I have deliberately avoided writing much here about the recent Australian federal election. I did, however, follow the process and ensuing events with interest.
A few days ago I read a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald by former Prime Minister Paul Keating, arguing that Howard squandered the opportunities provided to him. Obviously Keating is somewhat biased, but the article made me think about the legacy left by the outgoing Liberal government.
Even more interesting was an article I read today predicting the demise of the Liberal Party. Psychologist and author Steve Biddulph argues that:
The big lie of Liberal supremacy was economic management. In fact, they knew how to generate income, but not how to spend it. We could have been building what Europe built in this past decade – superb hospitals, bullet trains, schools and training centres, low cost public transport of luxurious quality, magnificent public housing. We pissed it all away on tax giveaways and consumer goods. On bloated homes that we will not be able to cool or heat, or sell, and cars we won’t be able to afford to drive. A party based on self interest may evaporate along with our rivers and lakes, and have no role to play in a world where we co-operate or die.
Economic management is never a good enough goal in itself; Hitler brought Germany out of The Depression. What is needed to bring Australia into the 21st century is a government who cares about more than the economy – and that seems to have been recognised by the constituents last weekend.