No laughing matter

August 5, 1992

No laughing matter

edit = Q: What's the difference between Joan Kirner and a rottweiler? A: The rottweiler would probably leave Jeff Kennett for dead in the coming Victorian elections.

edit = Kirner vs Kennett: the Victorian elections, scheduled for October, would be a joke if the outcome weren't so serious for so many people. Labor governments, state and federal, have plunged Australia into the present recession, which has hit Victoria harder than any other state. Of all Australian governments, state and federal, Kirner's is the least likely to survive an election.

edit = Kirner isn't entirely to blame for this. She inherited a lot of problems when she took over from John Cain, who was certainly more culpable than Kirner in the financial crashes and other economic disasters that accompanied Victoria's slide into recession. But she certainly hasn't done much to rectify the problems created by right-wing Labor governments. In fact, she has continued on the same course, deepening the push to privatisation, particularly in the power industry.

edit = Labor governments held down wages throughout the '80s, promising prosperity in return for temporary sacrifice. Now, in the early '90s, the pay-off is mass unemployment, deep recession — and electoral defeat. Labor can't avoid responsibility for the economic situation; its policies have been disastrous. Millions of Victorians know this, and will vote against Labor because of it.

edit = But who will they vote for? Most will probably reluctantly vote Liberal because they see no alternative, and despite their being led by the Australian champion political stumblebum, Jeff Kennett. Unfortunately, the choice likely to be made by most Victorians is no solution; the Liberals will seriously worsen the problems facing the state by giving business even freer rein to plunder its resources.

edit = The Liberals, federally and in most states, know they will never have better chances than in the next round of elections, and they have their program ready. Much of it is based on the extreme right blueprint presently being imposed on New Zealand society, at enormous social cost.

edit = Will alternative candidates emerge? Almost certainly there will be some: the Democrats, although badly split in Victoria, will probably offer their more liberal brand of capitalist politics. It's also likely there will be progressive independents and some left and socialist candidates. All of these are worthy of support against the Liberals and Labor. Unfortunately, when it comes to preferences, which will very likely decide the government, there's less choice: Labor is clearly the lesser evil.

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