The 3-yearly-party of democratic election has been called. On 21 August 2010, Australian all over the world will elect a new Prime Minister (the current Prime Minister is not elected). Yes, it’s the classic battle between Labor versus Liberal, but also between modern versus traditional leader. Which one to choose ?….

Well, it’s not presidential election, so technically the Aussie will not directly choose their Prime Minister. They will choose the local member of parliament that belong to a party or an independent. The majority member will form a government that has been nominated before. So, if you want a Labor Prime Minister, then vote for Labor candidate nominated for your local neighborhood, and vice versa.

The real drawback of this system that quite annoying (at least for me) was what happen with PM Kevin Rudd: the labor party faction decides that Kevin Rudd is a liability that has to be replaced.  So, it did – a few people initiative was able to replace a Prime Minister that not even 3 years ago has successfully win the election toppling the previous government that has ruled Australia for more than a decade. For me, at least for Prime Minister position, which is the one running the country, there should be more difficult procedure to replace the office.

Anyway, back to the topic, what do you think the would be Prime-Minister-elect below.

Modern vs Traditional – who will win

Let’s compare side by side the two leader of the party that would become prime minister:

Tony Abbott vs Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard vs Tony Abbott For PM

Julia GillardTony Abbott
Birthplace:Wales, UKLondon, UK
Birthday:29 Sep 614 Nov 57
Religion:No religionRoman Catholic
The ModernThe Traditional

Domestically, many parents and Christian group voice concern about Julia as role model. Not only admitting publicly that she doesn’t belief in God and religion, but she’s also not married and living together as de-facto couple with her partner.

Tony on the other hand, not only still go to the church every week, he also said publicly that he wants her daughters to be still virgin on wedding day. Something that is quite rare in western world. Also, as a politician, he is super duper fit – recently at 52 years old he still can finish an Ironman Triathlon (that is 3.8 km swimming, 180 km cycling and 42 km running in a day – he finished it under 15 hours –  try this if you can !!)

Despite that, poll showed that Julia is significantly very popular as PM candidate to Tony by far. (mid July 2010’s poll: 57% prefer Julia vs 27% for Tony as PM). I guess not only she is a good looking red head woman, but also as the first female PM for Australia – which completes the dominance of female leadership in this country.

The only common denomination between both is that they are both migrant and born overseas !

So, between the modern and the traditional, which one you choose ?

Current Government:

  • One of the major achievement that can be boasted about is that Kevin Rudd government has saved Australia from GFC (Global Financial Crisis). During the worldwide downturn, Australia has never entered a recession. Thanks to the quick action from government with its economic stimulus.
  • Some people scream that Labor has plunged Australia into debt. I can say straight that these people are 101% wrong and most likely they don’t know anything about macro economics. It is true that before GFC, Australian Federal Government has no debt. But if there is indication of recession where private sector stop spending, the government need to step in go into debt and stimulates the economy. They have no choice, that’s the only way – any government will do this.
    The debt itself ? Again some people who whinge about debt, it’s screaming that they don’t know anything about finance. (They maybe ridicoulously scare about debt , have never study and understand debt and need further education) – Australia debt will peak at $153 billion at around 2013 . Looks big? No at all, Last year Australia GDP is $1.2trillion or $1200 billion, and with growth to 2013, the debt will be around 10% of GDP (Gross national Product). This is comparable to if you have $500,000 home and got a mortgage of $50,000. Really small and manageable. So, do not worry a single blink about Australia debt.
    For further comparison, the European country that recently have problems with debt (Spain, Greece, etc) has debt of up to around 200% of their GDP, of course this is problem – but not with Australia)
  • However, the debt money that government spend could have much better impact if it being spent with more control: 2 big mess are the home insulation program and the BER (Building  Education Revolution).
    The home insulation scheme lack of check and control where scammer and unqualified people can claim as insulator, receive money from government and install dogy insulation at home all across Australia. Not only rorting the scheme, but also responsible of many house fire due to technical matter.
    Almost similar, the BER is practically giving money to school all over Australia to renovate or build new building. The problem is there is no control where the builder and/or the school giving a ridiculously high quote, but still get the money. For example: to make covered outdoor learning area in school, usually costs somewhere under $80,000 but some school can get it ballooned to $950,000 without any question.
    For both bungles, I fully understand that quick response is essential (hence not much rules/procedure can be fully established) but it can easily much better run if the government delegate the operation into the respected industrial body on each field. Not only they have more experience and visibility of the norm, government can sue back the money if they proven to be rorting the government. But instead both scheme were handled by government directly. This is not acceptable.
  • Asylum seeker/Refugee matter: I believe without doubt, this government has failed to maintain preventing the low rate of illegal immigrant, especially the one come from illegal boat, come to Australia. This is the comparison: the last 2 terms of previous government (from 2001 – 2007) the averages is 4 boat a year with average of 48 people per year. But, just 2009, there were 59 illegal boats with 2750 people on it. (see for more statistic)
    I fully believe refugee need to be helped and Australia should help generously, but the way they come to Australia, I don’t really agree with. The problem with this is some of these “refugee” allegedly fly to Indonesia or other neighboring country before embarking on a boat coordinated by “people smuggler”. Some pay thousands of dollars  just to get in the crappy boat. So, some of them are not genuine refugee and unfortunately no way (or very hard) to prove this 100%.

    The fact that Australia is not in the direct vicinity of the conflict area (Afghanistan, Middle East, etc) then all refugee intake should be the ones coordinated by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) not by illegal people smuggler. The message need to be clear, anybody claim themselve as refugee need to be endorsed by UNHCR – the rest will be met by harder law. This is to prevent blooming business of people smuggler. It is really different if for example there is conflict in Indonesia or East Timor, then boat people from this direct neighbor will be likely a genuine refugee.

  • This government has upset the mining community: the very industrial sector that made dodging GFC possible. Super profit tax or whatever the name should not be applied to mining company. Yes, they have huge profit, but also remember that they also contribute huge infra structure (railway, roads, township,etc) of otherwise just tiny rural town. Not to mention capital and infrastructure to do the mining itself. If the government want to have extra tax, apply this Super Profit tax to bank. The banks is not capital hungry they just provide service, mostly now automatid by computer, but yet their profit will be astronomically high if compared with the capital required.

To be franked, I am not really Labor supporter. But with all the above, I would think they didn’t do any big mishap. With the Liberals did not have much different policy anyway, I would say, let Labor continue govern this country, mainly to clean their own mess!

Well, the way democracy works, an opinion of one person does not really matter. The majority will rule. Happy election !