On November 29th Victorian voters will probably kick out the Napthine Liberal-National coalition government with a hefty boot.
A Labor victory will have more to do with a protest at the poor record of the Victorian coalition government plus rejection of the Abbott federal government austerity budget, than wholehearted embrace of Labor policies.
This will be in keeping with the common trend in recent Australian elections of kicking out disappointing governments “to give the other mob a go.”
It’s common because public disenchantment is common with all state and federal governments, whether Liberal or Labor.
They all kow-tow to big business, to the multinationals, to the corporate media monopolies, to the vested interests that control capitalist society in Australia. Even when they throw a few crumbs to the working people, they all make sure that, at the end of the day, the rich get richer and the poor stay in their place.
This time, many Victorians are particularly angry at the Napthine government’s cuts to services, especially schools and hospitals, as well as the ongoing crisis in the ambulance service.
Many are angry at the lack of support for renewable energy initiatives to combat climate warming and the re-direction of funding into so-called “clean coal”.
They are sceptical of Napthine’s grandiose East-West Tunnel scheme which will suit the road transport operators if Westernport goes ahead, but will not solve congestion issues in the rest of Melbourne.
As for the rest of the state, there is considerable anger in regional towns at the cut-backs to TAFE and lack of maintenance to public schools. Towns are shrinking as manufacturing and processing jobs disappear and the unemployment rate for those under 25 years pushes up towards to 25%.
Labor, for its part, has paid more attention to health and education issues, and its own grandiose plan for the Melbourne Metro underground and elimination of level crossings contrasts somewhat to Napthine’s road-fixated vision.
However, both grandiose plans are somewhere over the horizon and Melbourne people will continue to choke in traffic jams for years to come. Socialism could fix it, capitalism can’t.
In this election the Greens will again pick up a good proportion of the disaffected votes, in spite of being marginalised and ridiculed by the monopoly media and denied preferences by the major parties. In the past, their best chance has been the Legislative Assembly, but here again a host of single issue parties are stitching up preference deals to lock out the Greens, or at least deny them the so-called “balance of power”.
The Greens play this game of preference deals also. In spite of many connections with grass-roots campaigns, the Greens have swallowed the parliamentary bait hook, line and sinker.
Labor will probably get in, but don’t hold your breath waiting for radical changes. They might get to steer the good ship “Victoria” for a while, but it is owned by big business, who set the course and speed, determine the cargo, and toss overboard anything or anyone who is surplus to their profiteering.