This is our first political discourse, NOT THE OFFICIAL VIEWS OF THIS ASSOCIATION, and we hope to get lots of comment.
Julia Gillard, Australia's first woman Prime Minister, has run into a lot of problems attendant with a hung parliament. The mining resources rental tax established with the support of Greens is strongly opposed by the Opposition who threaten to repeal it when they get into government.
For Georgists it looked like a step in the right direction but its turned out to be a disappointment. It relies upon profits of the mining companies and the Government have collected nothing so far. It's not based on what is taken out of the ground as the Georgists want. A seemingly good policy has been destroyed by bad implementation.
Regarding other policies: the asylum seeker action has been more experimental and expedience rather than the practice of good will towards these desperate peoples. The intentions of the government have been mixed and has fueled a lot of hostility not only from the Opposition but from the ordinary voter, who see no good coming forward to lessen the arrival of boats; rather its dramaticaly increased. Long time in processing applications, the suffering of refugees and mental health problems from incaceration have been brought to public attention.The denial of right to work and to make useful contribution to the community has reduced integration of refugees into the Australian community. It seems to be an insummountable obstacle which need a lot of attention.The Opposition has been all out to exploit these weaknesses for its own advantage.
In all these difficulties the Opposition has been seen as unhelpful rather than constructive thus likely downgrading its poll ratings. In the hung parliament where the government is depended upon the Independents and Greens the Opposition has failed to make its mark as an alternative government. The outcome of the recent conflicts in parliament has been reduction in the standards and the public respect for the institution.
Australia's growth of about 3.1% per annum has been hailed as an example for the first World countries but its barely above inflation. It's unconvincing in a world plagued by the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. Effectively the banks that created the crisis have been largely let off the hook by US government bail outs. Brinkmanship and indecision existing in the United States Congress over the 'financial cliff' needing resolution by January 2013 gives concern on its continuation as a future world leader in the face of dramatic rises in fortune in China and India. Australia has been wise by maintaining a good relationship with this major trading partner, China, and similarly by improving relations with India.
A lot of work has to be done to revive respect for parliament as a national institution and it will be more difficult as a hung parliament.That may not change much even after the next election is called in October 2013.
Looking on the positive side the ALP government has done some good work with the States in trying to solve the controversial water crisis in the Murray-Darling basin. It is continuing to work with the States on resourcing and solving problems in Education and in the area of disability supports. It is hoping for a budget surplus but maintaining that position will be increasingly difficult in the wake of rising expenditure and likely rising unemployment. Regretably Georgists can gain little from the current government in terms of policy implementation and the Coalition outlook is equally dismal. A survey of the four major political parties does show the Greens as closest to the Georgist policies.