Victorian Voters Stuff It Up
Tuesday, 3 December 2002
Alan Woods has offered his considered evaluation of the Victorian state election in the Oz. Alan sounds a cautionary note, saying that now that Steve Bracks finds himself in the position of "the dog that caught the car" the restraint that the Legislative Council imposed on "the wilder fringes of Labor" places Victoria in peril from (shudder) the Greens and (shudder) the trade unions.
Alan takes Labor to task on two fronts - the proposed reforms of the Legislative Council, including the introduction of preferential voting (to replace the current 22 provinces each based on 4 Legislative Assembly electorates) which runs the risk of handing the balance of power in the upper house to (shudder) the Greens and the Bracks' government's labour market agenda which "is driven by Labor's close connections with (shudder) the unions" (my shudder). Under the guise of protecting lower paid workers - such as outworkers in the clothing industry the governemnt is (according to Alan) promoting (shudder) union control of industry in a way that can only damage the state in the long term by driving investment out of the State. Worse, the government could be pushed into re-introducing a state industrial tribunal with "all the regulations and interference that goes with it" (syncope).
Finally, waiting in the wings, is the awful prospect of a return to the worst days of (wait for it) the Cain-Kirner government:
There are plenty of disgruntled Labor activists who think the Bracks Government owes them. As the Cain-Kirner years showed, once policy drift starts it can be impossible to stop, even if it takes voters a while to react.
It makes you wonder what the hell the 8% of the Victorian electorate who swung to Labor were thinking, doesn't it? Perhaps we allowed our distaste for the handling of the Dean affair and the obvious fact that the Liberal Party appeared to be out of touch with their own natural allies (such as the corporations who dissociated themselves from the Liberal scare campaign on the very issue of business investment in the state) to momentarily blind us to the political dangers of allowing the Labor party to gain control of the upper house. Unlike the Liberal Party, who know how to use unchecked political power wisely and for the benefit of the whole community, as they so ably demonstrated during the Kennett-Stockdale years.