That’s right boys and girls, the Federal Election carnival has rolled into town! Get out there and vote today, because if you don’t the Government will hunt you down like a dog! Hooray for compulsory voting! Hooray!
Yes, it’s election day. Will John Howard and his evil minions retain power in the halls of Canberra, or will they be ousted by Mark Latham and his evil minions? Only time (and every bleedin’ media outlet for the next week) will tell!
I got up early and voted as soon as I could. The polls open at 8:00am and there’s one right around the corner at Mercy Hospital, so I was there at 8:05. This isn’t down to some kind of earnest political zeal on my part, it just means you can get it over with quickly and don’t have to queue. Straight in, straight out. It also means you avoid harasment from the various parasites (candidates, campaigners, ‘how-to-vote’ card hander-outers etc.) who acrete around polling stations as the day wears on. It’s 8:30 in the morning and my democratic franchise is well and truly exercised, meaning I can get on and do other things instead.
As for the parties involved this year, the comments I made the last time we went through this ringmarole are still fairly valid. The Liberal/National Coalition are as conservative, bigoted and pseudo-fascist as ever, and have opened a new line in bald-faced lies concerning the war in Iraq and international terrorism (Australia is the third member of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ by the way, we just don’t get as much publicity as the US and UK – thank God). Labour have managed to slightly reinvent themselves thanks to their new leader Mark Latham – they actually seem slightly different to the Coalition for the first time in over a decade. The Democrats on the other hand have totally self-destructed. In the last election they were close to being a real alternative party – lots of candidates, a good deal of respect and interest from the electorate and a real chance of wielding some effective power in the Senate. Thanks to a very nasty leadership struggle (which deposed Natasha Stott Despoja) and a number of frankly ridiculous alcohol related incidents in the House their political star has well and truly fallen. They were getting 10% of the vote in some seats last time, but voters have abandoned them in droves and the polls indicate they’ll be lucky to get 2% this time.
The Greens on the other hand have a good chance of getting somewhere. They seem to have absorbed a lot of disaffected Democrat voters, and while they aren’t as strong as the Democrats were they’re getting to the point where they might weild a bit of influence. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is no longer Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party having dumped Pauline Hanson in a series of vicious and incomprehensible internal struggles (try to make a bunch of rednecks, conservatives, racists and petty neighbourhood dictators toe a party line – good luck!). They’re now just One Nation, and if anything are even worse. The Natural Law party seem to have dropped below the radar, but in the nutcase stakes have been replaced by the much more worrying Family First.
Almost all of the many Family First candidates (including their leader) are Pastors in the same ultra-conservative pentecostal church – however they deny any connection between their policies and their church whatsoever. Nonetheless in the last week they’ve encouraged their supporters to monitor and catalogue ‘strongholds of Satan’ in their neighbourhoods (their handy list includes bottle shops, mosques, and Hindu and Buddhist Temples) and have said that lesbians should be burnt at the stake. Well thought out and rational policy making there I’m sure we’ll all agree!
So, how did I vote? Well my general policy for the Lower House over the last few years (quick reminder – in Australia you don’t just choose one party/candidate, you number them all in descending order of preference) has been…
- Democrats – They used to be good!
- Greens – I agree with most of their policies, and the ones that I don’t agree with don’t matter because they’ll never have enough power to implement them
- Anyone else who seems to have some decent policies
- Anyone I don’t know too much about and who seems fairly harmless
- Labour – They’re slightly better than the Coalition
- Liberal/National Coalition – Getting towards the bottom of the barrel here
- Fascists, psychopaths and other dangerous lunatics (One Nation, Family First, etc)
In the Senate I’ve voted basically the same, although inversing the Greens and Democrats, since the Greens have a better chance to do some good there.
This year however I’ve decided that getting rid of the Coalition is the most important thing. I won’t disclose exactly how I voted – but Labour (the only party big enough to take down the Coalition) have got a much better ranking from me. Oh, and the Democrats have done a bit worse, since they’re just plain hopeless now.
So yeah, that’s election 2004. I have a horrible sinking feeling the Coalition is going to win. Again 🙁