Australian Commentary (33) Queensland or Greece?

The coincidence of the Greek election, and similar trends in Spain, with our state elections is a bit creepy, [arousing] the fear that the Australian electorate may be heading down the same path: refusing to acknowledge our diminishing economic stature, and closing our eyes to what needs to be done. And that leads to the further fear that if that trend is maintained we will see the continued rise of politically ambiguous reckless populism, whether of the Greek kind or our own beloved Clive Palmer’s kind. (David Burchell, senior lecturer in history and political thought at the University of Western Sydney).[1]

People have been voting in elections in some form, for at least 3000 years. When they vote, they reveal what they think, want and value, and Queensland’s election on 31st January was no exception. The Liberal National Party suffered a swing of 12.8%, and has probably lost power to Labor.

The Labor Party?

Yes. It spectacularly lost office 3 years ago, suffering the biggest swing in Queensland’s history (15.6%), after driving the State deeply into debt. The LNP sought to deal with the debt through big cuts to the public service and other spending cuts, and this election was something of a referendum on that policy.

Election results in Australia typically see swings of 3-5 %. This election showed a swing of 12.8%. Why so much?

This is my synopsis. A large proportion of the community really believes in socialism: getting something for nothing. They want access to other people’s money, through the government of course. So, they vote to get it. It’s no different to the Romans wanting Caesar to give them with Bread and Circuses.

Last week, they held up silly placards, like “Jobs, not Cuts.” The inference is that it’s the government’s task to provide jobs for people from taxpayer’s monies. That “Essential Services” (such as Education and Health) must be handled through government instrumentalities, not some profit seeking organisation. As I was told by our Labor candidate, “They might be profiteering for shareholders!”

You would think there is something fundamentally irresponsible with taking steps to balance the budget and get out of debt, but not anymore. Well, not according to some Queenslanders, who think there is a new, wiser way to handle such trifling things as budgets: “Ignore ‘em!”

But this has been the attitude of the Greeks for generations now. That’s why they are broke. The only good that will come out of this for Greece (and possibly for Queensland), is that they will learn that socialism only impoverishes states, and nations.

Am I a great believer in the LNP? Not really. But if my boat’s gone under in the middle of the ocean, I’d rather clamber into a lifeboat that’s leaking from 3 holes, not 13.

Who is going to educate the world in the truth? Surely not political leaders, who plainly have a vested interest in securing an outcome that suits them. And this is where the church has a tremendous mission; to teach the world from scripture what needs to be done, whether it be economically, governmentally or whatever.

The Bible says this:

Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” (Isa.40:9).

The church is going to have to go through the valley of decision, on this issue. What do we want most of all: to continue what we’ve been doing, or to turn in faithfulness to God? And at the end of the day, the kingdom of God must be our primary concern.

And the Biblical promise remains the same:

If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword (Isa.1:19-20)

It’s time we repented, obeyed the Lord, and rolled up our sleeves for the tasks He has prepared for us.