Because of the appalling climate change policies of the Coalition I will probably vote Labor in the next Federal election. Unfortunately I might be backing a losing team but I won’t vote for the Liberals while people of Tony Abbott’s ilk are leading the party. It’s a difficult choice for me because I have long supported the Liberal Party and I regard the Labor Party at the Federal level as a poor first choice. If Malcolm Turnbull led the Liberals my allegiances would switch in a flash back to the Liberals – so too, astonishingly, would those of social democrats like John Quiggin.
I think the Labor Party has in many ways become a corrupted version of the Liberal Party where aspirational party hacks without a trace of idealism or conviction see party politics as a way of maximising the economic value of their limited skill sets. Traditional claimed allegiances with the working class provide and hack-party-cum-trade union links provide a mechanism for those who would otherwise probably go nowhere in life to achieve some economic status and most notably power. The economic status is not that wonderful unless you can use your political connections to wrangle favours for the ultra wealthy private sector.
As I have discussed often in the past Labor has long-term links with the gambling industry in Australia (here, here, here, here). Australia is perhaps the most lucrative gambling market in the world per capita as an astonishing graph by Nick Gruen points out – we gamble on average annually about $1300 per adult. Given that many do not gamble at all this makes it almost self-evident that the costs of extreme ‘problem’ gambling are enormous. The main culprit responsible for Australian gambling problems are the pokies – they are a form of repetitive small stake gambling that offers titillating short term excitement and an undue compulsion for many to continue gambling until they are cleaned out. This makes the (Labor Party-supported) moves by Andrew Wilkie to force gamblers to set prior limits on how much they will lose on the pokies a sensible reform.
These moves are estimated by Merrill Lynch to potentially cost the Crown Casino group between $36-$145 million in their first year of operation. Crown have responded by hiring Labor’s ex National Secretary, Karl Bitar, to ‘manage’ its relations with the Labor Government. He has a pretty good reputation for lobbying – he knows all the inside information on which buttons to produce within Labor in order to gain the few votes necessary to overturn or moderate the Wilkie reforms – and is incredibly powerful – he was instrumental in toppling Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister.
Yes I’ll vote Labor because of the Liberal Party’s lack of morality over the climate change issue. But I despise many aspects of the modern Labor Party and its sleazy aspirational leadership. (375)