Through out this election campaign I have repeatedly asked people in person and via social media, if you’re voting Liberal, what are you voting for? To date not one person has given me a reasoned, rational response to that question.
The big issue I have with the liberal party in this election is that, more than ever before, they have become a party of extremes. It began when they elected Abbott as their leader, a man renowned since his uni days for his strongly held, somewhat extreme, views. Under Abbott the Liberal party have become a slogan-chanting mockery of the social and economic conservatives they once were.
As I far as I can tell, there are three main categories of people who will be voting for the liberal party in this election.
The wealthy: those people who are so rich that the tax cuts and relaxed regulations proposed by the coalition will help them earn or save millions, if not billions, through reduced operating costs, tax cuts, etc.
The selfish: if you are a middle class professional earning six figures or higher, then the coalition’s policies will probably be of some small personal financial benefit to you. The fringe benefits tax, or the maternity leave package that favours higher earners. However, these relatively small personal benefits come at the cost of massive cuts to funding for education, health and welfare, environmental programs, and the famous 12,000 public sector job cuts. This category of people are those who believe that their personal ability to lease an Audi pre-tax is more important than the social stability and growth provided by all of the other things that will be cut.
The misinformed or outright foolish: sadly, I estimate that the vast majority of people voting for the coalition fall into this category. These are the people who take the coalition’s simplistic slogans at face value with a complete lack of critical thinking. These are the people who believe it’s important to ‘stop the boats’ but can’t say exactly why the boats after bad or offer any meaningful suggestion for how to address issues of refugees in the Asia Pacific without the humanity at thecite ofthe issue. These are people who believe that labor has wracked up too much debt, without recognising the significance of Australia’s economic prosperity through the GFC. People who say they can’t abide the behaviour of labor and won’t vote for a party that would betray it’s own leader, but fail to remember or acknowledge that such a ‘betrayal’ is how Abbott came to lead the Liberal party. In this category of fools you’ll also find the people who oppose the carbon tax on the grounds that they don’t believe in climate change, and are unaware of their own scientific illiteracy.
The great tragedy of this last group is that many of them aren’t in the wealthy or selfish category who will actually benefit personally from the coalition policies, but are too misinformed to know or care about the negative impacts a Liberal government will have on them.
A special mention in this category must be made for those people voting for any party, labor, liberal or otherwise, because that’s what their parents do. I call these people the daddy-issue voters, and in my experience of conservative voters they tend to be the children of accountants and lawyers to whom obedience (and possibly discipline) was more important than individual thought.
I know what I’m voting for this election. I’m voting for education funding under the better schools plan. I’m voting for nation building in the form of the NBN and high speed rail. I’m voting for disability support in the NDIS. I’m voting for marriage equality, and I’m voting against my own personal financial interests for the sake of what I believe will build a stronger, more prosperous nation.
Also, because I disagree with the labor party on issues of refugees, I will not vote for them directly, but ensure my preferences ultimately end up with them out of the two major parties.
So please tell me, Liberal voters, what is it you think you’re voting for?
If you can’t say, then which category of the ones above do you most identify with?