A Dangerous time for Labour

Bill Shorten has had a dream run. He and Labour have done an excellent job at doing nothing and letting Abbott self-destruct. In this role Shorten has proved himself to be an expert, but whether this is by design to take maximum advantage of Abbott’s death wish or natural talent coming to the fore is, at this stage, unknown.

After Tuesday, no matter what the outcome of the LNP (maybe) leadership spill Bill Shorten and the Labour party will have to start doing things. Things like developing policies that work and the people of Australia want. After a year and a bit of semi-silence from Labour the Australian people will want to know what the alternative to extreme right politics is.

Abbott needs to be Labour’s example of what not to do. I hope and expect that the Australian people have gone past voting for the junkyard dog because of it’s ability to destroy a government. Abbott may have shown that he can smash and destroy, and gain power through lies and half-truths but the junkyard dog was never going to convert to a warm fuzzy family friendly pet.

Labour needs to learn the lesson from this and understand that there is politics, and there is good government, but the two do not mix. Rudd and Abbott were both politically vicious and ruthless but never had what it took to govern for the people. The time is here for Labour to stop the politics and construct future policies for this country in unison with the people and for the people.

Good governance is not coming up with smart ideas and telling the people that is what must be done. Good governance is about listening to the people who elected them, (and those that didn’t), and finding the path that leads to fulfilling the peoples wants and needs in a sustainable manner. These wants and needs are not confined to self interest and personal gain but also who we want to be as a nation. Gross National Product is a very poor indicator of the health of a nation.

There are many people in Australia who deplore the Australian concentration camps at Manus Island and other places. No healthy country incarcerates a minority people without any charges being laid and leave them with no legal or human rights, or any hope of freedom. Presenting the slow murder of the soul as being the only alternative to dying at sea is a political expediency of the most vicious and cynical kind. There may be those who object to the term Concentration Camp but that is what Manus Island and the other ‘Offshore Processing Facilities’ are. Bill Shorten, please have the backbone to say out loud that Rudd led Labour along a path to hell when he reintroduced Howard’s inhumane policies. Bill Shorten, Rudd made a mistake and you need to fix it.

Rudd also totally messed up over climate change. Abbott’s ‘colourless odourless gas’ is destroying our habitat. One lesson that the human race is that when a species habitat is destroyed the species dies. We have caused the extinction of many species by destroying their habitat and the least we should have learned is that not combating global warming could have dire consequences for our future existence. There are those that seem to think that the human race, and Australians in particular have a divine presence that is not subject to nature, but they are mistaken. Australia as a land mass that is extremely vulnerable to climate change and we as a people may have to make radical changes to our life style and expectation for our future if we do not start making massive changes now to our attitude about climate change. It is probably too late to avoid the results of climate change but whether this means a bit of fender bending or being dead on arrival depends entirely on our nation being willing and able to act now to avoid the worst of outcomes.

If Labour does not address the real issues of past decisions and change the direction of many of its past policies someone like Malcolm Turnball or Julie Bishop will tear them apart at the next election. They might get lucky and have Scott Morrison continue the downward spiral of the far right into oblivion started but Abbott but it would be a mistake to rely on dumb luck to get Labour through the next eighteen months.

It is time for Labour to stop playing politics, admit past errors and develop clear and inclusive policies for the future well being of both the individual and the country. The big question is ‘are Bill Shorten and the Labour Party up to it?’

How much did Abbott Government Contribute to Holden Decision?

The report that the decision to close Holden came by way of a phone call half hour before the decision was announced sounds strange. It sounds as if the Abbott Government was bypassed in the announcement. If you look at the way the Abbott government has been trying to bully General Motors in the last week it is not so strange. If the decision was marginal it was time for negotiation, not for throwing governmental weight around in the media. Did Abbott tell GM of any of his announcements before he made them public? How would a company like GM react to a person like Hockey threatening them in Parliament instead of talking to them? Did GM simply join the long list of entities, such as Indonesia, China and the UN that the Abbott government has managed to piss off in the last three months? Did the ‘Perfect Storm’ GM refereed to include Abbott?

All over the world countries subsidies and support local car industries because they understand that a country that builds cars can build anything. Car making is the basic training ground and skills development area that all other manufacturing industries rely on. If Australia stops making cars the backbone of Australian manufacturing will be gone. If Abbott continues treating major manufacturing companies the way he treated GM the mining companies will be the only ones left and they only dig holes.

Abbott’s backward facing stance sees digging more holes and dumping the waste on the Greet Barrier reef as the way forward. Or maybe Australia becoming no more than a quarry is what this is all about. It might be good for the big mining companies in the short term but the world is changing rapidly and we need to be able to look after ourselves. That means the ability to be as self sufficient as possible. Take away the car industry and we become dependent on others in a way that takes Australia back 60 years.

Fortunately there is just sufficient time for one more election before Holden closes and I hope that Labour will start negotiating a deal with GM to keep manufacturing in Australia to be implemented when Labour wins the next election.