Us Melbournians, we love to talk about the weather. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. The sun’s going down too early. But before the weather report, there’s another season that’s really heating up, both here and abroad, and that’s the political season.
The US election continues to peak my interest, and the “love him or hate him” Donald J Trump provides endless conversation – that’s much more interesting than the weather!
In Australia, we might well look on feeling smug about the fact that at least we don’t have “A Trump” to deal with, but the US presidential candidate race is showing us that people are becoming increasingly disillusioned with our political leaders and the political system itself. One of the reasons Trump is performing so well in this race, in my opinion, is because the public is sick of the same old same old.
They see Trump as a breath of fresh hair (sorry I had to slip that one in) and it’s similar in other parts of the world with political outsiders like Marine Le Pen in France and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain rocking the establishment, often with extreme views. And when we see extreme views we start seeing extreme reactions with Trump’s campaigns now starting to look like an episode of Jerry Springer with brawls erupting and Trump calling for his supporters to “punch them in the face”. The thing for me is that I think Trump could actually be good for politics in as much as he could shake things up. He brings to the system an uncensored point of view that many Americans find both refreshing and, like his hair, somewhat disturbing (sorry that is the last hair pun I promise…).
Putting this into context, growth rates in the US, Europe & Japan are all now at their lowest levels since World War II. If the system was doing its job, things would be better. There would be more jobs, people would feel better off, their quality of living would be improving. But it’s not, and that is why the entrenched politicians – both the Republicans and Democrats – are scared stiff of Trump, and the changes that he may bring to the political arena.
Meanwhile, back at home and in the run up to the next federal election I predict we are likely to see more of the same inept leadership of recent times, political mud-slinging, back-room dealings, and unfortunately very little in the way of true economic reform or major progress for our great nation. My prediction is that the current government will eventually release its economic policies with the release of the next federal budget and with the exceptions of a few peripheral tweaks the longer term outlook will largely remain unchanged.
Of course, the Government is right to call for policies that will lead to economic growth and jobs. But how well they will be able to deliver on those goals with an obstructionist Senate, as well as vested interest groups, and the people to appease? Plus what appears to be internal divisions within their own party as how best to achieve those targets, leaves me questioning their political will and ability to pull off anything meaningful any time soon.
Mind you the opposition has been swinging for the fences recently, looking to rebuild credibility after a tough Royal Commission into Labor’s links to Trade Union corruption. They are playing a strong political game offering everything to everyone offering increased spending on schools and tafes, protecting penalty rates, making housing more affordable, making same sex marriage legal, to increased infrastructure spending, and to have 50% renewable energy by 2030. The problem is, in an election campaign it is easy and popular to offer all of these big ticket items – the trick is paying for them. Especially when we have budget deficits, low GDP growth, and falling terms of trade.
So apart from Opposition Treasurer Chris Bowen sporting a new beard, I am afraid I don’t see much of anything new or achievable coming from the Labor side of the political debate either.
So where do I stand on politics?
Well I am a bit cynical I am afraid. Unless we can actually change the stranglehold the two-party preferred system has here on Australian politics; or until we at least have a charismatic and popular leader of a party, that is not a mere puppet to the back-room power brokers, a leader who can eloquently and articulately tell us what needs to change for Australia to continue to be a world-leading economy and have their full support – we are all condemned to the current results and standards.
But without wanting to sound defeatist here are a few controversial ideas that could really shake up the system.
I am sure there are millions of things that you’d like to see changed in politics. In fact I would love to hear what changes you would like to see in the Australian political system! Leave a comment, or contact The Property Mentors and I will compile a list of all the best responses in a future blog post.