Monday, May 28, 2012

Why not rush to the polls? Two theories on best for labor

Strategy 1:

Labor will get slaughtered whatever happens. The Coalition is likely to win control of the Senate as well. The best way to stop this is to call a House of Representatives election as soon as possible this year (after changing labor leaders) so the Reps election is not held with the Senate election.

The Coalition will win in the Reps, begin implementing its program, become unpopular, and then probably not win control of the Senate when the half Senate election is held as scheduled next year.

Labor will be better off than if it had waited.

For this to work Labor would need to deny Tony Abbott the opportunity to call a double dissolution by ensuring none of his bills were blocked, which would mean voting in favour of bills to repeal the carbon tax and the mining tax (because “the people had spoken”).

Strategy 2:

Applying Strategy 1 will mean the carbon tax will scarcely operate. It’ll be abolished just after it begins and the public discover that it is not so bad after all. It will forever go down in history as a bad idea.

If instead Labor waits out its full term until late next year the public will have had a year to evaluate the carbon tax and might just find Tony Abbott was scaremongering when he said it would destroy Whyalla, kill the mining “stone dead” and so on. Few people would want to bother removing it (just as one year on few people wanted to bother removing the GST).

Furthermore, although half the Senate would be elected with the Reps in late 2013, the new Senators would not take office until July 2014 -- two years into the carbon tax, and more importantly only one year away from 2015 when it is legislated to be replaced with an emissions trading system (which will probably have a lower carbon price).

Relief will be at hand. Anger over the carbon tax will be old hat. Abbott might even have second thoughts about resubmitting to the Senate bills to abolish it.

In any event the history books will record that it was a good reform, killed by a zealot, rather than a bad one killed by the people.


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