Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Labor’s hollow promises exposed

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The ABC TV series The Hollowmen has received high ratings by capturing the essence of the spin that dominates the modern ALP elite. Watching these operators every night on the news you don’t know if they copy The Hollowmen or if the The Hollowmen script writers copy reality. The Rudd government is almost beyond parody on matters of spin over substance.

The Labor Party continues to be comfortably ahead in polls partially as a result of the current shambles in the Liberal Party and partially due to a continued hope from voters that Rudd can’t be any worse than the previous government. Ordinary people want to believe the spin that Rudd will scrap Work Choices, do something to deal with climate change, and generally be more understanding of the immense pressures faced by working families today.

However there is a growing, sad realisation amongst ordinary people that there is a gulf between form and content with this government.

Rudd and Gillard were elected on the promise to scrap Work Choices, now they say they will only change bits of it and only next year. The police state style ABCC will stay till 2010 and probably afterwards in another name. As the Liberals have pointed out – by 2010 Work Choices will have existed longer under Rudd than under Howard.

Rudd promised an education revolution, now Gillard wants a New York-inspired rating system for schools where parents can ask the number of disabled, Aboriginal and working class kids in a school!

Rudd promised action to deal with climate change and what we have got is a trading scheme for carbon credits that will allow polluters to buy their way out of action and will in any event include waivers for the worst polluters.

The Northern Territory election shows the early stages of a rebellion against ALP spin. Working people are feeling increasingly uneasy about the economy and their future. The high ratings for Rudd could prove to be short lived and this is why the normally-cowardly Peter Costello is considering a run at the Liberal leadership.

What is desperately needed is a socialist explanation and a way forward from the Left. A new mass working class party is needed now. The absence of a credible alternative from the Left opens up the danger of new right wing parties and movements using racist and populist arguments to get an echo.

Northern Territory election

The NT election result was a warning to Labor nationally. Voters expect relief from inflation and a slowing economy, spin is not the same as action. Labor now rules with a majority of only one seat. The Country Liberal Opposition went from four seats to eleven.

This was not a simple swing to the Right as the Greens had a big increase to capture 16% of the overall vote, including 23% in one Darwin seat. This was all won in hardly favourable territory for the Greens. All eyes will be on the Western Australian election this month to see if the drift away from the ALP continues.

Editorial from the September 2008 issue of ‘The Socialist’


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