The moment of truth: Ben Eltham on policy implementation after the election


Both major parties have announced policies that will be difficult to implement after the election, writes Ben Eltham in Inside Story.

BARRING a hung parliament, by Sunday morning we should know whether Tony Abbott or Julia Gillard will occupy the Lodge. Given how negative this campaign has been, it’s fair to ask whether either really knows what the first item on his or her agenda will be.

Sure, Gillard has said she will get on with the job and move forward, whatever that means, and Abbott has said he’ll install a boat phone. But in a broader sense neither leader or major party has outlined a particularly comprehensive plan that explains what they will do in government. And many of the promises they have made will be tough – if not impossible – to implement.

Let’s start with the Liberal Party’s twelve-point “action contract.” Point four is “stopping the boats.” It’s a slogan of populist xenophobia which makes many Australians cringe, although it seems to play well in the outer suburbs. But how plausible is it, really?

To accept that Abbott can “stop the boats,” you need to believe a number of things.

Read more on what Ben has to say about this and other major party policies here.

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