From a friend who I feel expresses the sentiment well:
Last ditch election pitch…
Wherein I try to convince you that, no matter what your political beliefs, you should put John Howard last.
Starting from the left and moving rightwards:
Even if you believe that the political system is inherently corrupt and a device for manufacturing consent, that a change of governing party only changes things at the margins (and you’ll get no argument on either from me), you should still vote, and still preference Labor over the Liberals. Why? Because corrupt as the system is, the Liberal Party under John Howard has done nothing but corrupt it further. While democracy may be flawed, there are far worse things out there, and Howard moves us towards them. And electing Labor will change things only marginally? Certainly – but it will, perhaps, arrest some of the radical rightwards currents Howard has fostered in this country.
If you’re a traditional social democrat, the choice is pretty obvious… do you choose the party that has debased the institutions of social democracy, or the party that needs those institutions to survive?
If you don’t care, and you’re just worried about the economy and your interest rates, consider this: since the introduction of the floating dollar, the dismantling of tariff barriers and the entrenchment of Reserve Bank independence, the Federal Government has virtually no say over the macroeconomy. On interest rates, the measures introduced by the Liberals – negative gearing and the first homebuyers’ grant – have caused the sort of real estate boom that leads, eventually to a hike in rates. These days, governments have ceded much of their power to the forces of international capitalism. You don’t get a vote for them – but you do get to vote on how your tax money is distributed here. Schools and hospitals, anyone?
If you’re a classical conservative, surely you should be worried that the Howard government has run down the institutions that keep society running in an orderly fashion. They have disrespected the courts, attempted to override the constitution (the first border protection bill), ignored the Westminster conventions of ministerial responsibility, and politicised the public service and intelligence agencies so that they no longer provide advice without fear or favour. How can this be good for the nation?
If you’re one of those libertarians, the fact that the Howard government is the highest taxing government in Australian history should give you pause. And what is the government doing in bed with people like Family First, who want to regulate your behaviour in private? For all his talk of choice, Howard is one of the most paternalistic, nanny-state interventionist PMs this country has ever had.
Okay, rant over.
It’s sooooo important that we, as a people of a fair, honest and decent country, get John Howard out. I can’t express the disappointment I’ll feel if we, as a nation, cannot see past his fear-mongering and lies, to vote for change. I can only hope. Use your vote well…