The no-leadership debate

No one won the so-called Leaders’ Debate on July 27 — not even the “worms”. It was no debate at all, and showed that people and the environment will lose with either the ALP or the Coalition in government.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott hasn’t convincingly shed his climate change denialism and his promise that Work Choices is “dead, buried and cremated” is even less credible.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard presided over Work Choices-lite and shares with Abbott an irresponsible determination to avoid serious action on climate change.

Then there is the ugly bi-partisan policy of scapegoating desperate refugees fleeing war-torn countries that Australia has helped invade and occupy.

And if that isn’t bad enough, in the week following the debate, the major parties began a new race to the bottom — this time about company tax.

Decades of putting corporate profits first has created a global economic mess and accelerated the global environmental crisis. But Gillard and Abbott want to continue down that disastrous path.

These “leaders” represent two parties that slavishly serve the corporate elite. The big end of town is happy to chip in a few million dollars to keep up the pretence that the people have a real choice in the coming elections.

Damon Kitney in the July 30 Australian said: “On Wednesday evening, as the rain fell outside, the heirs to Richard Pratt's multi-billion-dollar fortune — Alex and Heloise Waislitz — opened their Toorak mansion to 20 of Melbourne's brightest young business people.

“The special guests were Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier John Brumby. And the price of admission? $5000 a head.

“Next Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister will be the guest of honour for more than 400 of Melbourne’s corporate elite as they gather at the ritzy Sofitel Hotel at the top end of Collins Street.

“Guests from the city’s blue-chip corporations, legal and accounting firms, and its richest families, will pay up to $10,000 a table for the privilege ...

“In Melbourne and other cities across the country, Ms Gillard and her most senior ministers are being offered up to the highest bidders in big business.”

The partisan Murdoch flagship, while highlighting Gillard’s “hobnobbing with the big end of town”, conceded “Tony Abbott is doing the same in the rush to fill the campaign coffers”.

Meanwhile, working-class families are shouldering large cost of living rises despite a low official inflation rate rise of 0.6% for the June quarter of 2010 announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on July 28.

Over the 12 months to the June quarter, the ABS reported electricity was up 18.2%, education costs 5.7%, house prices 3.9%, rents 4.4%, hospital and medical services up 6.7%, dental services up 4.0%, bus and train fares 2.6%, petrol 7.6%, other motoring charges 7.7%, and bank charges 6.4%.

Even the price of beer has gone up 6.1%!

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