Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Paper War

I posted a little while ago about this document from Labor.
Since then I've had no luck getting any references from Labor. I've been told that people employed by the two major parties read this blog - if that is true, the Labor-employed ones have been keeping mum.

I've sent several tweets the way of @NSWLabor and even direct to @jrobertsonmp without success. One shadow minister who promised to chase it up for me then failed to do so.

You can make of that what you will.

In the interim, I contacted O'Farrell's office and asked if they had a response. I was, within a matter of minutes, graced with this document:

I still hope to come back to Labor's document and invigilate it thoroughly - but, for the moment, time forbids. What I can do, however, is weigh the two documents against each other and see if one comes up trumps.

For the moment, I am going to leave aside any issues that are only covered by one of the pamphlets. I'm a little more interested in the divergence between the two pamphlets on issues they both see fit to trumpet.

Workers Comp



The divergence is clear. The Coalition's changes hurt injured workers, but resulted in (potentially) reduced workers comp premiums. The position you take on that is essentially an ideological one - although it is worth noting that the Coalition has been unable to communicate the positive on this change, perhaps having adjudged that it will never be popular politically.




Yes. Well. This is a difficult one. There is a great deal of opinion out there that suggests that money spent on first home buyers grants and the like is simply wasted, delivering no actual benefit excepting that it relieves many buyers from the burden of saving for a deposit. I am skeptical that Labor could in any way justify the claim that first home buyers are in any way "locked out" of the market.

It is certainly true that pure supply and demand mismatch is one of the major causes of Sydney's brutal property prices - whether new approvals and land releases will have a material effect on price (as the Coalition begs you to infer) is a difficult to say.

At the end of the day, there is no one right way to deal with the issue. I don't believe that Labor's criticism carries any real weight, but equally I don't think that the Coalition can prove that their approach will have a material effect either. Further, there are negative consequences that flow from land releases that complicate the issue.

Public Transport


I'm going to put aside some pretty serious problems I have with Labor's statistics here. What is clear for the two documents is the Labor is saying "More Expensive!" whilst the Coalition is claiming "Better." There's no way to resolve that definitively.



This is a difficult one. Both parties are guilty of not providing references, and both rely heavily on anecdotes. Labor focusses on overall budget, Coalition focusses on staffing numbers. Which one means better health-care? Who knows.


This one is a little funny.



First of all, Labor is using exactly the same spurious accusation that has been used to such effect by the Federal Coalition.

What I really like is this: the Coalition concedes that the budget position has deteriorated - but their response is "We may be in deficit, but we're in EXACTLY AS MUCH DEFICIT AS WE SAID."

Yeah no.


Both entirely anecdotal. Both prove nothing at all.

So what?

It's impossible to compare the two pamphlets properly. Without references (from either side) I can't check the reliability of the claims. Assuming both tell the truth, each pamphlet simply seems spins the data the way they want.

So we're left with empty assertions and no real evidence. If only we had journalists who had the time and resources to chase up all the details. If only.

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