IT is difficult to criticise Julia Gillard’s decision to announce the date of the election, even if it many months away.
After all, it is no different from having fixed terms of office for a government.
It is an interesting tactic. She is obviously trying to ensure that the Coalition won’t be able to announce policies without some costing to them - but it would take a few miracles for Labor to win.
The Labor label has become toxic, particularly in NSW where the party has apparently been endorsing candidates for election who have obviously entered politics, not for the good of the country but to feed their own greed.
And it’s not only Labor. Both sides of politics have produced candidates who seem to have no problem using public money for their own purposes. Surely the voters should be assured that candidates endorsed by any party have a history of honesty.
In this election voters are given the choice of two leaders, neither of whom is much liked by the voters. The most liked potential leaders on both sides of Parliament, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, are not their party’s leaders and that is strange.
This is an election that Julia Gillard is unlikely to win, in fact Labor could lose seats in all states but, although the Labor label has been severely tarnished by revelations of large scale corruption in NSW by so-called Labor power brokers and by the actions of at least one union leader – it is also an election that Tony Abbott could lose.
He has a few months to rid himself of the image of a destructive and negative leader and to show he is prepared to negotiate.
The whole art of government is the ability to negotiate, to give ground, to build bridges and to work for the future. Mr Abbott has a huge task in front of him if he is to show that he is not a completely negative politician.
The Coalition also has a big problem in that in it has probably used all its ammunition in its determination to beat Labor. The Coalition, and indeed most of the voters, really believed that Labor would crumble within the first few months of taking power after the last elections. No one really believed it would run full term and because of that belief Mr Abbott’s team used up all its bullets to force an early election. Has it any ammunition left to fight an election campaign that will last many months? But what other options do voters have apart from voting for the major parties? The Greens, without their popular leader Bob Brown, would need a far more positive image and to ease down on their emotional but not very realistic policies on boat people.
It would be sad if the voters were to go to polls asking themselves “Which is the least bad choice to run our country?”