Allan Takes Aim Blog

In 2016 why not try another Liberal Government in the ACT?

Posted on: 1 April 2013

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In 2016 why not try another Liberal Government in the ACT?


It’s my belief that the older people get the more risks they should take particularly when it comes to politics. Unfortunately, in this area, many older Canberrans seem averse to taking a risk thus making a change of Government in the ACT difficult, though not impossible. I find this odd because Canberra, often touted as a city that wants to keep up with change, seems determinedly attached to electing Labor Governments.

I always have difficulty in writing the word Labor, often misspelling it Labour. Indeed I dislike the word Labor because it suggests that contrary to the party’s philosophy U – by that I mean the community- are less than important. So be it if people disagree with me, but I think the day that the Labour Party adopted its new spelling of Labor was the start of  Australia’s Americanisation, a process that has continued for just over a century.

You might think the spelling of word a rather tenuous reason for this suggestion. But the fact is that Australia has grown by using the same method of attracting migrants as did America in its early days although the British Government sent minor criminals to Georgia. However, when this stopped Australia took Georgia’s place. Eventually the practice of sending them to Australia also stopped.

But even before the practice stopped the mantra used to attract new migrants to Australia was, that Australia as a mirror image of America, was a land of opportunity where your industry could make you wealthy. What the mantra didn’t say, was that Australia would end up facing the same problems as America in its guise of the United States of America. faced later.

It could be argued also Australia’s Federation is based on the US model of federation.  But the fact that history shows Federations as not somehing to shout about. The USSR has collapsed and China is facing difficulties as is the UK and European Union. The Indian Federation also collapsed some years ago while collapse is impending in some Middle Eastern Federations.

It says little for the countries involved that their politicians lacked both knowledge of history and enough common sense to know that trying to force countries into federations is the same kind of exercise  as trying to fit square pegs into round holes.  It doesn’t work. Indeed the very diversity of the human race prevents it working. Social engineering will never create the homogenous societies so beloved of politicians.

I have taken a long way round but am now back in Canberra which is less a city than a social engineering experiment. For some older people the city works well while for other older people who have lost the spirit of adventure necessary for survival in a developing country like Australia it works less well.

For them, Canberra had become a comfortable nest from which they could venture to and from without difficulty. However the nest has grown and ceased to be as comfortable and less navigable. In many ways it has become a prison for them. As for many young people Canberra has simply become a stop on the way to somewhere else.

Nonetheless, from its start, Canberra has benefitted from the social engineering philosophy that underpinned its national capital status. As a planned capital its main job was to impress on foreign visitors rather than its peer group that Australia was a country on the up. The unfortunate result of this approach was the latter took the view that Canberra was home to fat cat public servants more interested in themselves than in fellow Australians.

That said Canberra carried on as a city of social engineering until 1988 when shocked into reality when the Federal Government made it self-governing. This was a shock because it meant it would need to be run on big business lines which would be a problem in a city that had few people with knowledge of how to run a big business.

For the last 23 years Canberra has staggered along. Most Governments in that time have been majority and minority Labor Governments – the latter in coalition with the Greens. However, it is generally agreed that Canberra’s most successful Government was the Liberal Government led by Kate Carnell.

That said, provided current Liberal Members of the ACT Assembly show the electorate that Kate Carnell was not just a flash in the pan and demonstrate competence and unity perhaps in four years voters might be inclined to give another Liberal Government a go.

Comments welcome.   




4 Responses to "In 2016 why not try another Liberal Government in the ACT?"

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