The election: young Australians have their say

Ah, the election. We know what Australia’s leftwing “yoof” think. But how are younger independents, libertarians, conservatives and others responding to the results? What are their views? These are voices from outside triple j.

I thought I’d throw some questions to model citizens like John Humphreys (of the Australian Libertarian Society), Jai Martinkovits (a young Australians for Constitutional Monarchy spokesman), and Alex Butterworth (President of the WA Young Liberals), a final year Law/Arts student at UWA and self-described commie fighter.

What does Gillard’s new “Labor/Green/Independent” coalition mean for Australia?

John Humphreys:

Not much. For the next 10 months Gillard won’t be able to pass anything without the support of the Greens and Wilkie and at least two rural independents and Xenophon and Fielding. That should slow them down. If they can keep the government together that long, then they won’t need Xenophon & Fielding, but it will still be difficult. The up side is that hopefully the deadlock means the government can’t do too much. The down side is that everybody is going to be trying to get their piece of the pork.

There is little hope for meaningful economic reform, but that was unlikely anyway given that the Greens will soon have balance of power in the Senate and they are addicted to a big-taxing, big-spending, big-regulating agenda. All hope for better economic policy are on hold for the foreseeable future until either the Greens discover capitalism, or their voting base collapses.

The worst consequence of this rainbow Labor government is that we still might see a mining super-tax and/or a carbon trading system. Not in the next 10 months (Fielding won’t support it) but perhaps in late 2011 or early 2012. We can only hope that the rural constituents of Windsor and Oakshott speak up against extra taxes and pointless paper-shuffling schemes. The one silver lining in this outcome is that we won’t have Abbott’s hugely expensive parental welfare scheme.

Jai Martinkovits:

The Labor-Green-independent alliance will mean a wishy-washy Parliament that will probably not last for a full term. All Labor’s election promises are now secondary to those made to the independents, and will cost the Australian taxpayer billions of extra dollars.

Alex Butterworth:

Simple; it means higher taxes, more regulation and more government bureaucracy. Hardly surprising. The difference is that Gillard will tread very carefully with a one seat majority. With only one seat between government and opposition, Labor can’t afford a single mistake by any minister or back-bencher. The government will need to be very careful; this means that the tax increases and new regulations will be implemented gradually so that they are less noticeable. This makes life difficult for the Coalition, because Gillard’s Labor will look like a very cautious, careful government, in contrast to the drastic changes during the Rudd Government. It’s much harder to attack a cautious government than one that’s introducing an ETS one minute and a mining tax the next.

Do you think conservative-minded country voters will be “moving forward” with their Labor-friendly “Independents”?  

John Humphreys:

I think the reaction of Lyne and New England voters will depend very much on what the new government does. If Windsor and Oakeshott deliver us a carbon trading scheme and a mining super-tax I think the coalition will be able to run a very effective campaign at the next election and perhaps re-take those seats.

Jai Martinkovits: 

There will certainly be no "moving forward" on the part of the conservative country voters. Come the next election, should they choose to stand, Oakeshott and Wilkie will be punished by their constituents. Their stupid decision to back a Labor-Green alliance was neither the preference of their electorates, nor that of the Australian people at large.

Alex Butterworth:

Voters in Lyne and New England will punish Oakeshott and Windsor as soon as they are given the chance. I’m predicting two National Party gains at the next election. The Coalition flyers will have one simple message "Labor has done X wrong. It’s your local MP’s fault."

Right now, I’m planning a left-wing funeral.


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