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Federal Election 2013 – The Final Countdown

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The first week of the 2013 Federal Election campaign has been as fiery and lively – and as full of surprises – as anybody would have expected.

The campaign slogan battle is between ‘A New Way’ (ALP) versus ‘Choose Real Change’ (Coalition).  Both three-word slogans, but neither as good as Clint Eastwood’s ‘Make My Day’.  Music aficionados would much rather prefer ‘Love My Way’ (The Psychedelic Furs) or ‘Something Better Change (‘The Stranglers’).

The Coalition, however, has a couple of back-up slogans – ‘A Stronger Australia’ and ‘A Better Future’.  Personally, I would have gone with ‘The Final Countdown’ (Europe).

Back to the campaign, and there has been punch and counterpunch on the state of the economy, interest rates, the carbon tax (aka the ETS), costing of election promises, the NBN, support of the car industry, reductions in company tax, unemployment, asylum seekers, the GST, the NDIS, and the Better Schools program

More interesting has been the resurrection of Peter Beattie to contest Forde (Qld); the candid photo of Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese having a beer with disgraced MP Craig Thomson in a Sydney bar; gaffes by candidates (both experienced and inexperienced, with a One Nation candidate claiming Islam is a country); the PM and the Opposition Leader wearing caps and funny hats, launching new candidates, promising new promises, kissing babies and, in an interesting new trend, kissing hair (Tony Abbott’s lips missed the baby and locked on the mother’s locks in one celebrated incident).

One big gap in the policy battlefield so far is health policy, with The Greens the only players with a rebadged AMA policy for an independent health panel for asylum seekers in offshore detention.  All credit to them for recognising and promoting good AMA policy.

There are still four-and-a-bit weeks to go, so we remain confident that Tanya Plibersek and Peter Dutton will share the spotlight soon with their leaders to say something serious to shake up the health policy battle in this election.

We want health policy, and we want it now.

Stay tuned.

John Flannery