This rant is the best thing I've read in a while.
Well this is all a bit exciting, isn't it?
No seriously, it's pretty busted. A hung Parliament is going to be next to useless, and I predict another election in the near future. It's interesting that if a minority government can't be formed in some reasonable time frame, then it's back to the polls again. I'm not sure if that means a double dissolution (I'd hope it would, as I can't see how voting again so soon is really going to make a significant difference to the outcome).
It looks like my vote was a bit of a waste: The Secular Party candidate so far has mustered just under 2% of the vote. It looks like Fraser will remain a safe Labor seat. Trying to interpret Senate results always makes my head hurt.
I'm happy to see the swing towards The Greens, and that they're now going to be the force to be reckoned with in the Senate. I will be interesting to see how the minority government thing plays out.
I've refused how-to-vote cards for every election I've voted in (I think). I've never voted informally. I've just made up my mind how I was going to vote before I got there.
We've managed to retain our enrollment in Federal elections from last time, so we requested postal ballots and they arrived last Monday. I was quite impressed with how quickly they arrived (the Australian Government keeps exceeding my expectations, must be because the US Government has lowered them so much). That said, they did manage to omit some envelope for returning the ballot papers internationally, so we just mailed them to the Australian Consulate in San Francisco instead.
We're still enrolled in the electorate of Fraser. Interestingly, Bob McMullan isn't seeking reelection. I have no idea if that is going to make any difference to the "safe Labor seat" status of this electorate or not. I was once told that Canberra being a public service town, tended to largely vote Labor.
Anyway, we've got some interesting minor party candidates for the House of Representatives. We've got the Secular Party of Australia, which I haven't heard of before. They have a nice looking website (if you overlook the spelling mistake in the URL) and I like their policies, so I've decided to give Quintin Phillips my first preference. He's keen on a light rail for Canberra, which I think would be great.
My second preference I've given to the Greens' Indra Esguerra. I'd have given them my first preference, except I'm told that the Greens blocked the Emissions Trading Scheme stuff recently, because it wasn't strict enough. That was a very dumb move in my opinion. Something is better than nothing, especially in this regard.
I put Labor next, because as much as I'd normally vote Liberal above Labor, I think the Liberal party doesn't deserve to return from the wilderness just yet. They got thrown out on their ear in the last election for a reason. I also don't really find the prospect of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister all that enamoring.
On to the Senate. I always vote "below the line", because it's way more fun.
I gave my first preference to Kate Lundy, because she's the greatest Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy that Australia's never had. Tangentially related: Victoria, please sack that nimrod, Stephen Conroy. If there was some way I could change my enrollment to Victoria, so I could help, I'd be all over it.
I believe I gave my second and third preferences to the Greens candidates, in no particular order, followed by the Democrats, because I believe they should live again in the Senate. I think I then went for the Independent candidate, followed by the remaining Labor candidate and the two Liberal candidates.
But the basic theme that I'm trying to convey with the way I voted is that I'm fairly disenchanted with both of the major parties. The Liberal party completely imploded when it lost the last election, and I found they way they backstabbed Malcolm Turnbull (and the ETS) quite disturbing. Until the party big wigs stop being all denialist about climate change, they're not getting my vote, I'll vote Green instead.
I also found the way the Labor party turfed out Kevin Rudd to be quite disturbing. I'm seeing this trend in Australian politics where if you stick to your guns on something necessary but politically unpopular, you can expect a good old-fashioned backstabbing. I also not a fan of Labor's factional system. I find that it tends to mean that the best man (or woman) for the job doesn't get it. People say that the Liberal party is just as bad, they're just not so open about it. That may well be the case, but I can see it for a fact with Labor, and I don't like (to quote Pauline Hanson).
So I'd mainly be voting Green, but I decided to give this Secular Party a bit of a run for its money.
Oh, and I'm also very pleased to see that the High Court threw out that despicable legislation change that the Howard Liberal Government brought in, which closed the electoral rolls to new registrations 24 hours after an election was called. That was the most underhanded thing I've ever seen in Australian politics in my voting life.
Well it's not like anyone couldn't see it coming.
I'm pretty happy with the result. It had to happen. If only Howard had stepped aside a year or more ago, maybe the outcome would have been very different for the Liberal party.
I do feel sorry for Howard though. It's not as if he's been doing a dreadful job for the 11 years he's been in office. He's done a lot of good. I don't think being thrown out on your ear completely is quite the way to end ones 25 year political career. I guess he really pissed off his constituency...
The main reasons I didn't vote Liberal again this time were pretty similar to last time: Iraq and the environment. Oh, and I thought the previous election campaign tactics were a bit dirty with all the FUD about interest rates. At least that backfired appropriately.
I must say that I've been quite surprised by various Liberal party happenings around this election. I'm surprised Malcolm Turnbull got a swing towards him in his electorate. I'm surprised that Costello didn't become the default Opposition Leader, and that he didn't even want the job. I'm surprised Turnbull was a front-runner for the job (and I'm pleased he didn't get it). I don't consider some filthy rich business man who's only just entered politics via a safe Liberal seat to be good alternative Prime Minister material. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Brendan Nelson either. Maybe the Liberal party's going to spend some time in the wilderness whilst in Opposition, the way the Labor did for so long?
I'm pleased that my immediate concerns about the Labor party being back in power haven't materialised, namely the selection of the cabinet. I've always hated the factional nature of the Labor party, and how the best person for the job wasn't necessarily selected. I'm glad Rudd hasn't continued that tradition. I'm glad Peter Garrett retained the environment portfolio. I'm also very pleased that Rudd's getting stuck into some of the things that are very popular with the people but the previous Government was quite controversial over, namely signing Kyoto, apologising to the Aborigines about the Stolen Generation and withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Interesting times ahead. I'm particularly interested to see how the US deals with any troop withdrawal. My personal opinion on that whole mess is that we shouldn't have been there in the first place, but we're morally obligated to see things through.
Oh, and I'm extremely curious as to what's going to happen to the Canberra housing market. Apparently (I can't remember where I got this from, maybe some long-time Canberrans on Planet Linux Australia can confirm or deny this) when the Liberal Party first came to power 11 years ago, they gutted the public service, and Canberra house prices dropped dramatically. I'll be watching with interest to see if anything similar happens this time.
So it sounds like Costello is doing his annual (or so) stirring of the pot about the leadership of the Liberal party. It's interesting to see how the media's got itself whipped into a frenzy over a supposed agreement between Howard and Costello from 12 years ago.
That said, it does smack a bit of the Hawke/Keating "all bets are off" debacle, that ultimately cost Hawke the top job.
I'm inclined to agree with Queensland Premier Beattie, Costello acting like an impatient child isn't doing him any good. I don't see how he thinks it's his God-given right to assume the leadership of the Liberal party (and thus become Prime Minister).
I think Costello has done a great job as Treasurer, but as someone once commented, when he comes to Prime Minister, he just doesn't pass the "Balmain Barbecue" test. I just can't imagine this guy letting his hair down with a beer at a backyard barbecue. Howard, the guy who's out going for a brisk walk every morning in his footy jersey and shorts, on the other hand, comes across as a little more of a man of the people, than Costello, who always looks very stiff and formal in a suit. I don't know, he just doesn't have the same appeal. I put him in the same basket as Kim Beazley, for similar reasons.
Disclaimer: I'm not terribly pro-Labor, I'm more Liberal, however I'm pissed at Howard over the war in Iraq.
Can the Opposition please get it's act together and give us a credible leader and alternative Prime Minister? Kim Beazley is just not it. The media have already elected him as leader of the Labor Party, however I personally hope it doesn't happen.
So we've just had an Opposition Leader who's had to resign because of health problems. Let's not replace him with an overweight has-been, who hasn't been free of his own health problems in recent times. He kept saying he was healthy today in his press conference, but I have my doubts. I suppose he's going to have to swear off the KFC again and restart running up Mount Ainslie at 5am? He can't be looking forward to that.
Kim Beazley just isn't Prime Minister material, in my opinion. Neither was Simon Crean. I think Mark Latham was the closest thing Labor's come up with since they were last in government. I think there is a serious lack of credible candidates. I think the party's full of people who'd like to think they'd make Prime Minister one day, but until the party can publically get its act together and stop infighting, every 18 months when they have a leadership stoush just puts another nail in the collective political coffin, and leaves them languishing in the political wilderness even longer.
So in the interests of having a viable Opposition, and keeping the Howard Government accountable, will the Labor Party please get its freaking act together?
I'm absolutely appalled that Howard has been returned to office.
I can't believe that the Iraq war wasn't more of an election issue. The fact that the Australian people have not only chosen to reelect, but swing towards, a government that supported the US' unilateral invasion of Iraq sends the wrong message to the rest of the world. It says that the Australian people are okay with this kind of thing. It wasn't that long ago that thousands of people marched in protest against the military action in Iraq. Did all these people just forget when they got to the ballot box?
I voted fairly early in the day today, but got stuck in the early morning rush. It's interesting to see the demographic of my suburb. A lot of elderly people, a few young families and a few couples. All the elderly were getting priority in the queue, which meant it took me about half an hour to get to the front of the line.
I couldn't vote for Howard, even though I think his government has done a good job of economic management, I'm just too pissed off about Iraq. Being an environmentalist, I voted Green, which is just an indirect vote for Labor. Damn preferential voting system.
I was just thinking on Friday, how it would be rather interesting to see the impact on the Canberra micro-economy if there was a change of Federal government in this election, followed by a change of ACT government in next weekend's election. Apparently last time there was a change of Federal government, the Canberra property market took a real dive, because there was a lof of upheaval in the public service.
So Little Johnny has finally decided to send us to the polls on October 9. Bring it on, I can't wait to exercise my compulsory right to vote. For good measure, the ACT government elections are the following weekend. Voting central.