This has to be the most boring election in the history of our country, at a time when we should be trying to address some of the most significant issues Australia has ever faced.
Our democracy, as imperfect as it may be, has at it’s core the opportunity for every adult to decide on who should lead us according to the issues we face individually and collectively.
Yet this election, which will undoubtedly shape at least the next three years and beyond, it doesn’t feel like there is a lot of appetite to really address any of the significant challenges we face.
The increasing cost of living, petrol prices, inflation, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China on the rise, interest rates, Closing the Gap, aged care, family and domestic violence, the rise and influence of Big Tech and climate change are just some of the headline issues I can think of which we deserve to have plans and policies on.
Whilst my critics may say this is a predictable statement, the failure to have any meaningful national conversation on any of these issues falls on the Australian Labor Party and Anthony Albanese.
I say the problem is with the ALP mainly because the Liberal Party and Prime Minister can literally point at the last three years and show a track record that could continue if re-elected.
Whereas it is up to the opposition Labor Party to challenge the status quo and present a different vision to the country.
Yet in all my time, I have never seen a leader of a political party be in the job for so long and yet be so ill-prepared.
Labor and Mr Albanese’s failure to meaningfully advance any of these issues is a let down to our country at a time when we are facing pretty significant problems.
The Labor Party has taken a deliberately dull line on so many matters, hoping to sneak into office by stealth, that they don’t look distinct or visionary in any way at all.
For the past year or so, people have expected a tidal wave of support for the Labor Party, sweeping them into office on a massive majority.
Yet it’s looking increasingly likely that if they win at all, it will be in a minority government negotiating with a bunch of teal “independents”.
Great leaders are visionaries and when it comes to the Labor Party, they’ve had some exceptional contributors who have helped shape our nation as we know it.
Think of the campaigns of Whitlam, Hawke, Keating and Rudd (2007).
You can’t say they lacked a vision for our country nor the courage to tackle big issues.
Mr Albanese in comparison looks like he is scared of his own shadow. He appears too afraid to talk big on anything in the event that he scares off the voters he is desperate to win over.
As a result in this vacuum, the election feels more like a quiz night at the pub rather than a real contest of ideas and ultimately one where the real losers are the Australian public.
- Zak Kirkup is of Yamatji heritage and is the former leader of the Liberal Party in Western Australia