Politics hasn’t gone away during the silly season. Indeed, the election year has got off to a promising start with the string of intellectual-sounding name-calling on the op-ed pages of The Australian running on and on.

Parliamentary Secretary Greg Hunt has set himself up as the Government’s attack terrier, taking a sharp nip at Kevin Rudd’s heels.

It’s interesting to see that the young members of Camp Costello have nothing to say. Presumably – just like their hero – they have absolutely no policy ideas at all. They have nothing but the same sullen sense of entitlement.

And if we’re having an ideological war, Labor frontbenchers have had some deft replies.

“Taxation and welfare spending are at record levels, with even millionaires receiving welfare cheques. So much for the champions of small government and free markets,” Lindsay Tanner said to The Oz.

Even a rooster has been able to crow. Wayne Swan was spot on in his description of what drives the Howard Government. “Radical right wing populism,” he called it. “[A]n utter distortion of the idea of free markets. It’s not only unfair and unsustainable but is keeping taxes high, reducing incentive and holding the nation back…

“The competition for ideas in Australia isn’t, as Hunt has it, between some post-war European socialist monolith and ‘liberal democracy’. It is between a vibrant, pro-market social democracy that simultaneously promotes higher productivity, equality of opportunity and environmental sustainability, and John Howard and Peter Costello’s over-regulated and reactionary-populist ‘mates’ rates capitalism’.”

If Labor keeps this up, we may even see some decent policy.

Peter Fray

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