The recent Australian federal political scene has been as tumultuous as any western democratic nation feeling the effects of duplicitous factional infighting and political coup and this is just amongst party members. "For while we may say God save the Queen for nothing can save the Governor General" may have echoed through the past political faux pas of great political leaders, such as the Great Gough Whitlam, whom have fallen upon their political swords, the same could be said of the recent coup from within the ALP caucus with the usurpation of the incumbent Prime Minister, and the indignant departure of the (dis) Honourable Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, the fate of Australian Labor Party Prime Ministers seem to be consistently Shakespearean in their tragic plots.
The present ALP PM Julia Gillard, has arisen into the Prime Ministership without a military or violent resistance from the Rudd supporters. the ousted Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Rudd, whilst outwardly looked rather indignant, seemed to bow graciously to the undemocratic forces that unceremoniously had him removed from his Prime Ministerial office and amongst the front bench to the backbench. To add insult to injury, the former Australian Prime Minister has even been offered a post overseas working for the UN, likened to some political exile being ousted from his house and home by the unscrupulous political mechanisation’s from the unholy cabal within the ALP caucus.
In New Zealand, the replacement of the faltering National government of PM Jim Bolger administration by his stoic henchwoman protagonist, would be like moving around the deck chairs for the National government Titanic by the Jenny Shiply administration, like the NZNP, a de ja vu situation for the New Zealand political history during the mid 1990s period, maybe emulated here in Australia. What caused the New Zealand ruckus? Many reasons of course, but, ideologically speaking, however, the economic rationalisation period was finally kicking in New Zealand society, with recessions and the rolling back of the public sector and the welfare state, meant that the National government was scoring the brunt of the working poor backlash at the ballot box. The fifth Labour government swept into office under the leadership of PM Helen Clark whom was able to hold onto the portfolio in her vicelike power for over a decade making her the fifth longest serving PM ever in New Zealand political history. In a similar like fate for the National government we may see history being emulated across the Tasman in Canberra? Perhaps not, but, even so, as many a Kiwi would attest, similarly to the eventuality of GST, the Aussies will probably follow the Kiwis example.
So what of the issues for the 2010 federal elections? Porkbarrelling aplenty from the present incumbents with maternity leave payment incentives, educational funding boosts, a proposed tax on the Miners, which would cost any PM their scalp. a citizens assembly, a seemingly faddish toy forum for more tax funded suggestion box input by lobbyists. Climate change issues, carbon emissions systems etc. these issues have been touted to be all important election issues presently being considered up for debate by purportedly politically astute Australians. Perhaps the most grass roots issues which has reared its ugly head once again is the them versus us debate on boat people, immigration has become the One Nation in the closet theme once again, with the Sustainable Australia slogan which has become synonymous with a call for the reduction of immigration and particularly from the illegal boats in Operation Resolute border security within the Australia’s northern region, particularly the Timor Sea and the Arafura Sea regions, with its constant influx of illegal vessels with people being smuggled illegally into Australia. The demands by Australians to seek measures to curtail unwanted asylum seekers into Australia has become a overwhelming election issue which would effectively pitch multiculturalism on the one side and homogenously Anglo-Celtic Australia on the other, in terms of the interpretative perceptions of what is considered as unwanted peoples into this country. The vast majority of migrants into Australia arrive through legal channels, but, it is the less than one percent of the screened, processed and naturalised boat people, who will affect immigration policy.
On the issue of immigration we will view the awkward situation of a first generation Australian Prime Minister, who is a direct prodigy of post war period by the then ALP PM Ben Chiefly’s administration’s immigration policy aimed at to "populate Australia, or perish" ethos, sounding off the "ONE MILLION BRITONS" slogan, as the ALP’s Arthur Calwell immigration portfolio mission statement. The ten pound Poms arrived in Ocean liners in their thousands, to Australian ports processed into Social Security offices with their portable welfare credentials, they were processed for job placements and to ready built housing commissioned homes, in newly constructed suburbs, in Adelaide, South Australia, and all over Australia. The ultimate aim, was in order to realise the intended goal, in order to nurture a White Australia after the fear of the Asian hordes, albeit, the Japanese, or otherwise, from the north. The last ship to arrive from this One Million Briton policy was back in 1976. Instead, Australia has shut the doors to any other migrant group, except with much more stringent measures for all intended migrant groups, except for the persistent steady flow of Britons arriving at the airports and ports still to this day.
PM Julia Gillard will have an awkward time explaining her Ten Pound history to the electorate when her catchcry election slogan Sustainable Australia will beckon the question on how easy it was then to migrate compared to the dilemma faced by all hopeful migrants today? particularly the illegal variety in Junk boats off the coast of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The ALP spin doctors will steer the debate away from the interpretation of the Sustainable Australia and will focus more on gender politics, as an election winning formula. This will be the bane issue for the opposition and likened to the Jenny Shipley experiment for New Zealand, this did not work well for the New Zealand National government because Helen Clark ascends to the New Zealand Labour Party leadership and would easily woo the woman electorate to her version of gender politics, much to the chagrin of the Jenny Shipley camp.
The Australian gender issue will mean a clear election winning formula for the ALP. The Tony Abbott-Julie Bishop team seems to lack the political lustre which will ensure a election winning team for the LNP coalition campaign. Why? Because the Tony Abbott factor is really a one man showpiece which doesn’t chime in well with the maternally matriarchal Julie Bishop factor. She is someone’s Mum and we must watch our Ps and Qs around her. PM Julia Gillard is, on the other hand, a political Iron maiden who can deal it out to the boys as much as she can without feeling so intimidated unnecessarily by the patriarchal glass ceiling? At least, we are hoping so?! PM Julia Gillard is in good company though with State Premiers from Queensland and New South Wales who will show overt support for women of her elk.
The working Australians will look back at a time when the ALP would always propose a party manifesto with an "Accord" industrial democratic guarantee. This ALP ACTU tradition has waxed and waned and has become brittle over time. This is in part in response to the Workchoice industrial relations legislative manipulations of the Accord tenets of yesteryear and the mechanisation of realpoliticks in industrial relations matters for industrial democratic principles for left wing labour factions. Australian politics is changing and as Julia Gillard would suggest it has moved forward in many respects in terms of industrial relations matter of fact relevance. We are fast approaching an age when Australian workers will have to come to terms with the overwhelming impact of foreign imports which have circumvented Australian workers and domestic industries much to the detriment of workers and the competitiveness of domestic markets here and overseas. The greatest challenge has come from China. With cheaper goods and services which has lowered the qualitative benchmarks in many facets of Australian lifestyle whilst giving Australian consumerism an affordable quality of goods and services. This has been good for consumerism but bad for Australian economic and industrial development. The Tiger economies in even purportedly Maoist economies has belied the guaranteed industrial democratic proletariat conditions whilst diminishing the quality of life for the Chinese worker compared to many Westernised standards, the overall benefit for the economic fortunes of the Chinese economy is enormous, making China second only to America in GDP wealth generation in the world today. The economic fortunes in this Pareto optimality formulae for the Chinese economic miracle can only spell an ominous future for domestic industries which in grassroots level means that the most vulnerable people on welfare within Australia must contend with their entrenched cradle to grave welfarism situation due to a rise in expectations for local people and the reality of the devaluation of Australian productivity elsewhere. This will affect the most vulnerable throughout any community more so the minorities within Australian society.
The minorities are scrapping the barrels in terms of workplace opportunities. Semi-skilled labour are easily filled by cheap labour sources which will circumvent unionised labour sources. The disparities between the rich and poor within Australia will manifest itself in a colour distinction between minorities who represent the marginalised fringes of unemployed semi-skilled labour in and out of factory roller doors and a perpetual motion of resentment and stress. The anxieties between the entrenched unemployed people creates stigmatised suburbs such as the "Westies", in Sydney; the Logan City, and Ipswich City, in Queensland, where welfare hordes are still lining up in queues at the Centrelink offices, if it were not for the Internet online services. phone self services, which has eliminated the visual pollutants of unemployed masses on welfare in Australia. The unemployment rate has fluctuated between the 4.5% to the 7% mark nationally for some time now which in international standards is very impressive. However, for the minority groups, such as the indigenous peoples and Pacific Islanders, within the outer suburbs, the level of unemployment is unreflected in the mainstream statistics. The reality is that the percentage of unemployment levels is much higher with levels as high as 26% for these vulnerable groups. The issues of minorities are undemocratically relevant and would not be an election issue at all, for these people in democratic terms are not worth the effort to win their election vote on, unless the gerrymander would move the election boundaries to their spheres of influence which would them make more political capital good sense to appeal to the indigenous voter.
Finally, the Australians will return to the hustings not much ideologically more aware then the last time they went to the ballot box. It is a different rider but it is still the same old horse on the racing track. The ideologies of idealistic politics have long ago been spent in the vigour of university scholars marching in protest for anything from political ideals gone begging in the real world of politics which knows nothing but theoretical purity of political thoughts and ideas but rather the politics of personality and populist sentiments wins at the ballot box.
Good luck Australia we may have a democratically elected political leader amongst us once again soon. As for minorities, well, we just have to go with where the wind blows us and we’ll just go with the flow after all this is a democracy and the majority are always correct?! If someone can come up with a better form of government well? Anarchy and Nihilism will just not fit for the marginalised minority either. A liberal democracy as an ideology had theoretically posited the notion that the individual or in this sense the minority is purportedly protected from the tyranny of the masses. As an idealist, this would make sense, but, as a democrat, you’d say, get lost go and join a commune in Nimbimba!
For our two contesting political leaders I would say good luck, you’re gonna need it, not from ineptitude of the candidates but from the apathy from the voters in particular from the minorities, who’d more likely would say, "You all look the same to me!"
Ia manuia lo tatou masina mo le Palota mo le malo o Ausetalia.
O Tim Tufuga