Election

So, let me get this straight…

You can start an illegal war based on flawed evidence that most people didn’t believe, then refuse to apologise for it (even when your allies admit their mistakes).

You can pretend the war hasn’t impacted our safety, while security specialists are warning otherwise.

You can form alliances with a party that even the Queensland Nationals describe as “the lunatic right” for Senate preferences.

You can have your ministers carry on like Tony Abbott with his infamous Cardinal Pell interview.

You can lie for political gain about asylum seekers throwing their children off boats. And the following election have the cheek to use the catchcry “Who do you trust?”

You can spam the electorate with phone calls and emails and hand out dodgy How To Vote cards.

Just whatTF do you have to do around here to get yourself voted out?

I mean, I know the incumbents are likely to do well when the economy’s happily bouncing along, but really… a fourth term with an increased majority and maybe even bloody Family First holding the balance of power in the Senate?! Labor’s far from perfect, but after 8 years, I reckon it was time for a change.

Thankfully the voting process itself was relatively painless, even if the queues were lengthy. I knew who I’d vote for… though I did have to think long and hard about who to put last. There was stiff competition between CEC (woo hoo! Maglev monorails!), Family First (pull down Satan’s strongholds), Fred Nile’s party, the DLP and the increasingly tame-looking One Nation.

But the vital question was always going to be: where does one find the polling place with the best sausage sizzle? My nearest polling place is the local Anglican church on the corner. I wasn’t optimistic about the sausage factor there… to my mind churches are more likely to harbour cake and marmalade stalls. I reckon the best places for sausage sizzles are the local primary schools — hard up on cash, and with a big involved parent population eager to do some fundraising. But kudos to the Anglicans, who had the barbecue happily running (as well as a plethora of marmalades and secondhand books). One sausage as sustenance for the voting queue, another as a reward afterwards. You bewdy: lunch taken care of.

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20 Replies to “Election”

  1. It’s the economy (and the kitchen table), stupid!

    On the surface, the economy has done well. Unemployment is down to 1970s levels while workforce participation is higher. Those who own their home have had tens (if not hundreds) of thousands added to their paper wealth. We avoided a slowdown that other countries had post Sept 2001 and consumer confidence is high. And despite the recent drought much of regional Australia is doing well at the moment.

    But our exports have just fallen to less than 1% of the global total for the first time in history. The increased wealth due to housing was fuelled by record borrowings. Savings are at an all-time low and consumer debt has spiralled. And (common with other countries) more people are in casual/contract jobs and fewer in full-time work. But people seem not to be blaming the government for the latter, despite efforts by the ACTU (ACTwho?) to make it an issue.

    People know that politicians lie to stay in power and (apart from Age Readers and ABC listeners) seem not to get too excited by it if they themselves are going along well.

    Our hung senate has stalled the more radical Lib policies (sale of Telstra, unfair dismissal/IR, media ownership). Pardoxically this has made the Howard govt look unoffensive on most domestic issues.

    The biggest tragedy of this election is not that Howard’s government was returned, but that the govt has control of the Senate. This is due to the demise of the Democrats. We need a relatively moderate middle senate party and neither CEC, FF, or greens are it. Though not perfect, the death of the Democrats saddens me as the government will be able to get away with anything, as power concentrates even more on the cabinet and the PM.

  2. Jeez, I’m jealous. I vote in a ritzy hotel. We never have food stalls and barbecues. Oh sure, you can go the the hotel restaurant and pay upscale prices for small plates of food. *sigh* To dream, perchance to eat a sausage while voting.

  3. Very true what you said about the Howard Govt.
    You are lucky to have sausage sizzles we had to vote in the Aussie embassy in Argentina far from any aussie bbq, but luckily there was no lines.

  4. I spent an enjoyable Saturday night watching Toy Story 2 and then Die Hard/The Mummy Returns. I did however spend the ad breaks watching Nine and ABCs coverage.

    What is this perferences thing that happens? I’m confused, one minute labour has a seat by 0.5% then next its a liberal ‘victory’ because of preferences.

    Particle Physics would probably be simpler than understanding the election process here!

  5. Oh well – say bye bye to Telstra, free teriary education, a reasonable government funded health system and the arts. Say hello to a very scary thought that Family First will most likely be holding the balance of power in the Senate (and while they claim to be a bi-partisan party, all their preferences went to the Libs).

  6. It just goes to show – you can lie and cheat the people but as long as you claim that the other side will cause interest rates to rise then your PM forever

  7. i’m a natural pessimist so i expected to be stuck with the horrible little toad of a man for another term – what did surprise me was that the libs may have a majority in the senate!

    but what disturbs me the most about elections is the enormous amount of people who do not understand how the electoral system operates or even *gasp* how to actually fill a ballot paper.

    one of my colleagues was handing out how to votes at a suburban booth on saturday & hundreds of people approached his group throughout the day asking how to go about filling in the ballot – both on the way in *and* on the way out (a little late by that stage!).

    this same colleague was acting as a scruitineer at the same (small) polling place and said there were 5,000 informal votes! just mindboggling!

  8. A couple more comments on the election:

    “and a big thankyou to the Democrats and Labor for preferencing FF ahead of the Greens. You dickheads” — Beth at FridaySixpm.com

    “I don’t want to come back” — my sister, London

    “It’s hard to believe that there are so many knobheads. Next time i’m on the tram i’ll be wondering if the person next to me is one of them” — my friend Mick

  9. The interesting thing is now finding people who will admit to voting for the “lying little rat” for the next three years. after the last election every one I spoke to compained about the Govt yet no one voted for them. SO question is, is our voting system loaded towards the Govt like it use to be up here in Queensland when Sir Joe was the king and ruler here.

  10. Grant. No, the federal electoral system is fair and is not gerrymandered.

    Labor did get more votes than the Coalition in 1998 but they were concentrated in ‘safe’ seats. The same was true in 1990 when Labor’s primary vote plunged but they still retained office due to their marginal seat strategy.

    This time the results were very healthy for the coalition and not so for Labor (with less than 40% of the primary vote). The results are clear even though some people are still in denial.

    So maybe the people you spoke to either lied about their voting intention or were unrepresentative.

  11. As an expat (and ALP member), the election had the opposite effect on me as it did on many people – I’m coming back right away. We’ve got to take the country back before it’s too far gone.

  12. An additional point about the illegal war:

    I, like hundreds of thousands of others, marched against the war. Howard openly and publicly declared he would “not be swayed by public opinion”. To this day I remain furious about that comment – hell that illegal war was to remove a dictator so who TF is he to dictate?

    Not to mention their campaign pushed heavily that interest rates went up under Hawke to 17% and went up to 12% under Keating… given Keating took over directly from Hawke, not just in the next election but took over during Hawke’s last term, how the hell can 17% down to 12% be an INCREASE?

    It was time for change but instead Howard’s been handed total undisputed control now… I agree though, when interest rates go up in coming months (which was going to happen regardless who got in power) it will be interesting how many people suddenly claim they don’t like him despite having voted for him (which they’ll also deny).

  13. I voted for him, I’m proud to say so, proud to say I support someone with the guts to oppose all the bleating shallow stereotypes in this society with all their frivolous trendy crackpot ideas. You don’t have to praise Howard, history will do that.

  14. If John Howard and Peter Costello are as bad as is indicated, what does it ACTUALLY SAY about Mark Latham? It stands to reason that Latham is worse then Howard. Its not rocket science. I am also wondering when the ALP is going to admit they have lost an election. This is John Howards fourth win but every time the Labor (American spelling?) party blames and insults the Australian public. Who would want to be governed by that?
    No ones perfect. But isnt it obvious yet that Mark Latham is worse than John Howard? Did anyone belive the so called “Nice” campaign? I admit im easily confused, but the facts stand.

    John Howard = Bad
    Mark Latham = Worse

    End of story. Get over it!

  15. I consider myself a swinging voter, not aligned to any particular party or side of politics, but I voted for little Johnny for the 4th time in a row even though I really felt it was time to change governments. I had no confidence in Latham and the Labor party to effectively manage the country for the next 3 years. I’m not comfortable with a great deal of what the Libs have done over the past 8 years but I think they were the lesser of 2 evils at this election. I would love to see the Labor party consolidate over the next term and be READY to take government next time. I for one would not need a lot of convincing to swing my vote.

  16. C’mon, my local school was doing an enthusiastic trade in Krispy Kreme donuts, ‘specially trucked in for the occasion. Go Democracy & Free Trade !

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