Thursday, November 22, 2007

Election: What will happen and why?

Professor Brian Costar busts some myths about Australian elections.

The core concepts are that polling in Australia is reasonably accurate - particularly because Australia has compulsory voting.

Further: those that haven't yet made up their mind - two days before the election. In the current context, it can't be said the undecided will all fall the same way. In fact, there's every reason to expect those people will split 50-50 (plus or minus) when they mark the ballot paper.

Some final words from Paul Keating (full text here):

"The principal reason the public should take the opportunity to kill off the Howard Government has less to do with broken promises on interest rates or even its draconian Work Choices industrial laws, and everything to do with restoring a moral basis to our public life.

Without this, the nation has no standard to rely upon, no claim that can be believed, not even when the grave step of going to war is being considered. When truth is up for grabs, everything is up for grabs.

Cynicism and deceitfulness have been the defining characteristics of John Howard and his Government. They were even brazen enough to oversee the corruption of a United Nations welfare program. And when they were found out, not one of them accepted ministerial responsibility. Not Alexander Downer, not Mark Vaile and certainly not Howard. What they were doing was letting the cockies get their wheat sold through the AWB, while turning a blind eye to the AWB's unscrupulous behaviour - illegally funding a regime Howard was arguing was so bad it had to be changed by force.

Howard took us into the disastrous Gulf War on the back of two lies. One, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, capable of threatening the Middle East and Western Europe; the other, that Howard was judiciously weighing whether to commit Australian forces against an evolving situation. We now know he had committed our forces to the Americans all along.

If the Prime Minister cannot be believed, who in the political system is to be believed?

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