The Liberal Party deserves to win the Next Election

Federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull says that the Coalition “deserves” to win the next election.

It’s a remarkable observation for someone who had to flee the country to the comparatively less hostile environment of Afghanistan earlier this week.

Despite maintaining a veneer of self-assured confidence, there is no denying that Malcolm Turnbull has suffered a monumentous blow to his credibility and position as Leader of The Opposition.

The trip to Afghanistan was a pointless exercise in itself and a complete waste of tax-payers money, however Malcolm, obviously buoyed with same false sense of bravado and military confidence that comes hand-in-hand with donning a bullet-proof vest and “roughing it” with the soldiers has declared that he can win the next election.

“We will turn it around on election day, that’s our commitment”

“We can win this next election and we should win the next election” he said.

It’s an interesting choice of words. “Should win the next election” infers that the Liberal party has done something to “deserve” to be in an election-winning position.

Of course the reality is a vastly different situation altogether.

Can anyone recall, in recent months, anything that the Liberal party has announced as legitimate and alternative strategies and initiatives that it would do differently from the Federal Labor Government in terms of responding to the GFC, housing affordability, unemployment or nation building?

Despite murmurings to the contrary, Liberal party members are maintaining that Turnbull continues to receive their support as the party leader. He is after all, perhaps the most moderate senior figure.

However one can’t help but feel that the Liberal party is suffering from a severe identity crisis.

They are a party torn between the far right conservatism of the Howard years represented today in personalities like Tony Abbott, who for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t be let loose anywhere near a microphone or journalist, and the more moderate Turnbull who represents the affluent, forward thinking and contemporary mindset of the seat of Wentworth.

The elephant in the room (quite literally) is Joe Hockey. Clearly he sees himself as leadership potential, and despite my own personal opinion of the man, is actually perceived by some as quite likeable, or “avuncular” so we are told.

However, one thing is clear, if Turnbull’s ratings are not resurrected in the polls in the next few months then his position and the relevance of the Liberal party overall, will become increasingly tenuous.

The question is, in the context of a Government that has been universally praised by economists from around the world for its response to the GFC, does the Liberal Opposition really have anything left to offer?

By all accounts, their hugely unnsuccessful attack on the Prime Minister over the entire ute-gate affair would suggest that perhaps the answer is “no.”

Pssst – wanna buy Medibank

Reports are coming out that the federal government is preparing for the sale of Medibank.

THE Rudd Government is opening the way for the possible sale of Medibank Private with the Labor Party set to delete from its policy platform a clause opposing the sale of the health fund.

The story goes that there is a change in wording proposed at the next month’s Labor national conference where the words “Labor is opposed to the sale of Medibank Private” is to be dropped. Is this because the want to sell more of the family silver to reduce the deficit, or is it a change in ideology? Not good either way if you ask me.

And this comes on top of Bligh in Queensland having a fire sale to protect (or restore) the states AAA rating.

Rudd’s Honeymoon Over.

The Liberals must be rejoicing with the results of the latest AC Nielson Survey! The honeymoon is finally over.

The poll, taken after the Federal Budget last week and published in The Australian, states that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s approval rating has slumped by 10 points.

The Nielsen poll, published in Fairfax newspapers on Monday, shows Mr Rudd’s approval rating at 64 per cent – 10 percentage points lower than the previous poll, in late March.

Mr Rudd’s disapproval rating is up 10 points to 32 per cent.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull’s approval and disapproval ratings remain steady at 43 and 47 per cent respectively.

Mr Rudd’s rating as preferred prime minister is down five points to 64 per cent while Mr Turnbull’s has risen four points to 28 per cent.

The poll shows the coalition’s primary vote has increased six points since March, while Labor’s has fallen by three points.

That result puts Labor only one point ahead of the coalition on primaries, 44 per cent to 43, the best result for the coalition in the Nielsen poll since the 2007 federal election.

Labor’s two-party-preferred vote is down five points, leaving it ahead of the coalition by 53 per cent to 47.

The national poll of 1,400 people was taken from Thursday to Saturday.

It also found 38 per cent of respondents said they will be worse off because of the budget, eight points more than for last year’s budget, while 23 per cent said they would be better off (down eight points on last year).

The Budget was seen as fair by 56 per cent, down one point on last year’s result. Sixty-two per cent were satisfied with it (down four points on last year).

Shock: Business Union Supports Labor

Greg Evans, director of industry policy and economics at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says:

By and large we believe the Government’s strategy to deal with the economic slowdown is the correct strategy the fiscal package announced by the Federal Government late last year, but also the beginning of this year.

Which to me seems the opposite to what the liberal party is saying. So it seems that the business unions are supporting Labor and not their own people. So the business unions and the conservative as not such a “perfect match” after all.

Malcolm in the Middle

The Coalition has received a rather earth-shattering wake-up call as we mark the Labor party’s first twelve months in office.

According to the latest Newspoll survey, Labor now leads the Opposition by 59 per cent to 41 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

This represents the Coalition’s worst performance since June, and its second-lowest support since the election.

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Fair Work, or Back to the Future?

The Deputy Prime Minister has tabled the government “Fair Work Australia” legislation in parliament.

The legislation continues to provide a differentiation of employment security, depending on the size of the employer. If the employer has less than 15 employees, workers need to remain employed for a year to seek obtain protection from unfair dismissal. Currently an employer has to have over 100 employees to be subject to legislation relating to dismissal.

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What does Kevin Rudd stand for?

Traditionally Labor has been “the battler’s party,” with a focus on protecting the interests of workers who tend to fall into the lower to middle income categories.

The party has also been traditionally more ‘liberal’ (in the true sense of the word) than conservative parties and championed equality and an end to discrimination in the workplace and broader society.

This position has fundamentally changed during the course of the past ten years. While Labor continues to wax lyrical about “working families,” they have also transcended, and to a great degree distanced themselves from their Union dominated past to become a party which has a greater awareness of fundamental economic issues, the global environment and the role of commercial enterprise.

Of course the world has also fundamentally changed in recent months. The global economic meltdown presents an enormous challenge for Labor, not just in maintaining growth in the Australian economy and minimising unemployment, but also in pursuing their mandate for addressing climate change and introducing an emissions trading scheme. In today’s precarious economic climate, pursuing an environmentally-driven agenda is walking a political knife’s edge.

So what does Labor stand for today? After 12 months in office, it’s almost difficult to say. Apart from delving into the budget surplus to prop up the Australian economy there has been little in the way of significant policy announcements. The ‘education revolution’ which was largely hailed prior to the election seems like a distant memory.

While Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s plan to introduce an internet filtering system seems like a page torn straight from the Liberal party handbook.

Similarly, ending discrimination against same-sex couples has fallen off the agenda. And in a bizarre twist the leader of the Opposition is more focused on this issue than Labor.

The full impact of the economic meltdown will not be fully felt in Australia until early to mid 2009. Already we are witnessing mass redundancies in the Banking and Finance sectors; typically the first industries to be impacted in an economic crisis.

The question remains; What does Labor really stand for anymore?

Posted by: Stuntreb