There was a poll out yesterday that said that if a Federal election were to be held right now then the Liberal party would be swept to power. Are people so stupid? Surely voting for Labor is voting for the lesser of two evils. I don’t trust either party and wish that there was at least one more viable alternative, but the entire Liberal party campaign has been based on spreading xenophobia throughout the community. “We will stop the boats.” says Tony Abbott… How will he do that? Has Tony promised to go to Sri Lanka to negotiate with the Sri Lankan government to stop persecuting with the Tamils? Is he personally going to go to Afghanistan to smoke out Osama bin Laden and singlehandedly crush the Taliban? Is the arrival of 4000 boat people really that much of a problem? Other countries in our region such as China have a much bigger problem with refugees than we do yet we never see accusations that President Hu is soft on illegal immigrants. Of course it is much easier to use empty slogans rather that really trying to solve this problem.
Another of Tony’s pledges is to cut immigration. Why exactly? Are migrants such a problem? I know that there are some people who wish that we could go back to having a White Australia policy, but we should really not be pandering to these people. I heard Julia Gillard talk about not wanting a big Australia and suggesting that we may be too crowded to accept as many migrants as we have been. This is crap as there are smaller countries with far less resources than have much bigger populations than we do. The only reasons why Gillard and Abbott have made immigration an issue is because they are banking on Australians being closed-minded and xenophobic, and they are both so intent to prove that they are financially responsible that they won’t spend any money on the resources, services and infrastructure that this country needs.
It really annoys me that both parties are beating up on migrants but I wonder why Abbott has gone out of his way to beat up on international students. He wants less international students coming to study here and wants to make it harder for them to stay once their course is over. I think he is working on the ignorant perception that most people think that international students take up the places of local students when in reality the opposite is true. As international students pay full fees upfront that are in no way subsidised by the government I wonder how universities will make up the funding short-fall should Abbott win the election and put this policy into place. Then again Abbott’s mentor John Howard was the guy who pushed for Aussie students to pay upfront fees, so I guess that policy will be extended further. As for trying to discourage international students from staying once their course is over, it is something else I don’t understand. This is especially the case when we look at our chronic doctors shortage, which is a course where we only want to take the best of the best students. We don’t want to lower the standards of entry into medicine just so we can accept more local students, so it only makes sense that we take the best overseas students too, however it also makes sense that after we’ve trained these kids that we would then encourage them to stay here to make up the shortage of doctors we have here. Surely it’s better to have Australian trained doctors than to import another Jayant Patel to make up for any shortage?
I do have a few more questions and observations. Yesterday Tony Abbott was speaking about his policy of early intervention for kids with disabilities which astonishingly was released the day after Julia Gillard announced her similar policy. Abbott was talking and said something along the lines of… “We have implemented this policy to help the families of a disabled…” that is not the exact quote although the ‘families of a disabled’ part is what he said which I thought was odd. He did not say ‘of a disabled child’ or ‘child with a disability’ but ‘families of a disabled’. Perhaps it was just a slip of the tongue but I found it interesting. I must also say that I get annoyed anytime he says the words ‘somethink’ or ‘anythink’. I know hit is a minor issue but poor diction really annoys me, especially when it comes to the mispronunciation of ‘anything’ and ‘something’. The only thing that would annoy me more would be if he started substituting the word ‘pacifically’ for ‘specifically’.
I also have to ask why the Murdoch press is campaigning so hard for Abbott? His election campaign is much easier than Gillard’s because the Herald Sun is openly endorsing him as Prime Minister. It is bad enough that Kevin Rudd is campaigning for the Liberals. Perhaps Rupert is upset that for the first time his preferred candidate lost the 2007 election that he is going out of his way to ensure that it won’t happen again? Maybe he is just trying to appease the small-minded, xenophobic sheep who read more than just the sports pages of the Herald Sun? At least the don’t try to fool us into believing that they are ‘fair and balanced’ like Fox News in the US does. Personally I think that the media should try to provide a balance for their readers so that they can make up their own minds instead of trying to openly influence than to vote one way or another. (Yes, I’m very naive!)
Anyway these are my opinions. I just wish that when Australia goes to vote we at least put more thought into it than if we were voting for who wins Australian Idol. Instead of being like sheep and just doing what everyone else does or what Mr Murdoch wants us to know we should actually sit down nad deeply consider all the ‘so called’ policies.