Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

KRudd? Promise keeper? I wish!

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-07-07

Although KRudd touts as virtuous his keeping of short-term specific pre-election promises, the key promise, more influential on swinging voters and more important for Australia’s future, has been blatantly dumped.

That promise was a change in focus of politicians’ actions from news-cycle and election-cycle politics to a focus on strategic issues.

This is dumb politics – and it is getting too late to repair the damage before the next election campaign (official or not) gets underway in less than two years.  KRudd is making it difficult for himself.

Consider how the government got bogged down in the farce of bowser-price politics.  Consider how the recommendations of the scientific community (and the Garnaut recommendations) are effectively sidelined by KRudd: a hypocrisy worse than Howard’s because Howard was never an evidence-based policy-maker (apart from the evidence of opinion polls).

Both are examples of a tendency towards pacifying the electorate in the short-term using short-term tactics.  The better way of placating the electorate is by educating the electorate about managing the changes imposed by worsening shortages of food, water, land, and traditional energy sources.

This education has not happened, the range of hard choices and outcomes have not been made explicit, and the government is running out of time to start this conversation with the public if it wants a second term – unless of course, it doesn’t care about the long-term issues.

Apart from symbolic statements (like signing Kyoto and giving Penny Wong a ministerial title that sounds environmentally and economically responsible), is there any substantive difference in the real-world policies to deal with the major challenges we will face over the next few decades between KRudd and his predecessor?

Let’s face it, apart from the (largely symbolic) signing of Kyoto, and apart from soundbites, it’s hard to see how KRudd’s policy approach on climate change and the requisite changes to the structure of our economy puts him any closer to the demands from the community of heavyweight scientists and economists than Little Johnny.

If this continues, KRudd will not only be flushing our futures down the toilet, but will shoot himself in the foot.

"The Economist" stated that the 2007 federal election was the first in the world that had climate change as a major factor affecting voter choice.  Those voters will either return to their typical habits as Tory voters (especially if the Tories become as adept at making sweet environmental sounds as the ALP did in 2007) or swing to cross-bench parties that have more progressive agenda on other issues and would create problems for KRudd in the Senate.

A return to a Tory federal government would be more disastrous (because of attitudes to socialized medicine, etc) than KRudd’s neo-denialism continuing, so I’m hoping KRudd starts the difficult conversations with the electorate.

These conversations are not simple – they are more akin to the conversation my neurologist had with me, when he asked "I can prescribe pill A, which will fry your brain in 10 years, or pill B which will fry your liver in 30. Which option do you want?". Unfortunately, the average elector seems to be unwilling to face the necessary pains and inconveniences – rather like people who say they are worried about the incidence of AIDS, want to be promiscous, but don’t want the inconvenience of condoms.  Then again, I might be wrong about the average elector’s hypocrisy… even though KRudd’s tactics suggests he has the same opinion of them.

p.s. I’ll DEFINITELY be watching HollowMen on ABCTV!!


2 Responses to “KRudd? Promise keeper? I wish!”

  1. […] "KRudd? Promise Keeper? I wish!" (2008-07-07) on economic non-differences. […]

  2. […] Labor is even making the left nauseus; balneus, […]

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