Monday, August 23, 2010

Take me to your leader?

OK, I've calmed down a bit. So I'm ready to make some comments on the election (or lack of election) for anyone interested at all (be prepared, this will be long and boring).

Here's what happened in a nutshell. We had 12 years of the most hateful, mean, conservative government (Liberal/Coalition) that was finally tossed out in 2007. Just as the new government (Labor) took office the GFC went down and the world threw a collywobble. The government spent up big on urgently put together stimulus packages aimed at keeping the economy bobbing along and it worked, Australia did better than any other Western economy. But the problem is that since no-one lost their job or had to go without a new plasma TV, the public didn't believe that we had narrowly missed a recession. So the Liberal party (a definite misnomer) managed to convince people that the government had squandered heaps of money  and bungled the administration of these hastily put together schemes. The other thing that happened is that since Labour had a majority it attempted to put through some very bold and noble reforms; tax reform to try to stop big, multi-national mining companies taking all their multi billion dollar profits offshore and a tax on carbon emissions (ETS). There were other issues concerning factional infighting in the Labor party and the Liberal party showing their puppet masters (big business and Rupert Murdoch) and appealing to a very ugly side of Australian psyche (the racist nationalist thug).

So we went to the polls...and...
We still do not have a leader and the two major parties look like having 72-73 seats each in the House of Representatives. 

Stalemate! Otherwise known as a Hung Parliament. And there's me blowing raspberries at the other 50%...

So now it's all down to 3 ex-National Party  (think, farmers) independents that hold the balance of power and are being wooed by the major parties to form a minority government. The 4th non-major representative is from the Greens (hooray) and has already pledged allegiance to the Labor Party. Fortunately two of the three seem like reasonable men (both believe in action on climate change, one is an Amnesty International member and a White Ribbon Ambassador for the prevention of violence against women!). They both want what's best for Australia as a whole with a focus on country region issues and that's fair enough.
One is, however, an out and out fruitcake! Bob Katter is a climate sceptic who has espoused some horrible misogynist, racist and anti-gay views in the past. He (Katter) seems to think that they will be acting as a bloc and will all go together on whoever they decide will form government, but on paper, I must say they sound like chalk and cheese.

I am bemused by all the comments that suggest the "electorate" are voting for a change in the way parliament is conducted (even if as a result of this 50-50 split a change to processes will happen). As though the "electorate" is a sentient and rational being that has voted accordingly! A lot of the anti-Labor vote in Queensland seems to be out of a "state or origin" mentality that was miffed at the treatment of one of their own, Kevin Rudd. I think we are far too invested in sport and the resulting cross-state rivalries in this country and it flows into our political thinking, grow up people!

Some really good things have happened though; the huge Green vote means that a lot of people want action on climate change and presumably more compassionate treatment of asylum seekers and; Wilson ("Ironbar" need I say more) Tuckey and Stephen Fielding (both even bigger and more frightening fruitcakes than the one mentioned above) have lost their seats! And some icing on the cake is that Tony Cook who won the seat off Tuckey will not join the Liberal/Coalition (as they assumed) making him another independent and taking another seat off the Liberal party.

A most atrocious thing for me is that the informal ("donkey") vote is up to around 6%. Shame on you.
OK enough now, I'm off my soapbox (I've probably put you to sleep). As long as the conservatives and Tony Abbott don't get in, I'll be happy enough and we'll no doubt be heading back to the polls in the next 12-24 months when a double dissolution is caused by the failure to get a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme through. Hopefully next time around we can have a more positive outlook for the country's future.

I'm not sure why our cats like blowing raspberries so much! Must be picking it up from me!


  1. Ahhhh... so nice to hear a sane voice. Today one of the kids was calling Julia an A One Ranngatang! What?????!!!! I asked incredulous. She is a pointy nosed ranga that wants to stop us from fishing. Pardon? Dad hates her because he likes to fish and so do I.
    I couldn't help it and said something along the lines that that is all well and good for his father but it is going to be very unfortunate for him and children in the future when there are no fish left in the oceans to fish because no one stopped the greedy fishermen completely depleating the fish stocks and that although julia may have red hair she is an intelligent and articulate person.
    I know I shouldn't I should be impartial but I just couldn't help myself!!!!!

  2. Ugh! Having 3 wonderful beautiful red-headed children, I HATE it when people use that term! Good for you for telling him what's what...imagine, for that particular parent, fishing is more important than the education of his own child!

  3. I know, I was appalled! I mean I have made derogatory comments about Abbot but about what he stands for not for his physical attributes.

  4. Totally fascinating to me. In a sad way, it's comforting to know that my country's government is not the only screwed up one in the world. We don't hear much about the details as you've described. We have primaries here in September and major elections in November. I'm nervous. If you've heard anything about the "Tea Party" in the US, you might know why. They make me sick.

  5. We probably get a lot more press on the state of things in the US than you do about us. To give you an idea, our previous Conservative PM was the little "deputy" and best friend of Mr Bush. The current Conservatives are all the same party,just a different leader. What they stand for goes so totally against my grain, it makes me sick too.
    I think that Obama is suffering under the same problems that our Labour (Democratic) Party had, they inherited an awful mess just as the stuff hit the fan and they are getting the brunt of the blame. I saw an interesting documentary last night about the danger of a bigger economic meltdown on the horizon. The documentary missed some points though I think.They lumped targetted stimulus packages in with bank bailouts. They didn't seem to get the point that spending money an a new footpath at Rodeo Drive was NOT about the people shopping in Rodeo Drive but the workers getting paid for doing the work....Like I said the stimulus worked here. I don't know what else Obama could have done there - I s'pose the Republicans would prefer the workers to starve and go homeless?
    Anyway, interesting times here as the 3 Independents (basically Conservatives) who have 130,000 votes between them have the power to put in a government (that's out of 11 million votes)...strange days!

  6. I completely agree that Obama inherited a mess & is taking the blame. I find it a scary situation. It sounds like yours is similarly nerve-wracking!