Its fashionable to dismiss Julia Gillard’s Government as a failure – the opinion polls provide some (largely uninformed) backing for this view but I am more sympathetic than most to her. Gillard is an intelligent woman and that is a positive in the face of widespread misogyny in at least the Australian male electorate. She is also a much more intelligent and able politician than Kevin Rudd who remains a posturing, hyperactive dill. It amazes me that people have such poor short-term memories about the administrative failures of Rudd. Gillard is also a preferred alternative to the amoral Tony Abbott who has a single objective in politics – to be elected. His total hypocrisy is revealed today by his rejection of the Bill to authorise offshore processing of illegal migrants. The Malaysia solution might well prove successful and this would close a successful line of attack on the government to this foolish man.
Gillard has done many good things:
- Most importantly, Gillard has introduced a carbon tax which helps Australians deal with their carbon pollution in a cost effective way. This is a major reform and quibbles about its precise form are just that, quibbles.
- She has pushed through a weakened revised mining tax reform which provides a somewhat better tax revenue outcome for Australians from the resource sector. The clown Abbott doesn’t even offer this limited reform. Clearly Mark 1 Henry would have been an even better reform.
- The prior expenditure commitment reform on the poker machines will limit the social tragedy of problem gambling.
- Plain packaging legislation will reduce deaths and disability from cigarette smoking and is a reform that might trigger more effective global responses to the legal carcinogen suppliers.
- The fiscal stimulus probably helped secure a muted Australian response to the GFC. The Coalition attack this policy but in government my guess is they would have done much the same.