A cost indeed, but perhaps one worth paying

October 25, 2007

Over the past few days, I’ve had many discussions with friends and colleagues (and some thoughtful banter with Weez over at MGK) about how Kevin Rudd is just a whiter shade of Howard and that he is just copying most of the Coalition’s policies. Granted, Rudd isn’t your progressive saint and he’s a conservative by any self-respecting progressive’s standards. About half of the people I’ve spoken to think that Rudd is playing the game, doing what he has to do and beating Howard at his own game and will be able to shape his own agenda once he has beaten Howard. The other half are of the opinion that Rudd is indeed not pulling any punches and he is out there showing himself here and now (an opinion put forth by Ross Gittins in The Herald yesterday).

I’m probably more in the second camp than the first, but I’m not completely in either. However, I’ve thrown my support behind Rudd over the last few months (as you may have noticed).  Look, he’s most definitely not perfect and he isn’t your progressive pin-up boy. But, it’s got the to point now where Howard must go and Rudd is our only hope. WorkChoices is the immediate and most obvious reason why this is so. Whether or not Labor is going to scrap key elements of it will hopefully be a negotiating point between them and a Senate with the Greens (or the one in a million shot of the Democrats rising from the dead) controlling the balance of power after the election. However, for this to happen, the election needs to be fought and fought hard. This is it – this is the moment! This election is crunch time for the Australian people and the reality is there is Howard and then there is the better alternative. How much better this alternative is can be discussed after the downfall of Howard – and that downfall is most certainly not a foregone conclusion.

Whether you think Rudd is a tiny bit better than Howard or much better at this point in time is irrelevant. That he is better at all is the issue. He’s not Howard. We must first get him over the line. This should be the primary objective for progressives. More than anything else, and yes even at the cost of having Rudd as our PM, I want that war-mongering, lying, conniving, rights-robbing, power-hungry, snivelling rodent Howard out of my parliament house. That is the issue my friends – that is the issue.


  1. hey Dave, it’s Kate O here.

    I have been saying this for about six years!… I suppose you probably have too, though. 🙂

    It seems completely obvious to me, but then, it always has.

  2. Hi Dave,

    I like your space and enthusiasm, well done and keep ’em coming!

    As to the two schools of thoughts on Labor’s tactics that you refer to, I think it’s possible that the truth lies with both. Sure there may be an element of me-tooism on some Coalition spending commitments but on economic policy I’d say Rudd both believes in the stance and wants to stick to Howard to minimise criticism on ‘economic management’.

    This does all beg the question though, who is copying who? Despite Howard’s pretence to neoclassical economics as Fraser’s Treasurer in the early 1980s it was Labor that gave birth to an open, market-based economy where ‘deregulation’ and ‘privatisation’ were the buzz words of the era. Meanwhile they delivered major tax cuts to middle income earners by staging a fall in the top marginal income tax rate from 60% to 47% and broadening the tax base with FBT and CGT.

    Howard has been coasting and to Labor’s great detriment, successfully capturing the economic reform turf. It wasn’t always so. Nor shall it always be because the winds of change are a gathering…

  3. I for one am looking forward to being disappointed with Rudd, makes a nice change from being consumed by anger with Howard 😉

  4. If you want to assure your vote will not aid re-electing HoWARd yet still hand the balance of power to The Greens, vote Greens 1 and Labor 2. I’m also thinking about Greens 1, Democrats 2 and Labor 3. Would have a similar effect.

    I’m already disappointed with KRudd… but like I say over here, you can’t score unless you have the ball

  5. […] an immense imperative at present on the part of many Australian voters to oust HoWARd and his Liberals. Lots of people are considering their preference options to achieve […]

  6. I’m inclined to agree. Rudd may very well be a whiter shade of Howard, but there are a few things on which he HAS to deliver. Forget about education, broadband and economics (all the winning points, which are ultimately pretty hollow).

    Internationally, Rudd will not be the ass-kisser that Howard was to George Bush. Rudd speaks Mandarin (??!!) so he’s going to be quite far up China’s economic ass (maybe). WorkChoices – he’s going to do something with it. Plus there’s the whole Kyoto thing.

    But there’s been little mention from both party leaders about civil liberties, low income earners, welfare, concrete plans for Iraq and a whole bunch of other issues that might matter more than tax cuts and hip pockets.

    All in all, I don’t know how drastic the effects will be if there is a change in government. But my 1 vote is going to the Greens, 2 for Labor, Liberal last (even below Family First).

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