How deluded Kevin Rudd must be, to have believed that his return to the leadership of the ALP would somehow reverse an irrevocable tide. And how desperate and frightened the Party must have been to believe him.
It was always an impossible task. To win the election he has to overcome:
- Three years of the most negative, slogan-driven opposition that was able to seize upon serial blunders and crucial back-flips, to create, with the aid of a complicit press, a perception of total failure by the government.
- Three years – and more, of the most negative and hostile Murdoch press, controlling two-thirds of the nation’s newspapers; along with a range of vile misogynist radio shock-jocks, that gathered into a baying crowd, demanding the removal of both Julia Gillard and the Labor Government.
- Three years of his own intentional undermining of PM Gillard. How could he possibly imagine that the damage he inflicted upon his own party and its credibility would somehow heal itself when he returned to his ‘rightful place’ as its leader?
The government, if allowed to run on its record, might have had a good chance of being re-elected. Its economic management was sound, it passed important legislation and achieved some significant reforms. But its poll-driven, policies-on-the-run approach to some important issues, (and both Rudd and Gillard were guilty of this), means that they always appeared uncertain and desperate.
For many reasons the government deserves to lose. The sad thing is that Tony Abbott and the coalition parties do not deserve to win. They have been a slogan-driven opposition, articulating little of substance. They have created fear and uncertainty, promoted sectional interests, and somehow, (see dot points 1 & 2), evaded scrutiny.
And on one terrible, slogan-driven issue, there has been little of significance between the major parties, anyway. On the matter of asylum seekers arriving by boat, both major parties continue to put forward policies that shame our nation. To deny the human rights of damaged and broken people, to treat them with cruelty and to inflict even more damage on them in order to deter others from similar flights of desperation, is both inhumane and immoral. Both parties use the language of illegal immigration and border protection, to engender racist and religious intolerance, and promote fear to achieve their political ends. At the beginning of its term in office Labor had just and compassionate policies, but lacked the courage to stay with them.
Tony Abbott will win on September 7th, (the polls can’t be that wrong), and will claim a mandate (overwhelming?) to do everything he has threatened. Such is democracy, and such is the state of democracy in Australia.
Kevin Rudd was never the messiah. Just the latest in a long line of false prophets.
Last week’s poem had something to say about the failure of both major parties when it comes to Australia’s terrible treatment of boat people. Click here