Liberal diary: Spin master still in control
Note: Labor MP Richard Marles and Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella are among our favourite contributors to The Punch, and we have asked them to write a piece every Friday during this five-week election campaign giving their take on events.
It’s telling that the transition this week from false to “real” Julia Gillard was only discernable because of her embarrassing public declaration that she was “going to take charge”.
Which of course begs the question – just who has been in charge over the last six weeks of her Prime Ministership?
Even this public declaration is evidence that Labor’s campaign is still all about spin over substance. Julia’s change of direction appears to be based, not on policy or vision, but on her being more accessible to the public and appearing less robotic.
But it’s a confected authenticity that she’s obviously been instructed to convey simply because her campaign has floundered so badly.
Ms Gillard also claims to be throwing out the campaign rule book – but the first thing she did was launch a tirade-bordering-on-personal-attack on Tony Abbott. Labor is also cynically launching its campaign (and presumably therefore it’s major policies) less than 5 days before the Australian people go to vote. Not a lot of time for scrutiny.
Labor’s obsession with spin over substance has led many commentators to declare the election a policy-free zone. But that isn’t the case.
While the Labor campaign has gone from bad to worse, the Coalition has been working hard each day and has announced many significant policies that form part of our plan for the future.
Practical funding of $3.1 billion to create 2,800 new hospital beds and reduce waiting lists (that’s 1,500 more beds than Labor is planning)
$1.5 billion for better Mental Health services including 20 new Early Intervention Centres and 60 additional “headspace” Centres to treat young people
An innovative, wage-based Paid Parental leave program that will mean working women have 6 months leave to care for their babies – which will help businesses retain valuable employees
$3.2 billion for a direct-action plan to reduce carbon emissions including a new Green Army and more support for renewable energy
$90 million to boost tourism and build vital tourism infrastructure
Cutting company tax by $2.5 billion to help small businesses grow
Making childcare more affordable for families by indexing the childcare rebate and paying it weekly
Easing the pressure on families by increasing the Education Tax Rebate and expanding eligible expenses to include school excursions, fees, and tutoring
Making communities safer with a Community Crime Prevention Program to help fund CCTV cameras and other local measures to fight crime and graffiti
More funding to improve border security at our airports and ports
Support for Seniors including more access to the health care, employment assistance and better quality aged care.
Of course, the Coalition will also tackle the vital issue of illegal boat entries by restoring both offshore processing and the TPV (Temporary Protection) visa class which acted so effectively as a deterrent to people smuggling.
We are also committed to getting rid of Labor’s tax on our most productive industry, mining – which would cost jobs and add to cost of living pressures that families are facing.
Importantly, we have released a comprehensive economic plan – including $24 billion in recurrent savings to help fund our commitments and also begin to pay back Labor debt.
Ms Gillard has taken to claiming credit for “getting Australia through the global financial crisis” – the fact it, Labor inherited a $20 billion budget surplus and turned that into a whopping $57 billion deficit in just 2 years. And a lot of that spending was utterly wasteful and unnecessary.
Any talk of fiscal scrutiny now by Labor is laughable when the Prime Minister won’t even release the Independent Report into rorting of the BER, for which she had responsibility.
The fact is Australia clearly fared better in the GFC because, unlike other nations, we had a very strong economy to start with – thanks to the economic management of the previous Coalition Government. If stimulus spending was the answer, other nations who also spent up big would have weathered the crisis better.
But Labor still thinks that spending up big and racking up debt is the way to go. It’s been the Labor way for so long, it’s become part of their DNA. And it’s a major point of difference with the Coalition.
There will be more positive policies when the Coalition officially launches our campaign this Sunday. Check out the full range of policies at www.liberal.org.au
The real and workman-like way Tony Abbott has approached this campaign, coupled with our well-thought-out and costed policies, highlights the differences between the two major parties.
The Labor team is obsessed with hating each other, while the Coalition team is focused on engaging in real policy development. Labor is racked by division, addicted to spin and can’t escape the policy disasters of the past, while the Coalition is clearly prepared to govern.
The bottom line is that this election isn’t about which face Julia choses to present and it’s not about re-inventions, gaffes or campaign strategy.
It’s about which party has the right team and the right policies to create a better Australia. Clearly the Coalition is concentrating on substance rather than spin, which is what the Australian people deserve.
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