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Friday, 16 July 2010

Bob Ellis in The Drum paints a dark portrait of defeat for Julia Gillard if she calls the election now. On Twitter, Ellis' fellow ABC commentator Marieke Hardy applauds the screed for its "beautiful turn of phrase" and promises that her heart would continue to swell every time Ellis writes and publishes. It is, indeed, a compelling piece and a well thought-out one.

A lot of people don't like the Liberal Party and these punters - Ellis included - fear a return of the Libs above all else. They fear the fear-saturated pronouncements aimed at stifling any progress in society toward a better future. They fear the small-minded parochialism and the obsession with money above all else. They fear the powerful being given a free rein in the ongoing and practical debate about the place of regulation in society.

But I think Ellis is over-salting his stew. My personal prognosis vis-a-vis the election outcome if Gillard calls it tomorrow is less sour. For me, the big issue is not whether the Liberal Party or the Labor Party wins the election. The bigger issue is how the Australian Greens will fare.

This is because, as Gillard has shown amply since she took the helm of government, the two major parties are as one on a lot of issues that really matter. The Labor Party has done practically nothing in terms of renewable energy, for example. They have thrown homosexuals to the wolves by denying them the ability to marry. And they have chucked buckets-full of pabulum at the xenophobic minority by mooting a refugee processing centre in East Timor.

They have, in fact, done nothing the way they should have done as a progressive party. The 18 percent that the Greens are said now to command seems secure as long at the Labor Party does nothing on climate change, for a start. Given that the election will be called sooner rather than later, it seems there will be no time for that debate to play out, again, in the media. In fact, they do not want to go there because the Labor Party has already said that nothing will happen on climate change until the Kyoto Agreement runs out, in 2012.

Gillard is not one to go against the party line. Not in any way, shape or form.

So it seems that we will be led, for the next three years, by a conservative government either way the chips fall: blue or red. The difference will make itself felt in the number of people who defect from Labor to the Greens. I await the next poll eagerly.

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