August 20th, 2010


Furious election-time tl;dr rant

I knew it would probably take something big to get me back to blogging, and of course, it turns out to be politics - more to the point, my absolute inability to tolerate any longer the infuriating Australian political scene in the lead-up to the federal election.

I don't even know where to begin. It seems that with each passing campaign, things manage to deteriorate further - 2007 was all kinds of dreadful, but 2010 has just kept on digging deeper. The campaign is utterly hollow; the coverage is dire; the parties themselves are miserable, clutching desperately at straws to capture marginal seats rather than providing anything resembling political vision or comprehensive ideology. Of course, the Senate is a battleground where everybody's ballots matter, but as far as the House goes, if you're not in a marginal seat, your contribution means precious little. Here I am, in one of the safest Labour seats in the country. It makes no difference who I vote for, because a duck could run instead of Kelvin Thomson and still win.

The knowledge that my vote might as well not count just makes it all the more sour how much rage this election provokes in me. I can rage all I want, and it makes no difference, since I don't have the luck to be voting in a marginal seat. Meanwhile, the candidates are vying desperately for the votes of politically ignorant bogans who'll just decide on the day that "oh I don't like that ranga's voice" or "my Daddy always voted Labour so I will". I really don't know how anybody with two braincells to rub together could possibly be undecided at this point in the campaign, or could have possibly been undecided ever since Tony Abbott was inexplicably elevated to Liberal leadership.

I'm sorry, I don't normally try to ridicule people who vote a different way to me. Democracy is all about difference of opinion. But in this case, what am I meant to say? A vote for Tony Abbott is fucking stupid. There is no more polite way to put it without sacrificing intellectual honesty. I'm not at all a fan of the ALP either, especially given how far they have drifted towards the right, but at least they aren't actually reprehensible to anybody who sits down for a minute and thinks about it.

The Liberal campaign strategy has been staggeringly effective in deflecting the campaign from the real issues or hiding just how reprehensible Tony Abbott and his policies are. We've had a campaign that's been all about Julia Gillard, when it should have always been about Tony Abbott. It should always have been about how he doesn't understand or even pretend to care what it is like to be disabled, or to be a single mother, or to be a working family stuck below the poverty line. It should always have been about how he thinks everybody on welfare is a miserable bludger and doesn't deserve it. It should always have been about his xenophobia and the way he plays on latent community racism to create a fictitious threat in a paltry amount of desperate refugees that Australia can handle with ease. It should always have been about how he is so lacking in compassion and empathy that he thinks most homeless people choose their plight and that social work is not a virtuous or commendable occupation.

It should always have been about how he is going to drastically cut funding for education, starting with the poorest and most disadvantaged students and schools. It should always have been about his complete ignorance of broadband technology, the most significant infrastructural development facing this country. It should always have been about how he is so staggeringly tied to his car that he cannot comprehend the major economic, environmental, and social importance of public transport and rail freight in making our communities and our industries more efficient and sustainable. It should always have been about his unwillingness to learn, his unwillingness to overcome his ignorance, and his anti-intellectualism. It should always have been about how he cannot seem to separate his personal religious convictions from secular public governance, to the point that he is oblivious to the fact he is doing it.

It should always have been about how this man is a relic of a past age, a relic from 1910, a relic that should never have even been put in this position, let alone realistically able to win government.

I don't like the ALP either, but at least they're trying to move into the 21st century, excluding their backwards attitude to gay rights. Of course, anybody who actually believes in improving our society, in human rights and Aboriginal affairs, in protecting our environment, and in helping the least fortunate and most marginalised amongst us, would be voting for the Greens, the Socialists, the Sex Party, the Secular Party, and similar parties. What a shame we don't live in a multiparty country or somewhere with mixed representation that would allow forward-thinking parties more of a shot at entering parliament. For now, what matters is keeping Tony Abbott out of office.

I think the hilarious post-script to all of this is that the majority of Liberal voters would actually be burned if Tony Abbott's pet policies were enacted. It's testament to the spin of the Liberals, like the Republicans in the US and the Tories in the UK, that they can convince anybody who isn't already well-off that they will benefit from Liberal policies that favour the wealthy for no good reason and punish the poor for things beyond their control.