Here we are at
the other side of the federal election. No doubt many supporters
from both sides woke up on Sunday morning with hangovers and
emotions they were not accustomed to.
The man of steel
did his usual early morning walk but was shown up to be only
chrome plated and the ‘greatest treasurer’ we have supposedly
known, eventually walked (and I don’t blame him actually). “Me
Too” K07 got up as did a swathe of other Labor party hacks.
finally got what they deserve, although it has been only their
life support systems keeping them in the seats for so long,
while the Greens have now firmly replaced them as the only real
opposition party in the country.
money, the right wing Christian lobby failed to change the
balance of power (but I guess K07 has got their blessing anyway)
and the dear old Socialist Alliance once more demonstrated that
preaching to the choir is not enough to get you over the line.
So what does
this all mean? K07 has said he will ratify Kyoto, say “sorry” to
the First Australians, choose his own front bench and
parliamentary secretaries, rip up work choices and not go
Having got the
big picture items out of the way, the front page headline
grabbers if you like, what will the new social and political
economy of K07 look like. Here’s my predictions.
Based on the
first headline meeting Rudd had when he came to power, I suggest
the window dressing that signing the Kyoto protocol is will be
carried off with grave intent. K07 will go to Bali, take full
advantage of the photo ops, tell us how he’s encouraging the US
to come on board and will do … little else. Signing up is one
thing, actually putting more money into R & D for real
environmental issues is another.
Will he reduce
funding for the Orwellian titled “clean coal industry”? I doubt
it. Will he invest in real low emissions research? I doubt it.
Will be become the champion of wind, solar and geothermal
generation? I doubt it. Will be become the new Al Gore? Time
When it comes to
the First Australians, will he say sorry? This will be
interesting I reckon. It’s all about ‘risk management. His slick
team of image managers need to develop a cost / benefit analysis
covering a whole range of considerations.
If he goes too
early, he will have nothing to take to the next (and potentially
subsequent) election. He can delay saying anything by telling us
he is ‘consulting widely’, attempting to be as ‘inclusive’ as
possible. He could certainly do this for the next two and a half
years without too much trouble. So let’s put that one on the
back burner for now.
Choosing his own
ministry and parliamentary secretaries has already been done. In
these days of pragmatic politics, you don’t go into an election
without the deals being done in the first place. So while K07
has been telling us he isn’t going to listen to the factions, he
is right. This side of the elections he doesn’t have to. The
deals have already been struck. And good on Julia I reckon. The
real battle in this regard will start when the first one stuffs
up (forged travel stubs, ‘forgotten’ investments that were
‘overlooked’ etc). After Howard’s grand announcement on how he
would treat his ministers under his ‘code of ministerial
conduct’ we soon found out that pragmatic politics is even
bigger than core and non core promises.
Work choices, on
the other hand, should get a pretty good run. Those working
under the current ones have still got another two to three years
to go. So, once more, K07 can make all the right noises but
doesn’t have to act against the will of his masters for some
time. Meanwhile his number crunchers will be doing a risk
management assessment on how any changes should be handled. I
reckon it will be 1) a new name for them, 2) new letterheads and
signage for their offices, 3) a multimillion dollar propaganda
campaign and 4) business as usual for the big business end of
town. They know they don’t need work choices. They knew the last
government knew they didn’t need work choices but hey, it was a
blast to see it anyway.
When we move to
nuclear we find that if Garrett was prepared to jump for Gunns,
I bet he’s about to come out and say something along the lines
of how ‘clean nuclear’ power stations are on the horizon and
that after due consideration he will be supporting the
government’s line. Nothing new there! In the meantime Hugh
Morgan and his mates will continue to rip out of the ground
billions of dollars of uranium and sell it off all over the
place. We don’t need nuclear when there is more money to be made
flogging off our raw materials.
about all those government ex-ministers who are now coming out
and saying they didn’t really support their own party’s
policies. Turnbull, Hockey, Coonan, Vaile, all of them now tell
us that they might have got it wrong. Well, hello, as they say.
I really don’t want to say “I told you so” but …
And there we
have it. The party is over and the new party is about to begin.
But I want to remind you of something. Back in the heady days
after Tony Blair won his first election and routed the
conservatives, I remember my pommy mates telling me how good
things were going to be. They said Blair would kill off the
lingering ghost of Thatcherism and return the Old Dart to the
socialist values it once knew. Two years later every one of
them, to a person, was lamenting Blair’s success.
Two years in and
they realised that the new curtains in Number 10, the “third
way” and flashing lights were not enough for those who really
control the political machines to have changed their minds. Like
any politics the first question they should have asked, and the
one we must ask, is “who benefits and who loses as the K07
juggernaut rolls on through?”