Saturday, 21 August 2010

Australian Federal Election 2010

This year's federal election is between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. Julia has a background in socialist politics and is a former union lawyer. This is typical of what you would expect from a Labor Party condidate. Tony Abbott is a devout Catholic and one of the chief architects of the controversial WorkChoices policy. Tony is pretty much the type of candidate you'd expect from the Liberal Party.

The major problem is that even though these candidates have very different backgrounds, their stated policies during this election campaign are virtually identical other than perhaps Labor's promise to build the National Broadband Network.

Julia Gillard's knifing of Kevin Rudd as well as her opposition to pension rises one minute and then support of it the next minute, clearly shows that she is a shady character who cannot be trusted. Unfortunately, she is running against Tony Abbott, who is just as bad. Tony was a rabid anti-woman religious radical who and, as mentioned, a chief architect of WorkChoice. All of a sudden, he portrays himself as a loving family man and has completely backflipped on WorkChoices.

When the candidates for prime minister are both quite poor, one can only look at the histories of the parties to make judgments. The left-wing Australian Labor Party (ALP) has traditionally been the party that represents the interest of workers and has its history in the trade unions. The ALP's opposition to WorkChoice therefore is very credible. The right-wing is a coalition between the Liberal Party and the National Party. The Liberal Party has traditionally been the party that represents the interests of business owners. It is the party of choice, flexibility, entrepreneurship, and so forth. The National Party represents the interests of farmers.

In terms of my economic self-interest, it makes sense for me to vote for Labor since I am neither a business owner nor a farmer. I am a worker just like most people. It would make no sense therefore for me to vote against my own economic self-interest. Of course, without business owners there would be no employment and hence no workers, so there needs to be a limit to how much you can tax businesses. Even those working in government need business since government exists because of taxes on business profits (or income or consumption, all of which are products of business profits). Business profits are essential for everyone, not just the business owners themselves but also the workers and governments that share in the profits.

But this labour versus capital view of the political parties may not be accurate because the major parties nowadays are starting to mix into each other. The Liberal Party is promising a massive paid parents leave scheme that will be funded by a massive increase in company tax rates. Labor is promising the same thing except under Labor's scheme the business will pay for it whereas for Liberals the government will pay for it. Either way the effect is the same since government profits come from business profits via taxation.

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