20 August 2010

Newspaper Editorials for 20 August, 2010

The Australian:

One thing is abundantly clear, however: Kevin Rudd's big-government experiment was a disaster. Whichever party is returned, this ugly revival of old-style central planning must be buried and cremated. The Australian regrets taking Mr Rudd at his word in 2007 when he presented as an economic conservative who believed governments step in only when markets fail. The trouble was markets were deemed to have failed when Mr Rudd decided they had failed, and that was often. Long before the global financial crisis, the dead hand of government was touching the private sector in inappropriate places, and its behaviour grew steadily worse. GroceryWatch and FuelWatch were early signs of the hubris that resulted in the atrocity of a mining tax.

Our doubts towards Labor are about the party, not Ms Gillard, who has an abundance of courage and a talented frontbench team. Yet the financial crisis has revived a command economy culture we thought had been purged by Mr Hawke a quarter of a century ago. It was not big government that saved Australia from recession but the courage of leaders like Mr Hawke, Mr Howard and Paul Keating, who spent their own political capital on economic reform. The true test of a prime minister is not how he or she survives an external shock but how well they prepare us for the next one. It comes down to a question of trust in a contest between a leader who learned his trade under Mr Howard and one who served under Mr Rudd. On those grounds, we endorse Mr Abbott as our 28th prime minister.

The Australian Financial Review:

…By instinct, the Coalition would be less likely to waste taxpayers' money on risky projects than Labor, less inclined to sacrifice efficiency for "fairness" and protect weak industries, and more likely to embrace productivity-boosting reforms in welfare, tax and — hopefully by the 201 3 election — the workplace. Such reforms require real leadership. They are less likely to happen under Labor, which allows focus groups and unions to decide national policy and who should be prime minister.

We prefer the Coalition — which steered the economy through the 1997 Asian crisis and the fallout of the 2001 US recession. We hope, if elected, it learns better in office than Labor.

The Courier-Mail

This campaign has lacked detail on how to deal with those complex political and economic challenges, reducing the choice to a decision about what sort of country we want – one dominated by big government, or one where government gets out of the way to allow enterprise to thrive.

…The reason the Rudd/Gillard Government lost its way is that it believed fervently in the former and, in the process, squandered the trust and goodwill it received from Queensland voters in 2007, when it promised to confront contemporary issues more aggressively than the Howard government.

The past three years have been a story of government being presented as the solution to the nation's challenges, when in fact it only added to them…

This, in fact, is a strength and shows a commitment to the people he aspires to serve. We know well what Mr Abbott stands for because his positions are well chronicled. Like this newspaper, he stands for the strength of free enterprise empowered by less regulation and lower taxes. So does his party. The nation will be better for their return to government.