I have to go “Postal” for the looming Victorian Election which probably sounds very satisfying until you realise it just means voting early. The Sceptics convention awaits in Sydney so I won’t get to hand out How to Vote cards or to Scrutineer either.
If you have an interest in Politics, and an understanding of the importance of protecting your family from changes that can actually hurt you, or you want to encourage a better standard of politics by supporting one of the better ones, it’s very satisfying to pop down and lend a hand for an hour or two on Polling Day. I don’t know of any Party that has too many volunteers, even the major ones, so you can be sure your help will be gratefully received.
It’s very sociable too which is completely the opposite of the dreaded Question Time. Folk from all parties were very sociable when I decided to hand out cards for the Greens one year with the Family First person being the odd one out. I might be wrong but I had the impression he, and his Boss, regarded it as a Christian Mission rather than a Democratic process. God was not amused by his poll figures so neither were they.
But I digress.
By Federal politics standards, the Victorian State Election is a pretty tame affair. At the Fed level the paper thin margin held by Julia Gillard filled our papers with day after day of whinging from Tony and Co. Actually I’m selling it short. My memory of it was Tony never quite came to terms with how Democracy operates in Oz and spent the whole time complaining.
It was a very long 4 years and anyone who voted for him under the impression he would settle down and stop bitching about Labor once he got the top job, is still waiting for relief.
Meanwhile in Victoria, the very same margin, this time in the favor of the Libs, caused hardly a flicker. In basic terms it meant accepting the Umpires decision and Labor simply got on with being the Opposition. I’m pretty sure most Victorians were well pleased to not have two lots of complaining to put up with.
Now this brings me to the point of this post and why I think you should think carefully about supporting Denis Napthine (Lib).
When Joe Hockey attempted his first Budget he struggled with the Math but then came up with the brilliant idea of duck shoving the hard stuff to the State Governments. Things like supporting the Gonski Report were immediately dumped with the cop out line suggesting the States could top up from their State Budget if they cared enough about Education. Yes. Joe still believes in the Magic Pudding.
Now initially our Premier was outraged by this treatment of his fellow Victorians, correctly recognising the “No new Taxes” Feds were getting him to do the dirty work of breaking promises. He even held his outrage for several months, but nice guys finish last in Tony’s bully boy play book so Denis has rolled over for his Party and Victorians have lost their protection. Denis is even on record claiming he is more than happy to have Tony join him on the campaign trail. Ouch. That’s a big climb down.
Incidentally, I’m much encouraged if Tony sticks his bib into the battle because he would have to be a huge liability as he struts the stage especially after his stark lack of vision when standing next to world Leaders at the G20. Them, discussing Climate Change and it’s economic impact. Him boasting about putting a tax on Doctor’s visits. You couldn’t find a more incredible difference in visions and Tony inflicted it on himself. The worrying bit? He probably didn’t even notice the difference.
There is no doubt that the serious damage to the Economy is more easily inflicted at Federal level but what this means at State level is that you need a Premier who puts the Voters ahead of party loyalty. Someone who will go in to bat for his State. Clearly Denis doesn’t have the ticker to stand up to Tony and these days he is not Robinson Crusoe in his party. The Liberal party’s very own “Putin” has nothing to fear from Pollies who put their own State first.
That’s not the worst of Napthine’s problems either. The current campaign line being pushed by Denis at the moment is “those God awful Unions” have control of Daniel Andrews. That sort of line used to work before Labor started doing things like the Accord, but Bob Hawke blew that old chestnut clean out of the water with their strong Economic management so it’s going to be a hard sell. This is also a highly dangerous line to take because it reminds everyone how he has dealt with the Firies, Ambos, Teachers, and just about any other service industry that has had to fight for their pay and conditions. It wouldn’t take a huge effort to flick that straight back at him and make his management style a point of issue with the Voters.
Come Election Day I will be keeping an eye on the count from my hotel room in Sydney. I will be surprised if I get to see any of the count though. With Denis further behind even than Tony in the polling, and a tired old Union bashing campaign plan, and a poor track record on standing up for Victorians, I suspect he won’t be “promising to govern for everyone” in a second term.