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A federal election, selfish voters and the media circus.

August 17th, 2010 · Greg Atkinson · 32 Comments

Thankfully one of the least productive uses of resources on a national scale, a federal election, will soon be over. As usual the government of the day amazingly comes up with a whole range of great ideas that it failed to come up with during the previous 3 years and the crowd trying to gain power, attempt to convince us that they could do better.

But at the end of the day the election will be decided by a fairly large group of selfish voters who will simply vote for the party they hope will give them something for nothing. Forget about the swing voters, the people with real political clout in Australia are the selfish ones.

Australia is gradually becoming ungovernable. It is simply becoming too difficult to manage the country effectively while at the same time giving the public what they want, because the two objectives are not compatible.

Take housing for example. The majority of people say they want affordable housing to be widely available but most home owners expect and want house prices to keep going up. So state and federal governments have for years implemented policies to prop up the housing market and these have helped push home prices up.

The truth is that it is not really possible to give homeowners what they want i.e: a steady rise in the value of their home and also make housing more affordable. But most politicians will promise they can but after the election the government of the day will somehow try to keep everyone happy by basically not doing much.

Then we have the issue of global warming. Many Australian’s take the high moral ground regarding global warming and say CO2 emissions must be cut but will do basically nothing to reduce their own CO2 footprint.

So it seems a large percentage of voters want the government to do something to reduce the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere as long as it does not personally affect their lifestyles or increases the cost of living.

As a nation we could easily reduce our CO2 emissions significantly by phasing out power stations that use coal, but that would mean shifting into the 21st century by embracing nuclear power. Sadly that is not likely to happen for a while. It would also be political suicide for any party to say nasty things about coal because it would lose a handful of seats at the election.

So on one hand millions of Australian’s say they are worried that human activity is causing the planet to warm, but on the other they won’t embrace the technology that would cut at least 20% of the nations CO2 emissions.

Sadly these days it appears that many people want a modern lifestyle, a good home, a flatscreen TV, money to spend, access to quality health-care etc and feel it is the government’s job to make sure they have these all things…now.

So during the election campaign politicians will be out and about basically telling people that they can have what they want. Along the way they will also try and convince us that their political party will save the planet, make children smarter, increase wages, create jobs, clean up traffic congestion, deliver more affordable housing, control inflation and find out where Elvis is living these days.

But what makes it truly impossible to effectively govern the nation is that many people don’t want taxes increased or work harder. So the party that wins the election on the weekend will simply be the party that is able to convince a large pool of selfish voters that they can have their cake and eat it too. It’s that simple.

People also want to live under the illusion that they can consume as they want and that somehow this is not linked in anyway to C02 emissions. They want to do their bit during Earth Hour and feel good about themselves, but then race off to buy the latest Iphone and pretend that is a carbon neutral action.

However the mainstream media won’t put things that simple. Their job is grab people’s attention and make out that everything is so complicated that we need reporters and political commentators to explain things for us.

Indeed it seems to be a very complicated task because both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are followed by a small army of reporters who have put aside their concerns about global warming and are doing their bit to release a few tonnes of CO2 whilst they all basically turn out the same news from the election front.

Of course there are some journalists who do good work, but do we really need so many reporters following the two leaders?

The reality is that the political system we have needs the media circus so that the major political parties can feed the public with half truths, twisted facts and outright lies that should otherwise never see the light of day. Reporters and media personalities are often just as guilty of twisting facts and telling outright lies as your average politician.

Thankfully the election campaign will soon be over and then we can all wait for a handout, tax cut or the tooth fairly to arrive. But don’t expect any tough decisions to be made soon because the politicians know we don’t like them. We will simply drift through the next three years until the circus comes back into town once again!

32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott Murray // Aug 17, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Sometimes a countries vested interests can work in its
    favor, which I think was the case for Australia and the ETS.

    I for one am thankful that Australia’s vested interests
    were powerful enough to stand up to this green Gaia worshiping

    The fundamental problem with the ETS is huge immediate costs,
    but unknowable and unmeasurable benefits long in the future.

    Governments around the world are realizing this is simply
    an impossible sell.

    So we’ll just have to deal with any future climate change
    the way mankind has always dealt with in the past by adapting to it,
    and not get stressed about it in the meantime.

    So lets keep those coal fired power stations burning and give
    thanks for our cheap and plentiful coal. Why should we build
    expensive nuclear power stations? You just can’t beat coal on price.

    Its not as if there aren’t any real problems to solve.

  • 2 Max Manning // Aug 18, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Agree with you totally…. I’ve given up watching the elections. With the 2 clowns that are up, there’s not much to choose from.

  • 3 Vince L // Aug 18, 2010 at 9:55 am

    It’s all about what is in it for me now. A lot of people say they want what is best for the country but give them a handout with borrowed money and they don’t seem to worry about who is going to pay back the debt.

  • 4 Greg Atkinson // Aug 18, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Hi Scott. Actually I am not a fan of the ETS or the global warming hysteria but I just don’t see the sense in using coal as an energy source in a developed nation like Australia. The cost to build nuclear power plants will be comparable to coal fuelled plants once things like the 4S type reactors come online.

    So the question is: will we give ourselves a chance to develop a new industry or end up simply importing the technology eventually anyway?

  • 5 Max Manning // Aug 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    There was one thing I forgot to add, I’m all for smarter ways of generating power but with nuclear power plants what happens with the (waste) depleted uranium? I don’t understand the way 4S type reactors work but I hope to understand them better, when I get some free time.

    This story from dateline may have the answers, warning a very graphic story on the possible causes of DU, but I believe it must be watched.

  • 6 Greg Atkinson // Aug 18, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Max: Perhaps feed the DU into Travelling Wave Reactors (TWR’s) See:

  • 7 Biker // Aug 25, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    “Thankfully the election campaign will soon be over…”

    Nope!~ 😉

  • 8 Greg Atkinson // Aug 27, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Looks like we might end up spending another $100 million or so on another election sooner than later.

  • 9 Biker // Aug 27, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I’m starting to think you may be right, Greg.

    Mind you, the next result would, in no way, be assured for either side.

    The turmoil, if there is no clear winner, now or then, is unimaginable. How could you govern, with so many factions threatening to block supply?!~

    The next campaign will be the bloodiest we’ve ever witnessed.
    I really can’t see Abbott getting away with not releasing the Libs’ figures. Three factions will pursue that mistake relentlessly…

  • 10 Biker // Aug 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    “I really can’t see Abbott getting away with not releasing the Libs’ figures. Three factions will pursue that mistake relentlessly… ”

    And, apparently, neither could he:

  • 11 Biker // Aug 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    And don’t you love the _photos_???!

    Julia doing her best Adolf… and Tony doing Mr Bean…


  • 12 Biker // Aug 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Never was it ‘truer’ that politics makes strange bedfellows!~

  • 13 Ned S // Aug 28, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Potentially “‘strange’ bedfellows” indeed! : 😉

  • 14 Biker // Aug 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Had a great laugh… thanks, Ned!~ 😀

  • 15 Ned S // Sep 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Katter’s blinked. Maybe he didn’t enjoy the cartoon?

    Pearson wants the coalition – He really mustn’t have been too impressed by Kev’s Bigfellah Sorry speech at all!

  • 16 Biker // Sep 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    And now we have to fight Death Duties!~

  • 17 Ned S // Sep 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Can’t win ’em all Tony:

    Nice try though! 🙂

  • 18 Biker // Sep 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Mistake to hide his budget figures. Major error…

  • 19 Ned S // Sep 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    “Major error” – To be sure.

    Death Duties – While I minimise tax legally, I’m a bit of a wowser when it comes to my attitude to cheating. But I find the concept of THAT particular tax SO odious, I certainly suspect I’d flip and cheat on every tax in every way possible to the maximum amount possible at all possible times. It would pretty much move me from grudging acceptance of the current unevenly matched Armed Standoff to a position of Total War. Including setting about actively instilling that attitude in later generations of family members.

  • 20 Biker // Sep 7, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Early in life, I watched cousins lose family properties farmed for almost a century, through Death Duties, simply because they could not afford to pay these taxes.

    There’s a very dangerous side of green theology known to few Aussies. Hopefully more will become aware of the stealth agenda before we’re taxed to death… . 🙁

  • 21 Ned S // Sep 7, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    As I’ve commented before Biker, my mob was ‘working’ class who reckoned your mob were ‘rich bush cockies’ – But even so, we always recognised that there was something fundamentally very, very wrong in Death Duties. When and if a society loses sight of that, the society has truly lost its vision and values and aspirations for their way forward … IMO.

  • 22 Biker // Sep 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Ah, the myth of the ‘rich bush cockies’ is dispelled by the fact that many a son was unable to find the cash, or even to get a loan, to keep the family property.

    Not only did these sons lose fathers, but the loss was almost immediately compounded by the loss of the farm… and the loss of livelihood.

    Never affected me at all. My parents, who bought their farm in their late fifties, sold it in their mid-seventies… . No CGT, no death duties… .

    Death duties are the worst form of all taxes. They’re probably The Last Straw which would cause our family to leave Australia,
    permanently, after my mother passes on. I’d sell up and find another less toxic clime!~ 😀

  • 23 Ned S // Sep 7, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    “the myth of the ‘rich bush cockies’” – Wasn’t THAT the truth. So like I reckoned, it was just my mob having a bit of subtle though not especially aggro squawk about the next level up that was to be envied as opposed to untouchable.

    Read my last post mate: “When and if a society loses sight of that” [their hope for going forward], “the society has truly lost its vision and values and aspirations for their way forward”

    If there is anything smarter to be said than that then it isn’t in Ned’s head?

  • 24 Greg Atkinson // Sep 8, 2010 at 7:27 am

    It’s all scary to me. We have the Greens with real power and yet few Australians know very much about what they stand for…including many of the people that voted for them! This is a real mess and will not help stocks at all.

    The MRRT is now still up in the air and I don’t think any of the mining companies will be happy with the Greens stance on mining.

    I also shake my head when I hear that the Greens don’t like coal power nor do they like nuclear power. In their fantasy world wind and solar alone will save the day.

    Goodness me…

  • 25 Biker // Sep 8, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I’ve mixed views about alternative energy, Greg. Bluegen technology, wind and solar could conceivably power every home in Australia, cheaply and cleanly. I concede that major industry needs a great deal more power than these alternatives supply.

    But the Greens represent more than the alternative energy debate. They’re a real threat to not only many freedoms we enjoy, but also to enterprise itself. In that respect, this may well be the most socialist government we’ve ever ‘elected’.
    If individual effort is to be taxed out of existence, our collective response may finally be “Why bother?” If there’s little incentive to rise, why get out of your armchair?

    Over two decades ago, when taxes were crippling, I declined a lucrative promotion, simply because there wasn’t a quid (left) in it after taxes. I can see that happening again… .

  • 26 Biker // Sep 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Wasn’t having a shot back, Ned. I had accepted your point about ‘the hope of going forward’ as the critically important issue.

    We visited one of my bush rellies _way_ down south, a couple of years back. I was astonished at their vast holdings, but more at the sheer penury in which they live. The land returns them (just) enough to live, but their isolation, their impoverishment and their very limited circumstances shocked us both.

    Perhaps they were the lucky ones(?) _They’d_ somehow found the money to pay the death duties…

  • 27 Greg Atkinson // Sep 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Biker I am agree with you regarding the Greens. I don’t think most people really know what they are about. They are not simply a be nice to nature party anymore, but rather a fairly scary extreme left-wing political movement.

  • 28 Biker // Sep 8, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Yes, they’re extremists all right, Greg. And their extreme viewpoints have been gradually introduced, by stealth.

    My mate Jim is so angry about their policies that he continually bombards the net with invective! As it’s done (mostly) very humorously, he appears to be making inroads!~

    I’m acting more locally. Can’t claim that I match Jim’s successes in effectively deriding their policies! 🙂

  • 29 Ned S // Sep 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    “but rather a fairly scary extreme left-wing political movement” – That is the impression I’m getting too fellahs.

    Extreme left-wing stuff has it’s attractions to the idealistic. It’s pretty difficult not to be attracted to “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need” I guess? Leastways until one gets to be realistic enough to acknowledge that it never has worked and never will work, with enough understanding to know why.

    “Leaving ‘home'” is a handy option to keep in mind Biker. But on balance, must still admit there simply aren’t any (?) other places I’d rather be. For now.

  • 30 Senator13 // Sep 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    The Greens certainly scare the hell out of me.

    I really don’t see this mix n match Government working.

    It is hard to reconcile what the ALP has in common with the Greens. And even harder to see what they have in common with the Independents.

    There is already confusion again over the mining tax. I can see the emissions trading issue being revisited too. And we have all seen enough of the NBN to realise it is pretty shaky. And these are all left over things from Rudd.

    Who knows what the extreme Greens are going to bring up.

    I have a feeling that the stock market and investors are not going to like this Government. I can just feel it now that this Government is going to have the urge to go and tinker with things that are not broken and make them worse.

  • 31 Ned S // Sep 10, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    The potentially ‘good’ news is that if any of us should wake up tomorrow and realize we’d really rather give our best mate a goodnight kiss than some sheila, we just might be able to aspire to being allowed to get married to him someday soon I guess?

  • 32 Greg Atkinson // Sep 12, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I have not seen the election outcome treated very positively by the international finance and investment media. My feeling is that market watchers outside Australia are waiting to see if the Government can actually function.

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