Finally, I've received a copy of the Liberal party's "six key priorities", one of which is a "5-Pillar economy". Still nothing from Labor or the Greens in my letterbox.
I'm trying to be objective as I read it. It looks good. It looks expensive. There are no claims about it being printed on recycled paper or being environmentally friendly. I've never voted Liberal in my life, so objectivity is tricky.
The claim to build a "more diverse" 5-Pillar economy by building on the stuff we already do seems thin.
The pledge to save me money - "Carbon Tax gone" - seems crazy. Has everyone forgotten the steadily increasing electricity bills that were coming in long before the carbon tax was introduce?. What's even more interesting is the absence of any mention of their Direct Action plan to combat climate change. Clearly this is of no consequence to the Liberals. (How are all the farmers going to run viable farms if climate change isn't addressed, I wonder?) It's also worth remembering that we have a price on carbon as part of a carbon trading scheme. This is different from a carbon tax.
Point 3 is about ending the waste and debt. This is hilarious in light of the enormously over the top Paid Parental Leave scheme. And the loss of income from the abolition of the carbon tax.
Point 4 is about better roads and services and is accompanied by a logo of a train track! Tony Abbott is on record saying that he won't fund urban rail, instead preferring to fund more roads. There is not a single mention of public transport in the entire document - another clue about their attitude to climate change.
"Stop the boats" waits until point 5 with the new tag line "stronger borders". In the following pages of the leaflet there are statements of costs under Labor but no mention of the boat buy back scheme announced last month. What was that about ending waste?
My preferred policy position on refugees and asylum seekers is "drain the moats".
Finally the sixth priority is they'll create two million new jobs. There is absolutely no information about how this will done.
Apart from the absence of climate change and public transport, the other glaring omission is industrial relations. I do not trust that elements of the dreadful, punitive, mean and unfair Work Choices legislation will not be introduced by an Abbott government.
It's fair enough to like or not to like the leaders of the parties, but I think it's really important to remember that they are just one person in the context of a whole party that forms government. As we've seen in recent times, there's no guarantee that the leader you vote for is the leader you get for the duration. My hope is that people take an interest, read information and dig deeper to think about the claims being made by anyone seeking election.
A friend of mine suggested to me that we should remove personality from politics and vote purely on policy. I don't think that's realistic. Politics is about people as much as it's about policy and personality does matter; but it's not the only thing.
Since yesterday's post, I've been directed to a couple of handy sites to assist with the arduous task of voting in the Senate. Below the Line provides a breakdown of how the preferences flow when you vote above the line. (Thanks Mousicles.)
If you're not happy, Cluey Voter helps you create your very own how to vote card based on your views of the squillion parties and candidates standing. Even if you don't decide to vote below the line, the process of thinking about each party is worthwhile. (Thanks to Lynne for that tip.)
And if you're curious to see the propaganda being distributed in your electorate visit the Election Leaflets site. You can upload the stuff you've collected. They also have a "this is not an election leaflet" leaflet.
Are you still paying attention to the election? Are you undecided? If you're overseas, is the Australian election even on your radar?