For Australian voters the upcoming Federal election will be a choice between who will carry out the least severe cuts to jobs and services. While the massive stimulus packages helped keep Australia out of a technical recession, the cost has been the racking up of a huge debt. Both Labor and the Liberals are at one with the view that it should be ordinary people, and not big business, who should pay this debt. The agenda for both parties is one of cuts, cuts, and more cuts.
The Liberals have said that if elected they will slash $45 billion worth of services. This will mean attacks on the public sector with reduced services and increased costs for working people. Labor is no better, with Gillard boasting that they have already made nearly $84 billion in cuts! We can be certain that more cuts are to be expected if Labor is returned to power.
In recent years we have seen a significant increase in the cost of living. The price of electricity, housing, fuel and groceries have all risen above the rate of inflation, yet wages have remained stagnant. When workers demand pay rises to defend and maintain their standard of living they are vilified in the mainstream media and by both the major parties.
The representatives of big business cried foul when a modest increase of $26 a week was given to those receiving the minimum wage, yet see it as acceptable when some of the wealthiest in society increase their private fortunes by billions of dollars.
The election of a Liberal government would be a disaster for working people, but Labor are just as bad. They have broken their promise to rip up Work Choices, flip-flopped on climate change and refugees and wasted millions on the failed insulation scheme and the scandalous school building program.
Many people, especially young voters, will look to the Greens to provide an alternative to the policies of the two major parties. But as the decision of the Tasmanian Greens to join in a coalition with Labor demonstrates, they are incapable breaking with the policies of the parties of big business. Instead they are now part of a state government that is neglecting public services and increasing prices while giving tax breaks to the super rich.
The lack of choice for ordinary people in this election demonstrates the urgent need for a new party that puts the interest of workers, welfare recipients and young people first. Rather than continuing to support the Labor Party, unions and community groups should join together to form a new mass workers party.
Until a real political alternative is built, people can expect the same rotten anti-worker, pro-big business policies from whichever capitalist party comes to power. In order to tackle issues like unemployment, climate change, under funded services, and welfare cuts we need to build a mass movement to fight for a different way of organising society.
Regardless of who wins the election all the fundamental problems will remain. The best way to effect real change is to join the movement and fight for socialism.
By SP reporters