Think globally, dump locally

Tuesday, 24 July 2007 

So does the electorate want a fresh face or not?

The Australian’s Matt Price seems to think it does when it comes to Rudd v Howard, his colleague Dennis Shanahan thinks not when he’s reading Newspoll on Costello v Howard.

Maybe all the focus on face freshness is understandable given what seems the lack of policy difference between the figures but this election is still being ultimately decided on policy. No matter how unfashionable it is to say it in Australia, behind all the chatter around grocery prices, housing, health and the economy, it is international events that are the decider in this election, especially the difference between the government and Labor on Iraq and the new global agenda on climate change. A new Labor leader may have sped this up but not altered the better fit between Labor’s agenda and the changes in global politics. That is not to say the government could not have reacted to the changes in the global agenda, but it would have required a challenger to do so and Costello is not the man.

By adopting an environmental agenda for international purposes, it does change Labor’s relation to the Greens domestically. The anti-growth agenda of the environmental lobby has never been a comfortable one for a governing party like the ALP. Taking global warming as an international issue does give Labor more room to dump the Greens on which it has relied politically for almost a quarter of a century. Rudd’s abandonment of Labor’s opposition to logging in Tasmania (while promising $8m to investigate the effects of it on climate change!) signals this shift.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Tuesday, 24 July 2007.

Filed under Political figures

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