Behind the blather


In the lead-up to the federal election, here's a guide to what's really happening in the Liberal and Labor camps, as well as anecdotes from the Socialist Alliance's campaign trail.

Special interests

Seventy per cent of Labor's front bench are union officials when only 20 per cent of the workforce is unionised, scream the Liberal Party ads.

But 60% cent of the Coalition front bench are lawyers, when only 0.4 per cent of the work force are lawyers, replies the blog <>.

Club Troppo explains: "Applying some mathematics to aid the comparison we are able to see how unrepresentative the two front benches actually are.

ALP Unrepresentativeness = 70/20 = 3.5.
Liberal Unrepresentativeness = 60/0.4 = 150.
Unrepresentativeness ratio = 150/3.5 = 42.

In other words the Liberals are 42 times more unrepresentative than Labor."

Coalition bracket creeps

On the Centre for Policy Development website Ian McAuley has analysed the Coalition's tax cut bonanza, based on Treasury's
assumption of a 2.75% inflation rate over the next four years (see <mcauley>).

McAuley shows that Howard's "tax cuts" of $34 billion roughly equal the cost of indexing tax thresholds over the same period.

Income tax revenue is now $120 billion. If tax thresholds are not indexed and assuming an inflation rate of 2.75% and no increase in real wages income tax revenue will rise by around $3.3 billion in 2007-08.

Over four years this effect would amount to $33 billion.

Will Kevin Rudd expose this scam or would he, like Hawke and Keating before him, use it just as much? Ask your nearest Labor candidate.

In a nutshell

Susan Austin, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Denison, summed up the alliance's approach to global warming with these words to the October 10 "Great Climate Change Policy Forum" at the University of Tasmania:

"Major changes like women being able to vote or bringing troops out of the Vietnam war came about not because one of the major parties changed their mind and departed from the status quo voluntarily, but because protesters led a groundswell, grassroots movement for change.

"In fact Dr Mark Diesendorf, one of Australia's key environmental scientists, says in his latest book, 'With human induced climate change accelerating, non-violent social movements are the only means of effective action left. Individual actions and voting once every three to four years, while necessary, are not sufficient to bring about the radical changes that are needed urgently.

"So we are active in building a broad, independent mass movement for change.

"We are also different to the other parties because we believe that we simply can't leave it up to the capitalist market. Even Nicholas Stern, author of the British government-commissioned study on the effects of climate change on the economy, admitted that the capitalist market has failed completely on the issue of preventing climate change. For us to avert a climate crisis, the government must step in and reorganise the economy along sustainable lines. This will create jobs, open up more opportunities for innovation and lead to a better quality of life for us all.

"The Socialist Alliance has concrete policies which can be implemented straight away, but we believe that in the long run, we need a different system with much more community participation and control, that can put the needs of people and the planet before the business of making profits."