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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 15:51 GMT
Australian voters' panel: Giles Watson
AUSTRALIAN ELECTION
Giles Watson
Name: Giles Watson
Age: 36
Lives: Brisbane
Works: Legal industry consultant

I have a degree in politics and although I have never been directly involved in politics, I have always been interested in watching election campaigns.

Watching the campaign over here and comparing it to England and the US has been particularly interesting.

I will vote for John Howard and the Liberal Party. Not with a great deal of enthusiasm, but because there's no better alternative.

I had high hopes for Kevin Rudd - that he would be economically literate, trustworthy and socially liberal, but he has been more than disappointing on all three counts.

The election is about leadership. The economy, environment, education, childcare and the Iraq war are all in the mix, but I don't think they'll be critical. Everything will come down to people's impressions of Howard and Rudd. Policies are only secondary.

I don't think much is at stake because the opposition are not offering a real alternative
I would like to see a more socially liberal Australia, more tolerant towards immigration, homosexuality, indigenous rights and workplace diversity.

I also think that a better relationship between the states and the federation is needed. I haven't heard anything in this election that gives me hope in either of those things.

The economy is of course vital as well - continuity is very important.

I am fascinated by the election and watch it avidly. It differs significantly from UK elections in a number of ways: weak media scrutiny, campaign flexibility and a state-federal split.

I don't think much is at stake here because the opposition are not offering a real alternative. Rudd, disappointingly, shows no signs of vision or of being more socially liberal than Howard.

Australians kept Howard in for so long because they genuinely want someone who is populist and because they prefer tax bribery to investment in infrastructure. If Rudd gets in it will be because he essentially offers the same.




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