If there’s one thing that the LNP lays claim to, above all else, it is the assertion that they are the better managers of the economy. But what does this bold claim actually mean?
Are they talking about ‘the economy’ as a metaphor for society?
Because if they aren’t, then really, what is the point?
For all those undecided voters out there who are considering sticking with the devil they know, please think twice on this.
The nauseating mantra of ‘Strong Economy. Stronger Future.’ and ‘We aren’t Labor’ are frankly a poor case for re-election.
But whatever, let’s work with it and consider their central claim that they are good with money.
A ‘strong economy’ can be measured in many different ways, but the public discourse usually boils down to jobs and growth.
Such simple metrics of deficits and unemployment don’t tell the full story of what is actually happening out here in the world. Our lives don’t automatically improve when the stock market goes up. Company profits have a funny habit of just lining the pockets of the wealthy few.
The notion that growth is always good and a bigger GDP equals a more prosperous society flies in the face of reality. It ignores the well documented ever increasing divide between the haves and have-nots.
A striking outcome of the pandemic crisis of the last couple of years is the obscene amount of wealth hoarded by a few billionaires, while the less fortunate have been allowed to raid their superannuation to get through tough times – gee thanks for that, so generous.
Perpetual economic growth is also the fundamental driving force behind the rampant destruction of our natural environment, and is hastening global heating. The devastating climate change consequences of the business-as-usual approach are now painfully clear to see. To just measure success in dollars while ignoring the true social and environmental costs is not good management at all.
Putting aside how few of us really benefit from all those undertaxed massive corporate profits, at least we should be happy to have a job, right?
If the government is claiming credit for the current low unemployment figures then they should also own the blame for stagnant wages.
Wages have been flat for so long – while the cost of living has ballooned – that wages in real terms are going backwards.
The low number of jobseekers is also on the back of a ruthlessly punitive approach to welfare recipients that has led to many of them just giving up.
Not to mention that the pandemic forced a large chunk of the workforce to leave the country, and prompted many of us to rethink our own jobs.
That magical number of four per cent unemployed means less when so many of us are underemployed and underpaid, and whole industries are in a staffing crisis.
I’ll give Morrison and co the benefit of the doubt that they are genuine in their belief that a flourishing free market creates wealth that benefits us all. But this simplistic radical ideology is flawed and dangerous.
It has failed dismally in terms of social equity, and the environmental consequences are writ large all around us.
This decade-old government has achieved little, made a mess of much, and smirked at us condescendingly all along the way.
It’s high time to give someone, almost anyone else, a go.
Ziggi Browning, Echo production manager