Just like last time, and with as little justification now as then 🙂 , here are my voting intentions for the upcoming Australian Federal election.
Lower House (House of Assembly)
Three years later, the determining factors are still the same: the National Broadband Network and carbon pricing. So – I’m voting Labor (Australian Labor Party (ALP)) again, because for me, these two things remain the differentiating factors between the parties (there are other differences of course, but less important to me, and tending to cancel each other out in terms of desirability). The Liberal-National Party (LNP) is offering an alternative to the Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) being built out currently; they want to use Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) technology with copper termination. There are a number of technical problems with the LNP plan (existing copper being insufficient for the promises being made, not significantly cheaper, slower available speeds, and will probably need to be upgraded within a decade by FTTP anyway). It will be somewhat cheaper, and may be finished marginally sooner, but it is essentially a case of opposition for opposition’s sake. As for carbon pricing, the LNP doesn’t even concede climate change, let alone the need for price signals to change our behaviours as a response to it.
Internet censorship seems to be out of favour this time around so isn’t an obvious problem … until the next time of course.
Both major parties seem to be in a contest for “most stupid” on the subjects of the economy and refugees.
Both are obsessed with a useless and dangerous desire for a federal surplus, sacrificing growth and/or employment for something they can’t control anyway. Government spending should be enough to ensure that aggregate demand in the economy is at a level that provides full, or near-full employment (anything less is a waste of our resources, and comes with immense social costs). In the absence of private sector spending (our current state), and our normal situation of trade deficit (i.e. we’re spending more in someone else’s economy than they’re spending in ours), recession and unemployment are inevitable if the Government stops spending as well. In an economy characterised by a fiat currency with a monopoly supplier and a floating exchange rate, “surplus/deficit” is just a measure at a point in time of the level of demand support the Government is providing. The government funds deficit spending by creating deposits in bank accounts, and if there is a surplus the money ceases to exist – a deficit leaves no future debt obligation as a burden on our children, and a surplus isn’t “banked” to allow future spending.
As for refugees – I’m not proud to be a citizen of a country that has reneged on its human obligation to deal kindly with people needing our help. Both sides of politics here seem to think we have a refugee problem (the total numbers coming here are small by comparison to other Western nations), and are in a race to see who can appear “strongest” in dealing with it. All they have achieved is to make us look mean and small, and increase the costs (both financial and human) of processing asylum seekers.
Upper House (Senate)
Last time around I voted Greens; this time it will be Labor, with a twist. Greens will be preferenced fairly high – I’m not convinced that giving either party control of both Houses is a good idea, but this time I think Labor is in a little more trouble in the Senate. Side note – with both major parties I have sequenced the vote differently to their suggestion. There are a couple of individuals from both that I would prefer to see out of politics (no names, no pack drill – that might be seen as ad hominem, which isn’t my intention)
Like every election I’ve voted in, I’ll vote below the line; and it’s great to see the return of belowtheline.org.au to make that task a lot easier to manage. If you’re a thinking voter, take a look at the site and you’ll find it’s not so daunting to vote BTL.
I will put faith-based parties last on both voting papers – I have no problem with people having religious beliefs but I think those beliefs have no place in a party system seeking secular government. If you believe in the Kingdom of God, why seek a seat at Caesar’s table?
This election has again tempted the passionate and well-meaning fringe to form political parties for our entertainment … from billionaires to dopeheads, from sex workers to devout Christians, from political neophytes to jaded major-party-castoffs … it’s a cast of thousands, and I wish them all a pleasant polling day.