26 Nov 2010, Comments (14)

Why I’m not voting Labor tomorrow

Author: Helen

OK. I know some of you readers work for the Labor government or are Party members and are people I like and respect. So, this may cause pain to a few of you, and I apologise for that in advance. If you’re a “labor insider”, you might like to stop reading now. Alternatively, you might gain some pointers as to why you’re losing so many votes to the Greens.

I’ve never been a swinging voter. From the time I was old enough to vote I was a rusted-on Labor voter. Rusted on. Here are just a few of the reasons I won’t be voting for them in the next State election and why I haven’t been able to do so for some time.

Because they won’t commit to a properly funded and resourced public education system and instead, they tinker around the edges instead of fixing the structural problems that our public system faces. This seems to be because they aren’t in their own system’s corner. Instead, they allocate an extra 40% of funding to private and Church schools – a huge slap in the face to the parents who are sending their kids to public schools. And while developers and real estate agents and “consultants” buy new BMWs, they treat our teachers like shit.

Because they have set city against country people by building a pipeline from the already overstressed Murray Darling Basin to Melbourne, which many city people don’t want and which is an environmental disaster from start to finish. Because they are building a huge white elephant in the form of a desalination plant which will be run at least in part on fossil fuels such as coal and gas. Because when the rains came recently, instead of keeping water restrictions, they eased them and then published a photo of John Brumby happily washing a car. Way to make country people hate us.

Because they have signed a memorandum of agreement allowing their police force to pass confidential details of protesters to the consortium building the desalination plant.

Because their “planning” minister, Justin Madden, gives a tick to any project which the consortiums and developers want, over the objections to any informed protest, destroying priceless environmental and architectural treasures as he goes. They plan for sham consultations and then add insult to injury by trying to paper over this by starting a “department of respect”, headed by…? Justin Madden!

Because they are so much in bed with the Roads lobby that they can’t see beyond the construction for roads, roads and more roads, especially freeways. Oh, god are they in love with freeways. As well as the social and environmental damage caused by poorly planned developments there’s the opportunity cost of all the money that isn’t spent on public transport.

Because, speaking of public transport, they spent $775-850 million on the MYKI project, which still isn’t working properly. Rolling stock and infrastructure, meanwhile, is run down and neglected and many Melbourne suburbs limp along with only unreliable and infrequent buses. Those of us lucky enough to live near public transport are still packed in like sardines and subject to train cancellations and random system malfunctions. Meanwhile, our taxes are pissed up against a wall with nearly $50 million spent on a car race.

Because all these bloated projects are carried out through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) which represent an orgy of profit for developers and unions with sufficient muscle to extract a fair share of that profit. Because they accept donations from the people who profit. Because this is a symptom of how your “party of the workers” has adopted neoliberal, corporatist, managerialist values. As the title of the linked article says, they’ve become a Labor party in name only. Because these are steps down the disastrous road of privatising our most basic needs, like tap water.

Because they encourage urban sprawl, ignoring boundaries set out by wiser governments and destroying the Green Wedges, urban boundaries and city parklands that made Melbourne livable.

Because they broke their 2006 election promise to protect the last remaining significant stands of old-growth forest in Victoria, gazetting acres of low-value vegetation for “protection” while continuing to chainsaw Victoria’s old-growth forest, like the cool temperate forest of Brown Mountain. They mouth platitudes about “sustainable” forestry while leaving areas a smoking ruin which a Supreme Court judge, Jack Forrest (heh) compared to the battlefield of the Somme.

Clearfelling at Brown Mountain

Because although they got rid of Stephen Newnham, they have kept their dirt unit under the new guy, Nick Reece, doing stupid stuff like this. “Super Attack”? How old are their staffers, twelve?

Because “don’t criticise Labor because the Liberals might get in, and they’re worse,” doesn’t really inspire me, and that’s pretty much the best their supporters can come up with.

Now I’ve run out of time, but not out of reasons.

See you at the polling booth tomorrow.

Comments (14) »

  • Wonderfully put. I’m with you. The Greens campaign along the lines of ‘my values haven’t changed, my vote has’, has been a meaningful one for me. It’s certainly more effective than the “I like Pike” placards in my neighbourhood. I don’t dislike Pike, she’s not a bad person but if they are running a personality campaign, I’ll choose the human rights barrister any day.

    “Like” just doesn’t cut the mustard.

    Perhaps the close call between lab and lib right now is the lack of differentiation between them? Both couldn’t give a stuff for environment, both prop up private schools and the churches. Neither has any real interest in the huge social inequalities in Victoria.

    OK, am off to vote now!

  • Pen says:

    Not a Victorian at present, but your list is exactly the same as mine would be. I hope someone starts listening.

  • ThirdCat says:

    Indeed. I think the thing they (ALP people) don’t realise is how very sad it makes me feel to not vote for them.

  • Kath Lockett says:

    Hear hear! Even our house has Vote Green placards festooned all over it!

  • G Factor says:

    So… How’s that prediction about Labor losing “so many” votes to the Greens going? 🙂

  • M-H says:

    So how do you feel about the outcome then? If it’s a Liberal govt, will that be better? (I find it hard to believe that it will!) I must admit to being completely bemused by the election (watching from Sydney). Was it the lack of lib preferences that prevented the Greens getting some seats?

  • Helen says:

    Yes, there’s a lot of gloating from some labourites today about the Greens not doing as well as planned and Labor’s wi… oh wait.

    The tweedledum and tweedledee factor would have worked in two ways IMO. For the politically disconnected (There’s no one who speaks for me and the Greens/Independents/whoever don’t have the numbers) and the Labor “browns” (Labor are Liberal lite, I’ll vote for the real thing this time.)

    Under a Baillieu liberal government, it will be pretty much business as usual (development, development, boosting private and religious education) except that Victoria’s iconic forests are now doomed. 🙁

  • Chris Grealy says:

    It looks in the wash up that the lost votes didn’t go to the Greens at all, so some assumptions may have to be revised there.

  • Brownie says:

    Thank you Helen for your articulate summary.
    Thirdcat’s comment goes for me too, although I stopped voting Labor 2 elections ago.
    Depressingly, I am enrolled in an electorate which needs an 11.6% swing to unseat the LIB, and has only been held by another party once, briefly.
    I wish LIB and ALP were wise enough to interpret every single Greens 1 vote, as giving The Finger to all other candidates.

  • G Factor says:

    Yes, Chris does make a good point!

  • Helen says:

    True, G Factor, I was RONG. and Victorian forests and alps are now doomed.

    Although if you and CG are labor insiders, which your gleeful rubbing-in suggests, I wonder why they considered the Greens enough of a threat to spread distortions and outright lies about them (as they did in the last election) and I wonder how well they might have done without the dirty pool from parties with more money, and MSM portrayals as a bunch of Dirty Hippies.

  • Chris Grealy says:

    I’m a Labor insider eh? Gleeful rubbing in? Sounds like projection to me, and don’t take that the wrong way 🙂

  • I always find it very interesting to read about politics in different countries. Especially when there are parties with the same name, that may or may not have other things in common. Interesting stuff; thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • G Factor says:

    I have no partisan leanings, Helen. Economically speaking, I would be more right-wing than you. Socially speaking, I would be similarly left-wing. My only issue is with the quality of political analysis: The hypohesis suggested by your post – ie that the ALP would have done better if only they were more like the Greens – simply wasn’t borne out by the facts.

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