Now, you could be forgiven for thinking we’re in the middle of an election campaign. Between lobby groups buying up television advertising, drop-in visits from the Leader of the Opposition to every kind of business from dry cleaners to aluminium plants, and what seems like at least one opinion poll every freakin’ day, it sure seems like it.
There’s no election date called. There’s no election date even on the horizon. But the campaign is in full swing. Given this, I decided to take a look at what policies were out there from the ‘alternative government’.
Let’s see …
Repeal the carbon pricing scheme with all associated rebates, compensation and industry assistance. Presumably this includes the lifting of the tax-free threshold and pensioner allowances.
Repeal the Mining Resources Rent Tax.
Repeal the means test for the 30% private health insurance rebate.
Scrap the NBN. It’s unclear whether that includes ripping out the infrastructure already in place and returning those areas already connected to copper.
Close Trades Training Centres.
Rip up any deals that might be made with Malaysia regarding asylum seekers, discontinue community detention and reinstitute processing on Nauru and Temporary Protection Visas.
But surely there are actual, concrete, positive policies out there? Maybe the media just isn’t reporting them. So I swung by the Liberal Party’s website to take a look. And there they were. Policy documents. Policies on health, energy, transport, the economy … you name it.
Every single policy document is from the 2010 election.
None of the mini-essays from the relevant Shadows date from later than 2010.
And the odd piece of writing from this year? Falls into one of two categories: either relentless criticism of Labor; or a promise to repeal, scrap or otherwise abolish nearly every major accomplishment of the government.
If Abbott wants an election so badly – as he claims he does – surely he should start releasing alternative policy? If it’s imperative to stop the government from implementing its policy, or – god forbid – being re-elected, why not show us a better option? Motherhood statements are all very well, but they are no substitute for concrete policy.
It’s really no wonder that the most common parody of the Opposition is that they are the ‘Noalition’.
And lest readers complain that I am unfairly concentrating on the Opposition, I’d like to point out that government policy is under constant scrutiny as legislation comes before the House and the Senate. Those policies can be thoroughly analysed.
It’s very, very hard to examine what amounts to nothing more than the word ‘NO’, repeated ad nauseam.
Perhaps we will get some real policy announcements from the Opposition when the election date is finally announced. But given their track record of refusing to provide policies that have enough detail to be verified?
I’d have to say … no.