THE policies of Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd, chiseled out in the five-week run-up to Saturday's 2013 federal election, have less impressed, and more perplexed, voters searching for that cutting-edge, visionary idea to restore their faith in Australia’s political system.
One Stock Journal reader compared the lacklustre campaign to The Hollowmen ABC TV series.
As the two leaders and their lieutenants stood toe-to-toe - delivering minor hits and dodging knock-out blows – the analysts started to realise that ‘fully-costed’ meant ‘gloss-covered’ while ‘unfair and unaffordable’ were clearly matters for electoral consumption in a 6pm news grab: no hint of financial appraisal.
Pork-barreling replaced policy, and any facsimile of the latter was drafted ‘on the run’.
While the polls first revived the hopes of two-time Prime Minister Rudd, they have left him wanting in the past two weeks.
Supporters of Mr Abbott, in contrast, believe he has done enough to force a change of government.
He has obviously benefited from solid electioneering and excellent spin.
The Australian Greens, without their spiritual leader and an empty war chest, have floated through the campaign with messages in bottles bobbing around a deserted island.
Regional voters in South Australia, according to an exclusive Fairfax Media poll published in Stock Journal last week, will – with possibly one exception – keep Liberal members in power.
But the make-up of the Senate and the success of minor parties in the eastern states may be a small indicator to how the next generation will vote at future elections.
The 18 to 25 year olds are no longer joined at the hip to parties of their forebears and get their information from a range of online platforms.
And they also resent being referred to, cumulatively, as THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE: a tag that assumes politicians are addressing a single unit – or virtual compliant mass - which owes allegiance to whatever mediocrity they are peddling.
From Whitlam, Hawke and Fraser to Keating and Howard, leaders who will be remembered took the electorates on a journey – at this election we've been taken for a ride.