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It feels like election time

By Syd Hickman - posted Wednesday, 7 October 2015

PM Turnbull should call an election soon. There is only one big issue at stake and we need to sort it out as quickly as possible.

When voters stand in the polling booth, pencil in hand, gazing at the ballot, the big choice they will be confronting is simple. Who do you trust most to handle Australia's affairs when global crises of one kind or another eventually hit us?

But when those voters move on to look at the senate ballot the question becomes a bit more delicate. Do you want to give the government control of the senate or do you want to give the opposition or minor parties the power to restrain the government? This second choice in particular will revolve around trust.


The global problems that are creating widespread worry about impending crises are building rapidly. The financial world has pushed back many problems but not dealt conclusively with any of them. Many global banks have grown from too big to fail to too big to save.

Western governments have built up debts that can never be repaid unless there is a huge burst of inflation that would also destroy people's savings. At some point very large parts of most democracies will have to be told that the entitlements they have come to expect can no longer be delivered. Again, problems have been pushed into the near future but not dealt with.

The Islamic nations of western Asia and North Africa have nearly all either collapsed into civil war, gone to war with each other, or reverted to severe repression. Their economies can't support their populations, which have grown massively. Now their middle classes all want to move to Europe, leaving their homelands in an even worse state and creating a crisis for Europe. This situation will inevitably get worse quickly. There are hundreds of thousands on the move now. Soon it will be millions.

Environmental problems will eventually reach crisis levels because we refuse to confront them until they do.

Then there are more specific problems such as Russia's eagerness to create confrontation in Syria to distract everyone, including its own people, from the fact that it is collapsing economically and socially.

As a result, all nations are starting to realise they must make huge changes in their governance, economic structures and social arrangements to accommodate these and other new realities.


As usual, Australia is better placed than most to respond to all this. But it would be very useful to have a competent, imaginative government with a very strong parliamentary position as we make the leap into a rapidly changing future.

A Turnbull government is our only possible hope for achieving this situation in the immediate future. And if it is to make bold decisions it needs to get the election over as soon as possible.

The PM already has a viable election trigger in the Fair Work Amendment Bill. This bill has been rejected by the Senate twice, with the right amount of time between rejections, so Turnbull could go to the Governor General tomorrow and have him call an election.

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About the Author

Syd Hickman has worked as a school teacher, soldier, Commonwealth and State public servant, on the staff of a Premier, as chief of Staff to a Federal Minister and leader of the Opposition, and has survived for more than a decade in the small business world.

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