Why ‘Can-Do’ may be a ‘oncer’

“In democracies, sometimes the rulers 
have to change in order to ensure 
that things remain the same” adapted from 'The Leopard' 
             by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

In Victoria the Napthine LNP government has lost the 2014 election becoming the first one term government since the  Labor split felled John Cain (senior) in 1955 (see electoral map and PDF below).

Billboard in Footscray, Melbourne (sic)

We live in a confusing world where if unemployment rates rise, governments get chucked out, regardless of the politics of those in power. Class war is masked inside community. Young people eschew class politics and are drifting to the Greens (6% swing to the Greens may win them the seat of Melbourne).  They got 30.9% of the vote in 2010 when Brian Walters (a human rights lawyer) lost to the sitting Labor member, Bronwyn Pike ALP.

People no longer join unions, especially young people.

The Labor Party is trying to adjust to this new reality … ALP controlled unions targeted specific seats in Victoria to help Labor win over the weekend:

… the Trades Hall campaign involved 2200 volunteers who door knocked 93,000 homes and made 123,000 phone calls in six marginal seats – Frankston, Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum, Monbulk and Bellarine. – Victorian state election: How Labor and the unions blew up the Coalition, The Age 1 Dec 2014

Together Queensland, the Qld Public Sector and Electrical Trades unions  are waging similar campaigns for Labor here in Qld – see Protest $100,000 Degrees, TAFE Cuts & Youth Unemployment. But do they have as many volunteers as in Victoria? Answer: No.

Yet ALP governments have done little to help workers during the global economic crisis preferring asset sales over Government Owned Assets  (GOCs) making money for public spending on services (e.g. Qld Rail). The Queensland Council of Unions has become the silent arm of the Queensland Labor Party refusing to participate in even the mildest of community campaigns like the one during the G20.

In Victorian state election The AGE made the following claims:  … The potency of this campaign technique (using union members) rests with the authenticity of the person delivering the message. … Not surprisingly, people will believe a nurse over a politician when it comes to a debate about health. Ditto for a teacher on education, a paramedic on emergency services, or a neighbour on a local issue.

Both the Campbell Newman (and Abbott) governments look at risk of becoming ‘oncers’* like Napthine … Campbell Newman may lose his own seat and even government in the next few months. None of this has anything to do with all the big noting LNP governments did during G20 about improving Queensland’s trade position with India and China or even reducing hospital waiting lists etc.

The electoral risk for the major parties has got to do with the fact that young people are finding it hard to get jobs, regardless of a Uni education, teachers may not get jobs next year, trained nurses may not be placed in hospitals. The austerity imposed by LNP governments is not helpful to the economy. At a time when jobs growth is needed and government revenue is depleted the major parties have both chosen assets sales and austerity to fund government.

People do not wish to see their children unable to get jobs … to be unable to get on in the world. The LNP’s electoral risk has got to do with the fact that businesses are failing in regional towns, these towns are dying, the drought has floored farming and agriculture. Tourism is bust.

So regardless of the failure of the ALP & QCU to do anything they may win government in Queensland. This past week (24 Nov – 1 Dec), Annastacia Palaszczuk has been talking in the Queensland parliament about jobs because the party realises the government’s imminent weakness.

To bring down Napthine is one thing but to bring down the Campbell Newman government is another because the the Qld LNP won in 2011 with the greatest landslide in electoral history. However if I were Can-Do I would go down to see the tide at Wellington Point. It comes a long way in but it also goes a long way out!

Ian Curr
1 Dec 2014

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* oncers = first term governments kicked out at following election. Until recently, very rare in Australian politics, Australians usually give new governments a second chance. Could Campbell Newman lead a one-term government to defeat after winning the 2012 election with the largest landslide in Australian political history? And to lose his own seat in the bargain? At Ashgrove the tide is a long way out.


2010 Vic election: Greens lack class base

A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens

Melbourne Results

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