Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Get Rooty-ed

Once again, all eyes are on the suburb/RSL known as Rooty Hill, with the next leaders' debate taking place there tonight. For reasons that are still as yet unclear to me, politicians, especially the Liberals, love returning again and again to this place. Probably because Abbott's particular brand of 'nuanced' politics plays so well to the popular conception of Western Sydney, that is, a xenophobic and uneducated outer suburban backwater. "Stop the boats," and the crowd roars.

Of course there is much more to Western Sydney. It's just that subtle realities don't play particularly well in 6 second soundbites. To label an entire urban slab as an homogenous region is crazy in this day and age, where commuters may live in the 'burbs and commute to the city, and vice-versa. Besides, Western Sydney is "west" by default, because there's a big fuckoff ocean to the east which doesn't make for good living. 

The real debate today, however, will be the one that receives far less coverage. The treasurers' debate between Treasurer Chris Bowen and his Shadow Joe Hockey is probably the one of most consequence for Australians. It might even give us some idea of how the coalition will really act in government. Will it be "end of the age of entitlement" Joe, or will it be generous "Paid Parental Leave" Joe; "Budget Crisis" Joe, or "business tax cut" Joe? Both major parties are harbours of contradiction and paradox espousing a particular view in one breath and taking it away with the next. With the coalition leading in most polls, there should be greater scrutiny on their costings, or lack thereof. Whether Mr. Hockey releases more information today remains to be seen. They'll want as little real scrutiny paid to their costings as possible. The Liberal Party has a right to be in government and they won't be put off by something as trivial as fudged numbers. That's to worry about once in executive power. 

Unfortunately, these paradoxes are unlikely to be on the minds of "undecideds" at Rooty Hill tonight. The questions will likely be framed around, as I've written previously, "what are you going to do for me?" Small business owners, frustrated by the misery of their chosen profession, will ask what government is going to do to make things easier for them. After all, cost of business is rising, having to pay peaky things like wages, taxes and superannuation. As a famous US President once said, "we choose to go to the moon". He also said something else more relevant to today's undecideds, but I'll leave you to find that yourself. 

Some things you really should do for yourself.  

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