I let my last post (A Noddy's guide to Coalition vs Labor policies - part one) stand for some time, Since then, Ms Gillard has announced her intention to go to Indonesia to try to solve the boat problem and foreshadowed an inquiry into into workplace discrimination against women taking parental leave when they are pregnant or caring for a baby. Meantime, Mr Abbott has announced a new process for the best way of encouraging Australian Northern Development.
In all this, it's actually very difficult to focus on the real differences between the two sides. I suppose that's inevitable in a convergence world where policies are fine tune to shifting public opinion.
In my last post I wondered where the Nats stood in all this. The National Party is the second part of the Federal Coalition. In the past, the Country/National Party stood out as a distinct entity to the point that they were seen to be wagging the Liberal dog. That is no longer true, although we saw in Western Australia how an independent National approach could still bring about real change.
So what about the Nats? Do they have a role beyond a sometimes special interest group arguing for regional Australia? Here their web site states:
The Nationals plan for regional Australia is built on strong economic management and a fair share forthe regions.
As the one party dedicated to the one third of Australians who make their homes, work or business in the regions, our concern for the future increases every day Labor remains in Government.
Our first priority in government will be to restore the Budget surplus and repay the huge debt Labor has amassed.
We will put an end to Labor’s reckless spending, and secure a fair share of investment in regional Australia.
We want to ensure that all Australians have fair access to services like health and education and critical infrastructure such as good roads and telecommunications to truly unlock regional Australia’s potential.
As Nationals, we commit ourselves to delivering a fair go for all Australians – no matter where you live.
For the 2010 election The Nationals adopted a policy platform comprising 15 plans. This was built on at The Nationals Federal Council meeting in August 2011 when it was agreed to incorporate a further 5 plans into the platform. The 20 plans now form the basis of The Nationals Policy Platform for the 2013 Federal Election.
This is a living document and we welcome feedback from Party members, members of the public, industry, business, employee and professional organizations.
You can see the WA influence, but you can also see the lock-in to the Libs. So what are the Nationals 20 plans? You will find them here. To further discussion, have a look. Where do the Nats stand out from the Libs? What is the distinctive National Party approach?