There was a clear difference on display at last night’s final debate between the two men who want to govern the country after September 7. The difference was not, of course, between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. It was between the united front those two politicians present on most issues, and the citizens asking the questions.
Time and time again an impassioned questioner tackled Rudd or Abbott on some topic — only to get the same response, with slightly different spin, from both leaders.
Same same. Like the Olsen twins, and arguably as vapid.
This election has disintegrated into a dull scrap between two not-terribly-popular leaders who offer a pretty similar plan for the next three years. The major points of difference are parental leave, broadband and a carbon price. On so much else it’s a unity ticket. Interested in health? Education? Super? Defence? Aged care? Industrial relations? You have nothing to choose between. There’s one policy, two parties.
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Take the economy. As Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer point out in Crikey today:
“Confronted with the reality of governing, the Coalition has now signed up fully to Labor’s fiscal policy (a fiscal policy, by the way, that Labor itself only embraced last December) … Not merely is [Joe Hockey] not intending to pursue austerity of any kind, despite Labor’s scare campaign, he actually thinks the economy needs a little fiscal push.”
To think that the major parties’ unity ticket on health, education and the economy is so perfect that it cannot be improved upon is alarming nonsense which not even Rudd and Abbott would believe.
What the voters could use more of is not tedious leaders’ debates. It’s good ideas and the courage to stand behind a vision for the country’s future — which might just be different to the other side’s.