22 November 2007

Will the grass be greener under Rudd?

Just then I watched an interview and for the first time in this election campaign I listened very carefully and kept an open mind about him and the Labor party. And I wasn't just disappointed, I was concerned. Not by what he said. I must admit I really couldn't disagree with anything he said. Unfortunately my impression was worse because for the entire interview, he effectively said nothing. He was full of empty American-style rhetoric where the hopeful utters an extraordinary number of words with the least amount of content. The message was simple but meaningless: in return for your vote, you will get me. But wait, there’s more: he is a fiscal conservative, just ask him. That might be enough to convince the swinging voters that are looking for someone who will have the Liberal Party’s key strength – good economic management – minus their industrial relations reform.

My opinion is different: while he might be bright, he does not have much skill in economics, which is in short supply in the present Labor Party. It is far from reassuring that he thought he could deceive the Australian public by telling us that productivity dropped just when there was a sudden jump in the number of jobs.

To counter criticism of the Labor Party because it is full of ex-union officials, he insults lawyers to tell us that their party has a bigger heart because it does not have as many lawyers as the Liberal Party. Somehow I don’t think this is valid as a counter-claim. The problem is that it is difficult to trust that the party has the nation’s interests at heart if it is being run by former officials of powerful organisations that can do great harm to business and affect the community as a whole since they will be heavily involved in passing the laws that are needed to control their activities. The lawyers in parliament are no less independent than any of the other members there. Furthermore, there should be some in parliament. The people trained and experienced with practising law have to be involved in the creation of law. Creating laws is not as simple as you might think. Ever heard of loop holes which allow the most outrageous failures of justice to occur?

I don't recall him explaining in any reasonable detail how he intends to implement his agenda. And he didn't seem real at all; it is as though all the effort he has put into in his campaign has gone into carefully crafting his persona rather than formulating policy to convince Australians that he has more to offer. Politicians always put on a polished performance and indeed they should. This is different though. There is just no telling what lies beneath surface.

I hope Labor voters can offer me a good reason why they intend to elect him, apart from just “he is not Howard”, “he has been there too long, time for a change” and “he will abolish WorkChoices”.

No comments: