Election 2013

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Ed Chan - Co-founder & Chairman of 'Chan & Naylor'

Whether you are a Liberal or Labor voter or you support one of the minor parties there is no question that this year’s election is no different to prior years as it’s been fought on grounds of negativity and scare mongering.

It’s been proven that scare campaigns works and let’s face it, all parties use it to good effect. Unfortunately Rudd does not have a strong track record to campaign on or point people to and great policies such as the NDIS were Gillard’s work. Rudd is left with nothing to build a campaign on but simply to attack Abbott and run a scare campaign on GST increases and cutting services.

Abbott on the other hand has material to work with, from pink batts to carbon and mining tax, to faceless men and refugees and so on. Rudd is doing an incredible job when one takes into account what he has to work with. From absolute annihilation to a respectable result. May still not win the election but save many Labor seats.

However, what Australians are looking for is strong Leadership. When you go to the polls on 7th September 2013 you will be deciding on the leader who can take us forward and assist in building a strong and wealthy society for all. If anyone wants to question whether Leadership is the main criteria, one need look no further than to what happened to Gillard.

Great leaders are people with integrity and conviction and communicate this convincingly so that even their hardest critics stop to listen. They respect people’s differences but find a common thread that connects and unite  people together. They are not only visionary but they are able to communicate their vision through common sense and well thought out and constructive arguments that convinces and inspires the nation. Leaders are expected to unite and not divide the nation. They are expected to bring people together and put the national interest ahead of their personal interests.

Some of the greatest leaders in the world have demonstrated this.

Nelson Mandela was jailed for believing that all people, no matter the colour of their skin should be treated equally and given equal opportunities. He refused to accept apartheid and spent the next 27 years of his adult life behind bars for his conviction and when he was released and became president of South Africa, the country was on the verge of a civil war. The blacks wanted revenge and many would have sympathized with them after centuries of apartheid.

However despite his own predicament, Mandela said that:

“If we do to them what they did to us we would be just the same as them. We need to be better than them by forgiving the past and moving forward and taking them with us”.

In so doing he was able to unite his nation and side stepped a civil war.  It required a person of great character to have forgiven his perpetrators as did Mandela.

It’s much harder to forgive someone than it is to hate someone.
However what defines us is our ability to do the hard things in life and not the easy things.

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Imagine how forgiving you would be if someone took away 27 years of your adult life when most of us would be extremely upset if someone parked in our car spot. Great leaders like Mandela do what’s right and not simply what’s popular and they have the conviction to hold true no matter the circumstances. They put their people and their country ahead of their own welfare or their own ambitions.

In Mandela’s case he was able to convince his people that they needed to put apartheid behind them, forgive and accept the whites who had not so long ago perpetrated unimaginable atrocities on them.


Australian politicians have only the challenge of being above petty politics and many fail at that. The crux of the failure is poor leadership. We have not had a leader who has led with vision and conviction but rather Leadership via the polls. It became a popularity contest.

If we look at the last 3 years under Gillard you can see where she went wrong. There are divided opinions about Gillard but the polls do not lie. Her popularity was the worst of any prime minister of Australia. Many, like me had a soft spot for her and wanted her to succeed (being our nation’s first woman Prime Minister) but she self-destructed, unable to position herself above the petty politics. As her popularity plummeted she desperately tried anything and turned to “divisive politics”. She made many derogatory comments towards the wealthy people living on the “north shore” and mining magnates etc. and waged “class warfare” amongst Australians. She then created a “gender war” with comments over “blue ties” and misogyny. She was unable to forgive those of her colleagues who had voted for Rudd against her in a failed coup and in so doing forced the resignation of many senior and very experienced ministers on her cabinet such as Martin Ferguson and Simon Crean. She lost a huge amount of experience that was on the right of centre.  She was left with only members on the left (Swan etc.) and without the right balance of both right and left, it swung the Labour Party too far to the left and lost the support of the middle class which are predominantly in the middle.  When the efforts of “class and gender warfare” and ridding her team of “disloyal ministers” did not work, she became more desperate and focused on attacking Abbott personally and relentlessly. This did not work either and her polls continued to fall.

People want strong leadership and her behaviour, rather than being above the negativity became part of the problem and the electorate continued to punish her for her poor leadership. This was extremely unfortunate because Australia lost an opportunity in having our first woman Prime Minister lead the nation into a second term. I, for one was sympathetic and I believed she was able to achieve much, considering her circumstances. She was able to get over 680 new legislation through a minority parliament and that was not easy.

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But what let Gillard down was dividing the nation with class and gender warfare, where leaders  should be there to unite people and not divide them. She may have had a point in how women are treated in modern Australia but how she went about trying to win support for it was completely wrong.

But it supports the fact that Australian’s will put substance and results ahead of gender or ethnicity. The lesson learnt here is that if either Abbott or Rudd wants to become an enduring Prime Minister they need to unite people together and that requires a strength of character that has been missing in past leaders.

Rhetoric that divides the rich and poor, comments that pit men and women against each other or attacking a single industry such as the mining industry which only contributes 8% of the country’s GDP and around 11% of the employment and which already pays 46% income tax through royalties and company taxes when all other industries such as the banking industry or property and building industry only pays 30% tax.

Some other industries are much larger than the mining industry and require much less capital investment and are less risky to invest in whom only pay 30% tax. Some may argue that Abbott was extremely negative himself towards the Labor party.

We need to understand it’s the Opposition’s job  (whether Labor or Liberal) to hold the government to account and it’s the governments job (whether Labor or Liberal) to run good government and to defend their record.

We have seen how governments get away with “blue murder” when the Opposition is weak which ultimately lead to a poorer nation.

One could argue that the O’Farrell government, when in opposition did not hold the State Labor government to account, especially after the recent ICAC inquest uncovered the fraud perpetrated on the people of NSW by the likes of Ian McDonald and Eddie Obeid. Where was the Opposition?

The checks and balances we have in place ensure we have good government and some may even argue that a good government is dependent on a good strong Opposition.

We need a Prime Minister and leader who will put the nation first, one who has vision and an ability to communicate and inspire the nation to follow his or her lead.

One who can embrace the richness of our differences but unite us by a common ideal.


People are crying out for strong leadership.


Good luck to both Rudd and Abbott on the 7th September 2013 and let’s hope whoever becomes Prime Minister shows strong leadership.


Ed Chan

Non-Executive Chairman of Chan & Naylor Accountants




Disclaimer: The above information is for general knowledge purposes only. Please take advice for your specific situation before investing in property. Every person’s personal situation is different and requires a different solution.

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