Friday 19 October 2007

Election Down Under - End of Week 1

One week down, six to go. After initially saying that they wouldn't release their tax policy until close to the election date, the Labour opposition today announced their tax policy. It looks identical to the Liberal party policy announced on the first day of the election campaign, except, as I predicted, it delays (probably forever) the reduction in the top tax rate from 45% to 40%. The Labour policy uses this saving to fund an education tax rebate for low-middle income families (those that can qualify for the existing family tax benefit 'A').

The Prime Minister also seems to have had a small victory by getting the opposition leader to agree to a single debate on Sunday, rather than the series of three debates Mr Rudd had wanted. Opinion polls out today show a slight improvement in the Liberals primary vote, but they're still well behind on a two-party preferred basis, due to the supporters of the Green and Democrat parties (around 10% of the vote all together) mostly giving their second preference votes to Labour rather than Liberal.

It still looks like Labour will win this election, but the government is running a good campaign so far. There are still a few aspects of the campaigning that I don't understand. For example, the government's greatest weakness is the unpopularity of the "Work Choices" legislation (that makes it easier for employers to remove such costs as penalty rates for weekend and evening work). Labour has stock line that the government's Work Choices is unfair. I just don't get why the standard Liberal response isn't to say that Work Choices IS fair, and, with unemployment at the lowest level for more than 30 years and the aging workforce, it is necessary to avoid a wages break out that would rekindle inflation and workers wage rises would be lost in higher living costs.

On the other hand, the government is running a "fear" campaign targetting the fact that most of the Labour party front bench (shadow ministers) are ex Union officials. The Labour party is simply decrying the use of such "negative" campaigning by the Liberals, which seems to be a tacit admission that having so many ex-Union officials in the Labour party is a bad thing. Go figure.

Copyright Enough Wealth 2007

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