Elections these days seem to loom further and further out from polling day. We’ve been in (federal) election mode for months. So it is, we get the chance to observe the various amount of, and techniques, used to push the party line on voters. In PR, if you’re following issues, it’s called tracking.
At present, the common denominator is the environment. The Howard Government has suddenly decided after 11 years in power, that the environment is an issue. Never mind it had been told many years before about the effects of global warming on the Murray-Darling river system.
Howard has never one to shy away from using “fear” (I call it uncertainty) tactics to make people believe that at a time of uncertainty they shouldn’t risk an untested party in government. What bunkum. The country would still function without Howard and Co and the helm. That’s what we have a Public Service for.
In the past few weeks (since March ’07), Howard has suddenly discovered we might run out of food because there’s no water in our rivers – and of them. Australian of the Year Dr Tim Flannery, and others, have warned of this for years.
This is one issue that needs to be tracked; particularly how Howard handles it. Apart from Labor, his main concern might be his new Water Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who right put his foot in it this week when he said the government didn’t need Victoria’s participation in a national water scheme, yet was immediately contradicted by Howard, who said we did need the “Mexicans”. With Ministers like that, who needs an Opposition?
Other issues worthy of tracking include the nuclear power debate and workplace reforms. You can bet there’s some serious lobbying going on by uranium miners. The unions have yet to show their full hand on Work Choice legislation. And let’s not forget the Iraq War (we’ve already had the government preparing us for casualties).
However, I believe the biggest issue is the environment. This is tied to the greenhouse debate and incorporates logging, mining, vehicle pollution and waste production. At the end of the day, other issues can be discussed, but if we haven’t got any water, it won’t matter much about anything else.