Promises, promises

“The new government has failed to deliver on its election promises.”

These are words we so often hear thrown around the political sphere and today especially, the day after the Coalition announced Budget 2014.

From election promises to pinky promises and everything in between, broken promises are the bane of my life.

There are entire websites dedicated to broken government promises. Some are rather amusing due to their sheer extreme nature but others rightfully point out government woes. At the last federal election, the then Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott promised no increased taxes under his government. News sites are churning out stories about Prime Minister Abbott going back on his promise. The Age cites Abbott as having “had an epiphany on tax” and that he now understands he should not have made this promise when in opposition. Well Mr Abbott, the Australian public voted you in last year and now it seems your moment of truth is a tad belated. It also seems a bit strange that Abbott, an economics graduate, would fail to understand that with the implementation of new projects, taxes simply must be increased across some sectors of policy.

Of course, it’s not just the Coalition who is an offender of hollow promises. The Australian Labor Party has a mammoth track record all the same. A headline from a Daily Telegraph article reads “Kevin Rudd’s 795 days of empty promises”.

It seems neither party is a stranger to promising airy policies

Now, come back 10 years with me.

In 2004, nine-year-old me knew all too well the feeling of broken promises.

“I pinky promise you $5 if you clean my car,” my cousin said as he grasped my little finger in his. $5 was a lot compared to my $2 a week in pocket money. Eager to receive my end of the promise, I raced to clean the car as fast as my arms would let me.

One hour later and the shiny black vehicle stood sparkling in the sunshine. “I’m finished,” I screamed at the top of my lungs, excited to receive my very first five-dollar note. My cousin looked down at me. “Elise, I… eh… don’t have the money on me right now.” My beaming smile quickly soured into a frown.

Broken promises.

Fast forward to the present day and as a 19-year-old I am no longer hung up on the money I never received.  I do, however, still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach from trusting in an empty promise.

As a university student studying journalism and economics, my mind is attuned to bigger promises. How is the Australian public meant to know which election promise will come to pass and which are presented merely as a tactic to win voters support? History would suggest we might never know.

In spite of this, I would like to make a suggestion. What we as Australians need is a government that embodies our true blue character traits – the spirit of the Anzacs. Several qualities collectively constitute what is described as the Anzac spirit: endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour and, of course, mateship. Mateship embodies equality, loyalty and friendship.

Both major political parties, the Coalition and the Australian Labor Party, boldly declare they make decisions in the best interest of Australians. The Coalition has a plan for “Real Solutions for all Australians” and the Australian Labor Party aims to “involve the people of Australia” in decision-making processes. But as we know from past hollow election promises, our parties are far from loyal to the public.

Somewhere along the road, politics has lost touch with the Australian way. We need Australian politics to return to the characteristics that Australians value the most – loyalty and honesty.

My plea may be a far cry from reality but what I do know is this: Australia does not need another broken promise.  

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