In the present time with Australia’s national election date looming closer, its hard not to feel completely immersed (or even drowning) in Australian Politics.
Much of the commentary about the impending election has focused on the issue of trust: who do voters really trust to police our borders, manage the economy and keep their promises?
But when has trust not been an issue in any election? When did voters usually think politicians could be trusted, especially during an election?
I think the more relevant word to describe what voters are looking for in this election is not trust, but stability.
After a period of minority government, which voters usually associate with unstable, unfocused leadership, and with all the uncertainty and embarrassment caused by Labour’s leadership roller-coaster, the public is definitely looking for a period of stability in federal politics. Put simply, they are over all the drama.
But it seems drama is what Labour does best.
You see, first there was the infamous ousting of Kevin Rudd by Julia Gillard and vice versa. Gillard dethroned Rudd, then just when we thought his political days were over he reformed as a political entity out of the filaments of paper that were left of him after the Cabinet put him through the shredder, slaying Gillard with the help of the so called ‘faceless men’ who put the same sword in her back as they had done to him just over a year ago.
Then there was of course the issue of the refugee’s – referred to as ‘boat people’ – and what to do with these displaced and desperate people. Rudd’s liberal predecessor John Howard made it his mission to stop the influx of boat people coming to our shores. Rudd ended this abruptly and was accused of his rivals of almost inviting people smugglers to illegally traffic people into our country with open arms under his new reforms. However, he has since had a change of heart, turning the other cheek and snubbing the boat people off to Papua New Guinea without so much as a wave goodbye.
If your confused now, wait there’s more.
The Carbon Tax: Labour initially promised not to introduce it in the first place, but then they did just that, breaking yet another election promise to voters. And now, they have done a complete U-Turn, with Rudd promising to get rid of the tax for good.
Would you please make your mind up?!
Confused and annoyed voters of Australia.
How can they expect the voting public to put their confidence in the Labour Party and what they stand for when they can’t even seem to work out what they actually stand for themselves.
I’m under no illusion that a leadership change means the party has changed either. Even with Rudd’s new rules about deposing a sitting PM, there is still a question mark over whether Labour can play nicely together at all.
And how different is this new Kevin Rudd anyway? How certain are voters that he won’t make the same mistakes he made the first time around? How will he be able to lead a party, which struggles to keep its internal divisions internal?
If voters are looking for stability, this causes problems not only for Rudd but also for Abbott. Part of Abbott’s problem with voters is they see him as temperamental and prone to outbursts. Take for example the latest debate held in Queensland where Abbott told Rudd to “shut up.” Is this really someone we want representing our country at the United Nations?