What to Expect When You're Not Expecting

Don’t waste your time wondering what the Labor and Coalition machines plan on doing to get your support over the next twelve or so months leading up to the 2013 federal election.

It’s going to be what the major parties don’t do which will decide this one.

Expect little from your two major parties the next federal election in the way of policy or progressive debate, as it will be decided by a handful of issues which have been deliberately designed to result in nothing other than an election result.

Striving for good public policy and social progress is a much more difficult and politically risky way of winning an election and, as a result, is not part of Labor or the Coalition’s agenda at all.

For it is the myth of the rational voter that has destroyed this government and the next government’s ability to implement a legitimate carbon taxation system and mining super-profits tax. It is the systematic cultivation and subsequent abuse of the irrational voter that has prevented any ethical live animal export policy or legal immigration policy from being heard.

Even if Joe Hockey could cry a canal of crocodile tears to carry the boats back to wherever they came from, it would still be in his party’s best interests for him not to.  A meaningful resolution on boat people is not being sought because it is not actually in the interests of the opposition to ‘stop the boats’ any time soon. Stopping the boats has never been about stopping boats!

Working together to improve the conditions of those forcibly displaced wouldn’t be politically rewarding for either party. If the opposition has the power to block policy, it will, and based on the law of averages it’ll be good for their polling. It’s easier to make people angry than happy; it’s easier to accommodate a lot of angry peoples’ various concerns with blanket blocking and brick-walling than to produce a policy which the majority of people agree on.

Furthermore, establishing that the party in power doesn’t actually have the power to pass policy before being destroyed or discarded has done the coalition wonders.

The carbon tax, the mining tax, Juliar Gillard, and all of the other issues that will dominate the lexicon of the 2013 election are going to continue to be dealt with in the most destructive way possible: the issues are being used as weapons, not treated as problems that need to be solved by our elected representatives.

Framing complex issues ideologically is phase two of the democratic hijacking, whereby parties use the implacable voters’ notions of more basic fundamentals to create an us v them climate. Two examples:

1. “Real negotiation is should we have a tax or shouldn’t we have a tax” (Clive Palmer).  This sentiment eventuated in the replacement of Kevin Rudd, after the mining magnates’ campaign against taxation resulted in a public opinion landslide.

2. ‘The Coalition’s position for at least a decade has been that “we will determine who comes to our country and the circumstances in which they come”’ (Tony Abbott press release 19 September 2011)

We see this tactic used just as effective across all issues. If you support boat peoples’ right to asylum you are anti-jobs; if you cap industry with a super profits tax you are anti-free market.

So who will win the next election? Without a leadership shuffle, the Mad Monk’s got it in the bag.

All I can tell you for certain is what not to expect: rational political discourse, fact-based policy, public opinion-based policy, or any bi-partisan cooperation.