Friday, August 24, 2007

Howard vs Rudd - Some Differences Appear

As we get closer to the 2007 Federal Election election, voters a re now starting to see some differences in language and concepts used by both John Howard and Kevin Rudd. To soem extent, Kevin Rudd has been coerced into highlighting differences, as Government ministers ahve lined up to say that either Kevin Rudd has no differeences, so stick with us; or tried to assert that a Labor Governemnt should scare everyone.

On the 20-August, the John Howard outlines in both a press release, and in an "Australia Rising" speech, nailed some of his colours to the mast. Others have come from his public and parliamentary comments.

John Howard wants:

  • a Nationalist government - that should worry many Australians. Nationalism was a concept based on ethnic and religious intolerance and led to the formation of the nations of Germany and Italy, causing of some of the most dramatic and divisive events of the 20th century

  • greater concentration of power (to held by himself, and fitting with his Nationalist ideas)
  • more takeovers without consultation
  • actions to be "outcome focused" - (subtext: never mind due process, cooperation or consultation)
  • further economic reform. (WorkChoices 2)
  • Nuclear Power - however, has has given a (non-core) promise that communities can have a referendum on whether they want one in their suburb/area. I'm sure Ziggy Switowski would vote for one in his 'backyard' - he recommended them, after all.
  • "All the way with GWB"
  • Climate change - as long as big business and mining interests can make money from it.
Kevin Rudd wants
  • greater cooperation with and among states, especially regarding hospitals. Indeed he has stated that he will give the States just 18 months to work with him to fix the problems. If they can't or won't he will take a proposal for a Federal Government takeover of public hospitals to the 2010 election.
  • Economic and IR reform (the proposal is to remove the excessively adverse effects of WorkChoices on women, families and young people)
  • a withdrawal of troops from Iraq at a "convenient time" - while much of Mr Rudd's policy is ideal, it is likely that Australia will be asked to make a greater commitment to Iraq, given the US major escalation of troop numbers and a number of other countries (Britain, among them) looking to reduce their involvement in what has become a mire. Forcing a country to have democracy when it was artificially created from historically warring parties and has been ruled by warlords is proving particularly troublesome.
  • Action on climate change - here he is treading carefully, knowing the interests involved - including the use of "clean coal" technologies.
John Howard would also like Peter Costello to stay in the background: leadership talk by others unsettles him.