We all know that the 2013 election will result in a landslide victory to the Liberal – National Coalition. Depending on who you read, there will be less Labor members left in the House of Representatives than there are members of the Australian Cricket team. This government has been the most dysfunctional government in World. It’s been a non-stop litany of failure and backstabbing.
At least, if you’re the kind of mouth-breather who relies on the Daily Telegraph for your news, that’s what you’ve been told to believe, and if you’re lacking any kind of critical faculties, that’s probably the extent of your knowledge on the subject. I mean, if it’s not the kind of thinly veiled Murdoch propaganda that passes for news in these papers, or if it’s not about how fantastic the NSW Blues are, chances are you are probably not going to read about it in these papers.
Don’t get me wrong: although I’m a Labor member – and proudly so – I’ll be the first to admit that the current government has made mistakes. Certainly, I think the current situation with regards to asylum seekers is a travesty, and certainly not in keeping with Australian Labor’s values. I think the same about the strange reluctance to support same sex marriage equality. To my mind, these are political decisions, rather than platform-based decisions – a desperate effort to retain segments of the voting population, and influenced more by the polls than any kind of reasoned policy debate and formulation.
The problem is that these aren’t really that sustainable – once you allow your decisions to be made by polls, you are at the mercy of a mercurial public – and a much more mercurial and biased press, too. People no longer understand what you stand for – and you’re easy pickings.
But the worst government ever? I don’t think so. The problem with the current government has been a failure of message, not of government. If you examine what this government has actually done, there is a great deal to be proud of – and I think there is lots to celebrate, too. Reforms – much needed reforms – to the education system like Gonski are fantastic. Sure, there are people out there who are worried that they are going to lose money, but the principle behind the funding of schools is important. Then you throw in things like the NBN, the NDIS and the Carbon Price, and you are looking at a raft of structural changes that will continue to fundamentally restructure Australia. All the while keeping Australia in an economic situation that is the envy of the rest of the Western World.
Compare that with Howard’s legacy.