Although it originated in Europe, the term “culture wars”, gained widespread use in the US in relation to hot-button issues such as abortion, gun control, homosexuality and the separation of church and state. These were the types of ideological issues that divided the populace.

Special Roy Morgan Qualitative Research, released today, highlights that, in Australia, the main difference between the “left” and “right” wings boils down to economic issues.

In answer to the question “What could the Federal Government do that would most benefit you and your family?”, Coalition supporters were much more likely to argue for a reduction in taxes and the maintaining of the health of the economy.

Typical responses from such electors were:

Labor depresses the economy — the Liberals should just stay in power. They’ll keep employment strong and interest rates down.

Three things: don’t put up the GST, take the tax off petrol and lower personal tax.

On the other side of the coin, however, were the ALP supporters who were much more likely to argue that the Government should direct ‘fiscal’ policy to social and environmental issues like health, education and climate change. Most notably, a significant proportion of ALP supporters argued that the best thing the Federal Government could do was repeal the WorkChoices legislation.

Typical responses from ALP supporters were:

The Government should (i) address global warming; (ii) spend more on public school education; and (iii) increase children’s day-care payments.”

Give back our work-rights. Unfair dismissal laws, in particular, need to be restored.

These ALP supporters would no doubt be nonplussed by the news in today’s Herald Sun that a business owned by Kevin Rudd’s wife, Therese Rein, may have removed workers’ penalty rates, overtime and allowances for a mere 45 cents extra an hour.

Furthermore, this dodgy activity was supposed to occur on common law contracts, not the much maligned Australian Workplace Agreements. Although all involved have since been reimbursed, this issue shows that there exists a lot of grey area in industrial relations, not just the black-and-white AWA.

In international news, Alan Greenspan has again added some pessimism into the global economy by arguing that the Chinese stock market boom could not last.
Addressing a meeting in Madrid via teleconference, Greenspan said: “It is clearly unsustainable … There’s going to be a dramatic contraction at some point.”

Wall Street retracted much of the gains made earlier in the trading session — the Dow momentarily moved above 13,600 for the first time, before settling down slightly for the day at 13,525.65 points. Only a few gurus have the ability to move markets; it seems Alan Greenspan still has it. 

Read more at Henry Thornton.