leadership

Federal election 2013: Prepare for the worst

Colin Benjamin /

Roughly one in six households are still undecided and waiting for their walk down the gauntlet of card carriers to determine where they will allocate their votes.

The decisions of voters who are waiting for the last hours after the announcement of the ‘costs and cuts’ could well lead to a hung parliament and more elections early next year.

This assumes that marginal electors have yet to determine their vote for less government interference in their lives, and greater flexibility for smart companies that are the only real source of  “jobs and growth” presented by both of the major parties.

Their decisions are not likely to be determined by the media moguls promoting their preferred and desired outcomes of the current election, but reactions to a $30 billion black hole reported to have been declared by independent analysts that are unlikely to see the front pages.

A close examination of the responses of the undecideds, swingers, NOTS and DBMs (see last week’s blog) during the two “debates” indicates that they are yet to be convinced to follow the preferred and desired outcomes of the media moguls.

Interviews with the people selected by Galaxy showed that the majority had already come with their voting intentions biased towards a choice between Rudd and Abbott rather than consideration of any of the minor parties.

It is interesting to note that the News Ltd coverage on its print media has been quite clear about the election of a new pro-freedom of the media government since the removal of the erudite Kim Williams. It is less clear that the selection of “undecideds” for the private label cable TV versions of the so-called “People’s Forum” at News Ltd venues in Brisbane was conducted for a media aligned market research company.

We need greater transparency about the prior intentions of audiences that are supposed to represent us at these events.

There is a very locked down perspective of those that are handcuffed to the Coalition and the ALP, but the remainder are yet to be convinced that any of the majors are concerned about their day-to-day issues. Why not have the people in the audience indicate their preferences with a “worm” during the “debates” and have all the major parties present as in the USA?

In the past, we have assumed that the press coverage is relatively even-handed and respectful of the readers’ desire for “fair and frank” coverage. Electors now accept that the business interests of media owners have converted coverage into a campaign for a share of their wallet, the interests of big business and greater benefits for those with the most to lose from ‘socialist” government interference.

The media owners are following up their campaign for greater consolidation of their media empires by establishing their own media measurement system (EMMA). This was achieved by reconstructing the terms of their latest tender for media measurement to achieve a staggering apparent rise in readership of national print to increase the cost of advertising in their inserts. Freedom of the press now means the freedom to tell us how we should vote on behalf of large-scale capital rather than truth and transparency.

Every small business owner should ensure that whoever gets to be their local member at this election knows that they want to see a genuine commitment to the reduction in payroll tax, removal of legal interference in workplace management issues and greater freedom to take on part-time and casual employees.

Otherwise, another six months of electoral uncertainty could be the worst of all outcomes.

Dr Colin Benjamin OAM is the chairman of Cultural Infusion Ltd and director general of the Life: ‘Be in it’ Australia charity.

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