Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

What a waste of an election campaign

Mark Fletcher
September 6th, 2013 · 29 Comments

I feel completely let down by the election campaign. There has been little in the way of passionate debate about nation building policy. Little discussion of what is important economically for the whole country, as opposed to select special interests. Little to boost consumer confidence from any of the major parties. Little in the way of a vision for the future of the country. And, little in terms of encouragement for small business beyond some tweaks at the endges.

We lack strong political leaders in Australia, conviction politicians who even though you may not like their politics you do admire their leadership.

Right now we are in the middle on considerable structural change in Australia in terms of our business mix and natural resources revenue. We are also in the midst of tremendous structural change world-wide, in retail as well as more broadly in economies – just look at some of the European countries. These challenges need real leadership for the good of the country, beyond partisan politics.

I’m disappointed that this election is not presenting me with the quality of leadership I’d prefer.


Category: Ethics · Social responsibility

29 responses so far ↓

  • 1 P // Sep 6, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    absolutely nothing new in what you are saying Mark thats why they are politicians


  • 2 Jill // Sep 6, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    For the first time I find myself being a swinging voter. But I am swinging in despair at the choice on offer!


  • 3 rick // Sep 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I cant wait. its time. The K Rudd party is no more, I can only hope the labor party can go away and do some serious soul searching. They need a broom right thru the whole organisation to rid itself of the self serving ex union officials that have been wallowing in the trough for too long. Get some real people in with a genuine desire to improve the nation.


  • 4 Peter // Sep 6, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Problem Rick we replace one stupid white man K Rudd with another stupid white man T Abbott. One thing is T Abbott will do want big business wants, not small or intermediate business as we do not donate to them.


  • 5 Natalie Wong // Sep 6, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Guess it depends where you are located. My customers and electorate are fully engaged in this campaign. We have been selling out of papers daily (and add on sales have been good). I actually will miss the election campaign. Been great to also get out and volunteer with the locals.


  • 6 Jarryd Moore // Sep 7, 2013 at 12:06 AM


    I would defend the intentions of even those politicians with whom I disagree vehemently. Most are likely there with a genuine intention because as a career it’s usually a hard slog that often doesn’t pay as well as commercial alternatives.

    I agree that Labor needs to do some soul searching – it’s traditional trade union base has shrunk and the party hasn’t adjusted it’s focus nor the rules that govern it. Because the party is currently controlled by the right factions it has lost a significant number of progressive voters to The Greens (especially in younger demographics).

    However, whatever one thinks of the individuals from the party is not an objective reflection of their policies or governing record. I personally can’t stand Kevin Rudd. I believe that he undermined his own party. However I also believe that the government he, then Gillard, led undertook a range of good reforms, managed the economy well and instituted a number of major projects that will benefit the nation.

    We should not be making politics a personality contest. Evidence based policy analysis is what should drive elections. Sadly it doesn’t.


  • 7 rick // Sep 7, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    its not just about personalities, although there is that as well. Sorry but cannot agree that they managed the economy well, they were incredibly lucky that the chinese came along when they did. They have not only squandered the huge windfall from the resources boom, but they have also run up a massive debt that they have never had a plan to repay.


  • 8 Australian Family Tree Connections // Sep 7, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    You obviously haven’t read


  • 9 Jarryd Moore // Sep 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM


    The economic management of the government has been praised by the rest of the world. Their response to the GFC was a textbook example of what should be done.

    Lets take a look at the resources boom. The boom, driven by demand from Asia, saw incredibly large revenues for the Howard government. Despite these enormous revenues we only ended up with a relatively small surplus yet saw spending on things like infrastructure fall to record low levels.

    The idea that government debt is bad is a complete fallacy. Almost all governments are in debt and the majority never get into surplus. Our debt is one of the lowest in the world (only about 20% of GDP – approx. 3rd lowest in the OECD) and is completely manageable by any measure.

    It seems people forget what the point of getting into surplus is. The point of having a surplus is so that a country can use it as a buffer in the case of an economic decline. That’s exactly what we did. We saw the GFC coming and used the surplus to help protect us from the economic recession that devastated the majority of similar economies.

    After the stimulus it was prudent of the government to not cut spending too harshly. If austerity style measures are imposed on an economy it only leads to further decline. Taking money out of the economy does not help it get back into growth.

    It is also worth noting that the IMF, earlier this year, identified only two periods of wasteful government spending in recent history … both under the Howard government.


  • 10 DR // Sep 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Family tree think you need to get out a bit ,been reading S M H to much worst gov in my life time


  • 11 Jarryd Moore // Sep 7, 2013 at 2:37 PM


    In what way is it the worst government? The vast majority of independent analysis disagrees with you.


  • 12 Australian Family Tree Connections // Sep 7, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    With respect, you have no idea how much I get out, nor how much I read.

    I gave SMH references as they were closest to hand. Fact is Fairfax hasn’t been as one-eyed as Murdoch papers which non-stop promoted The Liberal-Murdoch-Corbett-Howard Party.

    Australia, you don’t know how good you’ve got it by Professor Joseph Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics –

    And here’s The Economist (the world’s most far right newspaper, like the Liberal Party) article Lucky no more


  • 13 June // Sep 7, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Even Clive looked good (Oh oh I forgot he
    was a Queenslander)
    I’m a political animal and I was turned right off the two main parties. Neither leader told the truth and the electorate was kept in the dark regarding what the
    Libs have planned for the future.
    Having said that it has been furious debate in my shop for the last month and
    most people in my area wish that Malcolm
    Turnbull was the leader of the Libs because he is not a “career pollie” and I would have to agree.
    His experience in the banking, journalism (learning how to lie) and legal professions is probably second to no other pollie in the parliament at the moment but the silver spoon Libs don’t want him in their
    Old Boys Club.
    I was sorely tempted to vote informal (but I didn’t)


  • 14 Peter // Sep 7, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Jarryd and AFT there is none so stupid as those who do not want to see the truth. What you have both pointed out is the truth.

    However, how can one reward Kevin for the last 3 and a bit years of destruction and disloyalty for his own personal gain. Note T Abbott is no better as he has pedaled the lies that are now accepted facts.


  • 15 Jarryd Moore // Sep 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM


    I hate the thought of rewarding Rudd for his actions in the internal struggles of the Labor party. But I’d rather the party who’s policies are more supported by the evidence and the experts.

    A vote should not be used to reward nor punish Rudd because his actions are a secondary issue. Policy should always come first.


  • 16 ted // Sep 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    So Jarryd….a textbook response to the GFC? Technically correct but history tells us that Labour has never had a problem throwing money at problems. Are you willing to state with a straight face that Labour did this with the correct checks and balances and targeted the investment in the right areas without substantial waste? I don’t need the IMF to tell me the answer to that.


  • 17 Jarryd Moore // Sep 8, 2013 at 12:21 PM


    “Technically correct” implies that there is some other substantial factor not being taken into account in the statement. There is not. The response to the GFC was one advised by Treasury and continues to be supported by the majority of experts.

    What correct checks and balances would you have them use? What other areas would you have seen them target?

    If given time to have in depth reports into where the money could best be spent then naturally they may have been able to achieve a more targeted approach. But this ignores the fact that the stimulus was incredibly time sensitive. If they were going to implement a keynesian stimulus then it needed to happen very quickly. Leave it any longer it the stimulus would not have had the same effect.

    As for waste I’m not sure what you’re referring to?


  • 18 ted // Sep 8, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    The roll out of the home insulation is one significant example of insufficient checks and balances. As for wastage, try the vast number of schools crying out for significant repair and rebuilds who did not receive the necessary funds whilst other schools had major building works where they were not requested or required. There was plenty of coverage of this across all media including News, Fairfax and the beloved ABC.


  • 19 Jarryd Moore // Sep 8, 2013 at 1:14 PM


    The home insulation scheme was a success. It injected cash into the economy and reduced energy usage. The deaths were a result of employers failing to follow existing workplace safety regulations. I believe they have all been prosecuted for this.

    I believe some of the problems with the BER were a result of the program using a cookie cutter approach to public schools. Given that the aim of the program was to stimulate the economy, while also assisting to reduce the education infrastructure backlog, it is my understanding that this approach was taken to both reduce time and costs. If every school had their needs reviewed and analysed to the nth degree then the timescale for implementation would blow out significantly. Had this not been a time sensitive scheme then yes, more checks and balances could have been put in place.


  • 20 June // Sep 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Jarryd and Ted, the whole of Oz is going to change tomorrow morning because we’ve had a change of government.
    Our business issues will be solved – GG and Network will no longer be allowed to push their product on us with allocations we cannot handle, and then the customers who have stayed away for so long are all coming tomorrow.

    I believe in being positive and I’m positive that I’m right.


  • 21 Jarryd Moore // Sep 8, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    June, clearly you’ve been drowning your sorrows after the election result. I’d say I hope you don’t spill the bottle on the keyboard, but I have a feeling it’s already empty ;-P


  • 22 Mark Fletcher // Sep 8, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Ted, to be fair the conservatives has thrown a ton of money away for little measured economic benefit: the baby bonus, some family allowance money, Iraq. And now we’ll have a rich parental leave scheme. Both sides have not been the best servants of our money.


  • 23 June // Sep 9, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Jarryd you’re not a very good judge of character – I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, sometimes I swear (because it’s cathartic)
    However, I must say that neither Tony nor
    Kevvy give me a lot of hope for our future
    in small business but there wasn’t any alternative party that made me feel confident.
    Funnily enough, sales are up today (Tony
    sent them)
    I agree with Mark’s comment about both sides “not been the best servants of our money”.
    Anyway on a more positive note – here’s hoping that the drought of sales has ended.


  • 24 Jarryd Moore // Sep 9, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    June, I was poking fun (hence the winking, tongue poking emoticon) not insinuating that you actually drink.

    I’m not sure if you’re being facetious or seriously suggesting that an Abbott government will be responsible for a sales increase … ?


  • 25 rick // Sep 9, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    the home insulation scheme and the BER made some people incredibly rich, as for economic stimulus, not so sure it was money well spend. The problem with those types of schemes is that the govt is nearly always ripped off and pays way over the odds. Not so sure the IMF is very well qualified to pass judgement. As for our debt being low, yeah it is i agree, but what have we got to show for it? Anyway we can go on for ages and never agree, lets see how the libs go about it, shame about the mess in the senate tho.


  • 26 Mark Fletcher // Sep 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Rick in all these government initiatives there are few who profit. I read of an economist who followed the baby bonus money. Not pretty reading.

    The senate is going to be very interesting. A car lovers party?!!!


  • 27 Jarryd Moore // Sep 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM


    I believe that the data shows the retail sector doing particularly well from the stimulus.

    The vast majority of analysis would indicated that the stimulus played a critical role in keeping Australia from recession.

    The IMF is one of the most well placed bodies in the world to analyse such data.

    It might be time to have a serious look at the voting process an see if we can identify ways to improve the it for the senate. Clearly we should not end up with parties like the Australian Sports Party, the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party and the Liberal Democrats.


  • 28 June // Sep 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    First day of the Abbot govt. I’m up 25%
    over last Monday and I am pretty chuffed about that.
    People commenting all day that they feel safer under his leadership —- interesting!


  • 29 Garry // Sep 9, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Customers seem to been happier here to but I think it has more to do with Collingwood losing


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reload Image