We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Voters' choice: a fast track to change or the status quo

1 0 0

The latest Liberal Party mass mail-out to supporters on Friday was headed "the choice is clear". It certainly is. The old complaint that the two main parties were too alike, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, that you couldn't tell the difference, does not apply at next Saturday's election.

The Coalition is offering the status quo for another three years. Labor is offering an enormous program of change.

Labor is pitching a big choice next Saturday. Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

It's in the leaders' rhetoric, again and again. Prime Minister Scott Morrison often begins his remarks by saying, "Australia is the best country in the world", reminding voters that the status quo is not a terrible thing for most. He quickly goes on to urge voters not to "risk it" by supporting Labor.
Labor leader Bill Shorten, on the other hand, taunts Morrison by asking whether everything is so perfect in Australia today.

"We hear from the government: nothing to see here, no problem, move along, please," Shorten said in the Wednesday leaders' debate. "Climate change, child care affordability, first-home buyers, no problems in Australia. They want three more of the same of the last six years."

Labor's Friday commitment to a bullet train was emblematic. The proposed high-speed rail link from Brisbane to Melbourne, running through Sydney and Canberra, is a potent symbol of progress.
In the years that Australia has been quibbling about whether to build one or not, the Chinese government has built a network of high-speed train lines more than 20,000km long. And Japanese firms are building a high-speed rail network for India.

Europe, Japan, China and India will have modern, fast systems, while Australia, one of the richest nations on earth, clunks along with 19th century rail technology. The airlines aren't complaining – the Sydney-Melbourne air corridor is one of the three busiest in the world as travellers are denied a useful rail line.

Labor's Anthony Albanese announced the allocation of $1 billion to begin buying land along the proposed route. It would be, he said, an "economic game-changer for communities along its path, including the Gold Coast, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Southern Highlands, Canberra, Wagga Wagga and Shepparton".

The Coalition has its own plan for high-speed rail but on a less ambitious scale. It has committed so far to build a link from Melbourne to Geelong.


© Brisbane Times