Who to vote for?


Never have I written something with a shorter shelf life. By this time Sunday, this column will be out of date.

But, do you think that's going to stop me writing a "who to vote for" article? Of course not... although it came close.

Endorsing a particular candidate or a particular political party over another is a feeling with few similarities.

You’re in effect saying, “what this party/politician thinks is what I think too”, so it allows observers to, in a manner of speaking, put you in a political pigeonhole.

I’m acutely aware that most people who know me have already thrust me into a political pigeonhole – they reckon I’m a Liberal Party supporter who, while not massively right wing, is definitely right of centre.

You know what?  They’re right – about the second part.

I am right of centre but I wouldn’t call myself a Liberal Party supporter.  I voted Labor in 2001 and 2004 because the local Labor candidate was far better than the local Liberal candidate (I was in the electorate of Canberra).

In 2007 though I changed to North Sydney, Joe Hockey’s electorate and, you know what?  I still voted Labor.  Their candidate was Mike Bailey the former weatherman who I think is an absolute champion.

In fact, in the 2007 campaign, Mike was campaigning at my local bus stop and, being a rainy day, I decided to ask him for a prediction on what the weather would do that day.

And you know what, he delivered! Mike launched into a comprehensive weather report and even refernced a 'high pressure system'. It was outstanding. Yep, that's how easy my 2007 vote was to win over.

This year though, I’ll be voting for Joe Hockey.  Heck, I don’t even know who the Labor candidate is!  She’s been invisible.  But, since this is a *cough* national *cough* website, I should make a national endorsement. 

This time, I’m endorsing Tony Abbott as Prime Minister over Julia Gillard.

(Let’s pause a second.  I’m endorsing Tony Abbott???  What?????  This is the same guy that, 3 years ago I wrote had the worst campaign in political history.  I called him a liability, a risk, and incompetent.  Don’t think this doesn’t hurt just a little bit!)

Quite frankly, the parties are more similar than they are different.  The only real differences I can see are Paid Parental Leave, Broadband, economic management, and which South-East Asian nation they would have a refugee processing centre located on.

While there are other policies that are notable (the Coalition’s mental health policy, for example, is a great decision), there’s nothing else that stands one party diametrically opposed to the other. 

And, since you’re already wasting your time by reading this article, I’ll help you minimise that time by focusing on the above four areas of difference.

So, let’s break down each of these areas Bill Simmons style and see why I think the Coalition would make a better Government than Labor.

Paid Parental Leave

Honestly, this one doesn’t bother me overly.  Labor’s scheme is a good one and so is the Coalition’s.  The idea that the Coalition’s scheme will hike up grocery prices as Julia Gillard has suggested simply isn’t true.  In fact, the CEO of Coles came out endorsing the plan!

So, it doesn’t matter to me which party wins in this area because six weeks of leave funded by the Government is good enough, but if that was increased to the full time salary and increased to six months, then that’s good too.

Edge: Even


Here is where there is a real difference between the Libs and Labor.  The NBN, while outrageously expensive, is, in all honesty, an amazing piece of infrastructure.  The capacity for regional Australia to have net access at 100 MegaBits/sec is remarkable.

My problem is though, do we really need that??

Sure, it would be nice, but do most regional towns need internet access that is so fast, you could download a movie in 4 minutes?  I don’t think so.  There’s no infrastructure in these towns that requires that sort of speed. 

The big hospitals, clinics, education centres etc are all located in the bigger cities.  Paying for that sort of speed in a town of 30,000 people is not a good use of technology, especially when most of the people will sign up to cheaper packages that use about 1% of the fibre’s capability.

Now, the Coalition’s plan is far from perfect, but its price is a lot more attractive.  Also, their rationale that the private sector will come to the party isn’t a bad one. 

As a conservative chap I’m a fan of smaller Government.  The less that the Government owns, particularly something like an NBN, the better in my opinion.

And, perhaps most importantly, they’re spending more where there are more people.  People that actually need these high speeds will get access to them, not just where it would be nice to have.

There is a massive amount of telecommunications infrastructure already in place in Sydney, Melbourne etc to provide the speeds that Labor wants to provide and the Coalition will provide. 

The capacity for the big cities where those speeds are needed already exists.  The problem lies with Telstra and its refusal to play nice with its competitiors.

So, what is the answer?  Well, while I don’t endorse’ the Libs plan as being visionary, I do think it makes more sense for a country like Australia.

Comparing Australia’s internet needs with those of Singapore or the UK is downright stupid.  Our population density is completely different to those nations, so for Labor to say we need the same system they have where every home has access to the NBN is not feasible.  It’s downright economically irresponsible.

Edge: Coalition (just)

Economic management:

Here is where Labor has some runs on the board.  Through its stimulus packages it helped keep Australia out of recession.  Simple maths would prove that if you dump money into an economy the wheels keep moving (unless you’re the UK and the USA where the system has been broken for many years).

How much of Australia’s resiliency is based on the Howard and Keating reforms (APRA, the floating of the dollar, blah, blah, blah) and how much was based on Rudd’s stimulus packages? 

The answer: How the hell should I know!

What I think though is that the second stimulus was too much and poorly directed.  The home insulation and BER cost blowouts, deaths and other misadventures of Labor have been well publicised.  And claiming that these packages kept hundreds of thousands of people in jobs just doesn’t add up.

The Coalition has, traditionally, been the better economic party, and I trust the books being in the hands of Hockey and Robb than I do in Swan and someone yet to be announced.

Edge: Coalition

Which South-East Asian nation would they build a refugee processing centre?

Simple, the Coalition has a centre and a country willing to house the refugees being processed.  Labor doesn’t.

Edge: Coalition

So, on all four of those key areas, I think the Coalition has a better plan as well as a better track record.

Sure there are some things that Labor is better on, but I’m here to endorse the Coalition and I’ve already written enough, so I can’t be bothered going over them now.

While if Gillard is elected, the country is definitely not screwed, I think it would be a little less screwed if we elect Tony Abbott.

I will now light myself on fire.

Click here to email Dylan about the above column.

Click here to go back to the homepage.

Tony Abbott may look creepy here,
but he has Dylan's vote.

Julia Gillard's PPL scheme is good,
but so is the Coalition's.