013 election, Abbott promised "no cuts to education, no cuts to the ABC or SBS, no changes to Medicare etc). Afterwards he set about doing all of those things that he said he wouldn't. How does he think that makes him look? He is now saying that the budget is in such a dire situation that he must do these things - but he knew that BEFORE the election. he is also saying that "You can't expect us to exempt them from the cust that all other departments are having to endure?" - but again he knew this BEFORE the election.

If Tony Abbott had gone to the election and been HONEST then he probably would have still won government. He COULD have said "I don't want to cut education, health or the ABC/SBS allocations but the budget is in such a mess that I have no choice in order to bring the budget back under control."

If he had told the truth prior to the election then he might be a credible person - we may believe that he honours his promises - but now we KNOW that he is a BIG, FAT LIAR and he has NO EXCUSE for it.

How a supposed "good catholic man" can stand up and tell so many lies and yet still claim to be a "good catholic man" is beyond me. I guess it's because his mentor was John Howard - another BIG liar. Howard went to an election lying about the "children overboard" even though he had been told immediately after the incident that no childred were thrown overboard. Howard also lied about the reasons for being involved in an illegal war in Iraq and when one of our leading security analysts (now a federal MP) told him that it was unlikely that there were EVER any weapons of mass destruction Howard embarked an a campaign to discredit the person who told him what he didn't want to hear (the truth). In this case Howard took the lead from that other war criminal (George W Bush) who at first said that Hand Blix was the man for the job and when Blix reported no weapons of mass destruction then Bush destroyed his career.

Peter Slipper Affair

Peter Slipper may have sent inappropriate text messages to James Ashby (or maybe even a number of people) but those messages were of a private nature and we all make comments privately that we wouldn't make publicly. Apparently those comments caused distress and so James Ashby wished to make a complaint and that is fair enough. He spoke to Wyatt Roy, Mal Brough and to Christopher Pyne and various undertakings were given. These undertakings were documented in a private diary kept by Ashby. Wyatt Roy, Mal Brough and to Christopher Pyne have never DIRECTLY answered the allegations about them, they have all used "political speak" such as when Pyne was asked whether an offer was made by him to provide a free of charge solicitor to Ashby. Instead of saying "I never made such an offer" Pyne says instead "No solicitor was ever provided". Now, it's pretty easy to understand what that REALLY means - it means that the offer WAS made but later rescinded. So, once again, leading members of the Liberal party LIED.

Once the sexual harassment case didn't look like it was going the way Abbott wanted to then the Liberal party embarked on a crusade to discredit Peter Slipper for inappropriate use of taxpayer funds. He was eventually sent to trial for this and was convicted for miusing a small amount of taxpayer funds ($954). Meanwhile Tony Abbott came clean about how HE misused taxpayer funds by claiming that going to Sophia Mirabella's wedding was a legitimate expense. Now it appears that $20,000 was spent by five coalition MPS to attend 3 weddings!!

Why wasn't Tony Abbott and the other 4 MPs convicted for their fraudulent use of EVEN MORE taxpayer funds? The answer is because it was a political hatchet job on Peter Slipper who did what probably EVERY politician does (and probably most businessmen do) and cheats a bit on his expense account If Tony Abbott can just refund the money and not have to go to court - why couldn't Peter Slipper do the same?

Note I am not saying that Peter Slipper was innocent in any way - just that he was treated harshly when other people do similar things (like Tony Abbott) and get away with them. Tony Abbott is just one big hypocrite.