ELECTION PROMISES... COSTS BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS
For many years now the electorate has taken a fairly cynical view of party political election promises. There has been a sort of expectation that at best they may be fulfilled to some degree but that was about as high as confidence got.
So it came as no surprise when Shadow Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett made the statement to a 2UE reporter, Steve Price, in answer to a question relating to the "me too" syndrome to which Garrett replied, "Once we get in, we'll just change all that". Now the circumstances may have been "relaxed" and Peter Garrett may have just made a loose off the cuff remark but we all know many a true word has been said in jest.
It seems that this is not the first time that Mr. Garrett has revealed this potential level of duplicity within his party. It would seem that during an interview between Greens Leader Bob Brown and journalist Charles Wooley in October, Mr. Garrett alluded to a similar sentiment. The Prime Minister has admittedly been putting his own spin on the October event but no one is denying that it happened and that it is capable of such an interpretation is itself worrying.
This introduces a complete new level of concerns regarding election 'promises'. Not only is one policy area under question, but now the whole of the election policy proposals could be nothing more than one great fraudulent or incomplete statement of alleged intent designed for the specific purpose of hoodwinking the electorate.
"Vote for me because look at our wonderful policies", is taking on a whole new meaning, and yes, we should have a look, not only at the "policies" but also those who are promoting them, and of course, their history. Once a party is elected, usually on glib generalisations, there is no recourse for the voter. If an elected party does not follow it's promises, too bad. There's no opportunity for recall.
So maybe we should abandon the whole concept of the 'promise' or policy. Cast it from our minds as the real question boils down to whom will you give your primary vote to represent you in Canberra.
Neither major party has a good track record in this regard. From Gough Whitlam's now rather hollow "It's Time" through to the "recession we had to have" and the fire sale of our major taxpayer-owned assets, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, the overdone Work Choices. None of these things do we readily recall as election promises. But they have been the major agents of change in our time.
In the meantime fuel prices are out of control, debt both public and private is soaring, interest rates are rising and our balance of trade is in a terrible state. Our communities are destabilised, there seems to be a distinct lack of moral direction that runs not only through the population, but percolates from the top down in both business and government.
In times that hold so much promise and potential, surely we can manage our situation better and invest the gains for the good of the community as a whole. We don't have to be in this position as we are in these prosperous times. And perhaps if our political managers looked after the country and the people as well as they looked after themselves we could in a far better position than we are.
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