The piece below is reprinted from the Australian journal Marxist Left Review #4, Winter 2012; it presents a damning indictment of the Rudd and Gillard Labor Party governments across the ditch and those who propped them up.
by Diane Fieldes
Less than five years after the landslide defeat of the hated Howard government in 2007, Labor is so unpopular that the return of the Liberals to office seems assured. By the 2010 election Labor was already close to losing office. Despite the much-vaunted success of the Australian economy since the start of the global economic crisis, both parties’ 2010 election policies made clear their commitment to the capitalist class’s desire for pre-emptive austerity measures (cuts to public spending, a budget surplus) while business profits were propped up. Both parties went to the 2010 election committed to a reactionary consensus: undermining workers’ rights while kowtowing to the ultra-wealthy, continuing the slaughter in Afghanistan, locking up refugees behind razor wire, and continuing the genocide of Aboriginal people.
The result of Labor’s 2010 election campaign was that the ultra-reactionary Tony Abbott came within a whisker of winning. The ALP could not form government without the support of the Greens’ single House of Representatives member, Adam Bandt, and three independents – the ex-Nationals Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and former Green Andrew Wilkie. Some on the left welcomed the formation of this minority government as a positive outcome. It supposedly presented an opportunity for progressive advance. The day after the election long-time left wing activist Tim Anderson declared:
“Unexpectedly… a great opportunity for social change has emerged… The August election was a strong statement against… shallow electoral politics… there is room for a range of new voices, including the Greens, including the maverick MPs, but also including all those of us who have been disillusioned with conventional politics.”[i]
Prominent Greens member (and former Democrat senator) Andrew Bartlett, argued that:
“this new parliament is likely to be Read the rest of this entry »