There is no doubt that the Gillard government has been one of the most incompetent federal governments in living memory at the business of politics. Time and time again they seem to be unable to capitalise on their good government outcomes .
Just take the news over the last couple of weeks on unemployment figures. If you listen to Tony Abbott, and watch him in his magical mystery tour around the factories of the nation, you would think the country is going to hell in a hand basket. This is backed up by what seems to be an almost daily occurrence of announcements of layoffs from a variety of different enterprises in a variety of different industries. But in spite of all this, last week when the latest unemployment figures came out there was in fact a drop in unemployment numbers by 47000. If you add up all the publicly announced layoffs this year, they amount to less than 10,000 job losses nationally. This means there was, a net increase for January 2012 of some 57,000 jobs.
Don’t you think this should have given Gillard and her ministers the opportunity to explain there is nothing wrong with the Australian economy, and what we are going through is a market driven adjustment process where resources are being re-distributed from inefficient to more competitive industries, which protects people wages, and leads to an increase in productivity and wealth in the long run. “What our job is, is to help this adjustment along by providing assistance both to industry and individuals to get this done…..etc etc etc” It is not rocket science in communications terms, and yet the government was almost totally silent on the issue.
They could also use past experience of these types of adjustments where those affected have come out the other side in a so much better position than they were before. One of the most outstanding example is Newcastle on the central coast of NSW. When BHP closed their steelworks there, there was massive outcry and a protest asking for subsidies to keep it open, much like there accompanying so many of these layoff announcements in the present day.
Fortunately the government of the day did no such thing. Today, the smoke-stack industries are gone, but Newcastle has never been so prosperous. Situated as it is as the gateway to the Hunter Valley, with its very fast growing mining and primary industries, it has become a hub for service industries and is one of the more prosperous economies in Australia.
Surely it is not beyond the federal government to get some clever PR company to tell this story as relevant to what is going on at the moment.