8 thoughts on “Monday message board

  1. Mr Howard promised (at last night’s debate) that there will be no changes to WorkChoices. I wonder how credible it is. The “fairness test” is already under enormous criticism from the business sector. While not an expert on WorkChoices, I am not surprised if administering the fairness test is proving costly to business, and incredibly demanding on the WorkPlace regulator. Even at a political/ideological level it seems unsustainable – how could a right of centre government reconcile itself to such an interventionist role for the WorkPlace regulator?

    WorkChoices seems such a mess, and will remain a mess if the Coalition is serious about not making any further changes to WorkChoices.

  2. The electoral outcomes since 1996 suggest we shouldn’t attach very much importance to election debates as a means of swaying voters’ perceptions of the leaders and their parties. The only exception would be if one of the participants completely crashes and burns, and that didn’t happen last night.

    For example, in previous elections I thought that Kim Beazley and Mark Latham performed much better than John Howard, but in the end it didn’t make a difference. The best that can be said is that their performances reduced/limited the extent of the loss(es) they suffered. But losing by less isn’t much of a positive from outperforming John Howard.

    From observing debates over the years, what’s important is not the substance of the debate, but the reporting of them by the media, and the narrative the media paints.

    And not just here. In the 2000 and 2004 U.S. elections, George Bush was deemed to have “won” the debates by virtue of the fact that he didn’t crash and burn. The soft bigotry of low expectations applied by the media meant that all he really needed do was show that he could tie his shoelaces, and the Heathers in the media took care of slapping down that too clever by half Al Gore and that effete French speaker John Kerry.

    Howard’s Heathers (Dennis Shanahan, Glen Milne and the rest of the conservative commentariat) will score the debate as a win for Howard or at worst a draw. The only comfort, in concrete electoral terms, Kevin Rudd can draw from his performance is that he performed credibly in front national audience. The debate won’t have won him votes, but it won’t have lost him voters either.

  3. Actually, Shanahan didn’t even get so far as calling it a draw (although he couldn’t bring himself to concede a Rudd win), and the normal reliable band of Shanahan supporters all agreed that Howard had comprehensively lost the election. In other letters columns the message was the same – Rudd won, Howard lost and very few would change their votes.

  4. I was delighted that the worm (the only personality of interest) performed brilliantly despite attempts at sabotage. Go worm!

  5. Ky Choong, I notice that the Govt. has recruited backpackers as temporary staff at the Workplace Authority to check Workchoices contracts. This looks like a temporary strategy which could be easily and cheaply dismantled when the election is over. I share your scepticism about its continuation.

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