The Mood for Change
The latest Fairfax opinion polls have confirmed what everyone is feeling. There is too much distraction in the Federal Labor government and the policy details are lost in the gibberish making it extremely difficult to sell any good news.
The greatest failure of the Federal Labor Government is that it has not been able to lift the pale of gloom and majority of families and small business feel a sense of pessimism towards the future. This is in spite of the fact that Australia continues to enjoy rock solid economic performance.
People gave Labor two chances in Canberra but the internal machinations within the party and rampant factionalism have only yielded a sense of overall despair.
Turn your attention to NSW and the Labor party is in same turmoil as people are sick to the core hearing the daily ICAC commentary. Obeids and McDonalds, former kingpins and ex senior ministers have been milking the system to gain financial advantage for themselves.
While the NSW Labor state President, John Robertson has introduced much needed party reforms, they have come in too late. Voters may condone non-performance but what they don’t forgive is corruption by bureaucrats and ministers.
The general feeling in the community is that there is a mood for change. The internal bickering and the unresolved Rudd factor in Labor has forced people to switch off listening to Labor. Unfortunately people have stopped listening to even good news.
It is this large chunk of voters who have switched sides for now. Tony Abbott has done nothing that has caused a huge spike in his personal approval; Labor party has presented this victory on a platter to him.
The mainstream media including a few commercial Radio stations lost the opportunity and failed to lead a build up to the ascendancy of Julia Gillard to Prime Minister’s position. It all happened too quickly for them to fill their reams of paper and hours of air time.
Ever since they have hit back with a vengeance playing up the Kevin Rudd knifing episode and denying a sense of legitimacy to the Gillard government.
If at all, Julia Gillard goes, the Australian Indian community will lose a big supporter at the top helm. She has single handily given the relations with India a great boost and has tried hard to improve bilateral relations between India and Australia, which had gone South during the Rudd years.
Her reversal of Uranium exports to India, her presence at the Australia India UIA Fair in Sydney and Diwali celebrations in Canberra was the start of a great love relationship with the Indian community. Never before has any Prime Minister warmed up so much to the Australian Indian community.
Under her stewardship we had more than 30 Federal Ministerial visits to India which is unprecedented and commendable. She was virtually mobbed during the Australia India Fair and appeared to be warm and accessible at all times she interacted with the Indian community. The love relationship with Julia Gillard had just begin and showed signs of great promise.
Unlike Gillard, both Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd have not yet warmed up to embracing the Australian Indian community openly.
Kevin Rudd initiated the ban on Uranium sales to India and arbitrarily stopped Australia’s participation in the 4 nation war games in the Indian Ocean to keep China in a good mood. He never appeared in any major Indian function in Australia. Though he appeared to be more Asian friendly, it was more skewed towards the Chinese community.
Tony Abbott appeared last year in an AIBC function and laid down his vision for the relationship and played upon his student experiences of travelling in Bihar and Kashmir in India. With a keen interest in India from Australian businesses, he is most likely to continue having a healthy partnership with India.
If Tony Abbott becomes the next Prime Minister, one the greatest irritants in his relationship with the community will be Kevin Andrews, the former Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in the Howard government. Kevin Andrews used Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef as an election ploy in 2007. After the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped all charges against Mohamed Haneef, Andrews controversially revoked the visa of Haneef on character grounds.
Mohd Haneef settled the matter after getting damages for an undisclosed amount, but the thick skinned Kevin Andrews never ever offered an apology for his shameful behaviour. To have the same person back as an Abbott confident and Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services will be seen as a blow to the Australian Indian Community.
While developing relations with India is a priority for our community, our primary consideration should be to vote for the person who is able to provide strong governance to Australia in the long run.