Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

ALP tobogganing towards disaster

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Languishing at around 30% support in opinion polls, the ALP continues to lurch from crisis to crisis. Despite repeated attempts to spin their way out of trouble, most ordinary people see Labor’s politics for what they are – helping the rich to get richer while the bulk of the population struggles to make ends meet.

Since the beginning of the year downward trends in the world economy have intensified. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has gotten worse and China’s consumption, output and growth have all fallen. All of this is effecting the situation in Australia, with China’s problems widely predicted to worsen as time wears on.

By Kirk Leonard, Socialist Party

Large parts of Australia are effectively in recession. The eastern states of Australia are not benefiting, and in fact are suffering, from the mining boom. Waves of job losses have rolled across the country in manufacturing, finance and retail. Increasing numbers of people are forced to accept insecure and often low-paid forms of work, like casual jobs, short term contract positions or day-to-day labour hire.

While some people are spending in excess of 50% of their incomes on housing costs, other household bills like food, water, electricity and childcare are skyrocketing. At the same time the major banks, the big business profiteers and property speculators are making record profits.

People are rightly laying the blame for cost of living increases on the ALP and their pro-rich policies. At the recent Queensland state election the Labor Party was almost annihilated. That election and gave a glimpse of the anger that exists amongst working people about the situation that Labor presides over.

Labor’s historic budget cuts also hang over the heads of working people. This European-style austerity coupled with a worsening economic outlook paints a bleak portrait of the future. Rather than implementing policies to alleviate the impact of these problems, Labor are leading the charge to make ordinary people pay to prop up big business profits.

Further compounding people’s hatred of Labor are the lies, back flips and the stench of corruption hanging heavy in the air around them. The Craig Thompson affair has shone the torch on the festering axis between the right wing trade union leaders and the vampire-like ALP factions.

Gillard’s desperate deal with Peter Slipper and the allegations surrounding him have amplified to a deafening roar the ALP’s pure opportunism. The Slipper deal was done in the first place to shore up Gillard’s numbers in Parliament after she betrayed independent MP Andrew Wilkie on pokies reform at the behest of the gambling profiteers.

This only entrenched her reputation as a liar after she back flipped on her promise not to impose a carbon tax, a measure which will see ordinary people pay for the big polluter’s mess with no outcome.

It is now highly likely that the hatred that exists for the Gillard government will lead to the coming to power of an Abbott Coalition government. In the absence of an alternative, voters will use the election to punish the incumbent party. This is despite there being no real enthusiasm for Tony Abbott and his lot.

Working people are right to want to punish Labor, however a conservative Coalition is clearly no alternative. The two parties of big business parties agree on the same economic fundamentals and increasingly on the social issues as well. Their only minor differences are stylistic.

Rather than continuing on the pro-big business party merry-go-round a new political force is needed to provide political representation for the majority in society. Rather than representing the rich we need a mass party that bases itself on a political and economic alternative to the status quo of profiteering, corruption and falling living standards.


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