Fielding, Victoria: The big election story the media missed

Fielding, Victoria

The big election story the media missed‘, New Matilda, 7 July 2016

PhD student writes on the lack of attention during the election campaign to growing inequality. (The Honest History website has collected extensive resources on inequality.) She starts by quoting the ABC’s Ian Verrender on how wealth inequality has led world-wide to political disenchantment – and that the political establishment has missed this trend. She goes on to look at political implications.

For those who were looking, who weren’t distracted by the anti-establishment-rejection-of-major-parties symptom of wealth inequality, there was actually an election campaign going on over this very issue. In fact, the entire election campaign was a battle between Turnbull, representing the neoliberal trickle-down narrative, where tax-cuts-for-capitalists are responsible for “jobs and growth”, versus Shorten, representing the inclusive growth narrative where the consumer-power of lower and middle-income families is the generator of jobs and growth. This consumer power arises from a more equal distribution of wealth, benefiting all. Labor’s narrative goes beyond the old “safety net” concept of welfare for those left behind by a globalised economy, replacing it with an understanding that prosperity is driven by inclusion; by not leaving anyone behind.

Fielding believes the electorate has cottoned on, however.

Voters know personally how important education, access to healthcare, a fast NBN, public transport, environmental protection and renewable energy, penalty rates and childcare funding are to their everyday cost of living, and their ability to compete in an economy stacked in favour of the rich. That is why, even with a low primary vote, Labor has still managed, through voter preferences, to put themselves close to a winning position.

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