Last Saturday Australians elected the Australian Labour Party (ALP) led by Kevin Rudd to power; the result was the 3rd biggest swing against a sitting government since 1949 during a period of relative prosperity. The environmentally minded Greens also slightly increased their vote and will hold the balance of power in the Senate, our upper house of legislative review which reviews Bills passed in the lower House, the House of Represenatives.
Work choices with its perceived workplace inequity, an incomplete approach to climate change, education (although this is primarily a state matter) and ongoing participation in an unpopular war (Rudd has promised staged withdrawal from Iraq) were the key preference areas which generated a national 6% swing to Labour. Prime Minister John Howard became only the second prime Minister in Australian history to lose his own seat in Bennelong to former ABC presenter and Journalist Maxine McKew. Click here for her website. Prime Minister Rudd played tribute to Howard’s 33 years of public service in his victory speech. The most immediate changes will include the winding back of Work Choices, and ratifying Kyoto. Consultation will also begin immediately with representatives of indigenous groups on the most appropriate form of wording to an apology to be extended to the Australian aborigines.
Business does not see it as business as usual but rather as opportunity to benefit from improved co operative efforts between the States, which are now also all governed by Labour Governments. There will be no one left to blame over Commonwealth versus state funding and infrastructure bottlenecks, Heath funding and Education. The newly elected ALP will require the support of the Greens Party in the upper house to pass their intended legislation which will be slowed down to a trickle as they extract concessions in line with their own policy biases.
I think it is the passing of an era. Senior previous Ministers of the coalition have resigned and the new contenders for leadership in opposition such as Malcolm Turnbill,- click here for his website (who actively sought to have Kyoto ratified within his own party) seek a change in policy away from their ideological factions which have proven to be unpopular with voters.