Sunday, November 25, 2007

A mandate for change or steady as she goes?

Reading the recent commentary in the Australian newspapers about the results of the recent election, I am struck by how many of the journalists and opinion columns along with a majority of the ALP and unions believe they have been handed a mandate for change.

But has Kevin Rudd* really receive a mandate for change?

Remember that Rudd campaigned on being just as safe as the Howard government. That does not speak to me as a mandate for change but rather a steady as she goes. The Australian population expect that employment will remain at 30+ year lows, that inflation won't get out of hand and in general things will keep ticking over nicely forever. Rudd will need to be extremely wary about making and changes that upset the apple cart. The voters are going to hold him to the being fiscally conservative.

This includes WorkChoices.

What the voters voted for is more of the same but with a spit and polish of the government. They did not vote for radically change.

The advantage is Kevin Rudd does have the personal power having dragged the ALP into the centre and one an eletion to resist the more strident and economically irresponsible ideas of the unions.

* Yes Australian electorate voted for Kevin Rudd and not the ALP.

Update: Paul Sheehan of the SMH has in interesting article that supports my point although he goes into more depth and draws a longer bow than I am willing.