Australian Federal Election: The day after

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If I could vote in this election, I would vote for

Coalition
2
33%
Labor
1
17%
Greens
2
33%
Democrats
1
17%
Family First
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 6

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Voronwë the Faithful
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Lord M, you couldn't make this stuff up. No one would believe you.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Lord M, you couldn't make this stuff up. No one would believe you.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

My last parochial post for the time being:

Queensland’s conservatives now have reason to celebrate beyond their wildest dreams. Not only did they win, they won what is, as far as I can tell, the most decisive electoral victory, state or federal, in Australia’s history. The LNP has won nearly 50% of the first-preference vote to Labor’s 27%, and will probably end up with 78 seats to their 7 in the unicameral state parliament. It’s almost a landslide of Canadian proportions. For the time being at least, left-of-centre politics in the Sunshine State is dead.

Labor has governed Queensland for 20 of the past 22 years, and has won some absolutely crushing victories over the weak and divided conservative opposition in that time. For me, who can only really remember Labor Governments in Brisbane, it is a truly remarkable event. It is all too tempting to draw federal conclusions from state elections, but I honestly can’t see a result of this magnitude doing anything but confirm the fact that the Federal Labor Government is profoundly unpopular in Queensland. Of course, there were local factors as well. The age of the government, its bizarre negative campaign targeting the friends and family of Opposition Leader Campbell Newman, and the way that it rolled over in the final week, admitted it was going to lose and began begging people to leave it with at least some seats. And on the other side, Campbell Newman’s strong and unified campaign, and the willingness of the rural wing of the party to finally concede leadership to a leader with a strong base of support in Brisbane itself.

This obviously means more to me, who grew up in Queensland, than it does to anyone else. I come from Logan City, a low-income, blue-collar area on Brisbane’s southern fringe. Labor could rely on easily winning all four Logan City-based seats. Now it holds one of the four. And not only did the LNP sweep working-class areas, they won easily in inner-city seats with educated, progressive, well-off voters. A blue tide went through Brisbane’s suburbs. In 2001 they held 1 of 40 metro seats. Now they hold 35. In the north and west, they held back Bob Katter, who will end up with only two seats. And to cap it all off, they won back a number of seats in their old rural heartland which they had been playing tug-of-war with minor rural parties, independents and defectors over for a decade. It must have been amazing to have been an old LNP campaigner last night – all of their dreams came true at once.

As a casual supporter of the party, though, I admit that I find it to be, well, too much. I wanted to win, but I still wanted to end up with some sort of functioning opposition and some sort of socially-progressive voice in the state Parliament. All of Labor’s young up-and-comers have lost their seats. Admittedly this was the so-called progressive Labor government which did nothing to prevent a young couple from being prosecuted for having an abortion, so I may as well stick with the LNP, but still, 78 of 89 seats is kind of excessive.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

Queenslanders have been dominating the news yet again in their usual spectacular fashion. Yesterday mining millionaire Clive Palmer announced that he has reached an agreement with a Chinese shipyard to build an exact replica of the Titanic, due to sail in 2016.

He also announced that he intends to run for federal parliament at the next election, against Treasurer Wayne Swan in his north Brisbane seat of Lilley. He has a long association with the conservative side of politics, having previously stood for pre-selection in the seat of Fisher (more on that below) but the loose-cannon style so typical of his state has made them cautious about endorsing him.

At the moment the federal government has bigger problems. In order to buttress their minority in the House of Representatives, they gave the Speakership to a defector from the Liberal Party, Peter Slipper, member for the Queensland seat of Fisher. He gained some early praise for his firm hand, and a lot of attention for his fashion sense and fondness for pomp and ceremony. All of that has been swamped by lurid allegations of expenses abuse and the sexual harassment of a younger male staffer. Apparently Slipper’s unorthodox habits were known when he sat as a Liberal, but the party dealt with them by sidelining him from high-profile positions. It was known that he was a little too fond of getting the taxpayer to pay for his personal travelling expenses, and that he had previously (despite being married) gotten a little too close for comfort with some of his male staffers (one story had that he once climbed in through a bedroom window). He solved the problem for them very neatly by defecting to the government, and the entire thing blew up in their face in spectacular fashion.

At the same time, the government has been dealing with the Member for marginal New South Wales seat of Dobell, who allegedly misused Health Care Services Union funds for various purposes, including hiring prostitutes. After defending Thompson for a year, Julia Gillard finally ditched him along with Slipper, leaving some of her MPs wondering why she had put so much effort into defending him.

So once again, the government’s policies have been buried by stories full of Mark Foleyesque text messages, once again the government has dived in the polls, and once again there are calls for the Prime Minister to resign.

But between Palmer, Slipper and Thompson the cartoonists have been having a ball.
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Post by Impenitent »

Palmer is so outrageous in some of his statements, I find it difficult to take him seriously (though a man who has been so successful in business certainly should be taken seriously).

He is definitely standing for Lilley, yet he has no intention to set aside his (substantial) business interests because he feels that politics should not be a career but...what? a sideline? I don't see how anyone can argue that a man with such substantial business interests and wealth can possibly be involved in federal politics at the same time without significant conflict of interest. If he recuses himself from the majority of political debate on the basis of conflict of interest, how can he be an effective participant in the process?

And then there was his statement that he has no doubt that he can make a more substantial contribution in five minutes than Wayne Swan could make in his lifetime. :roll:

He deals in hyperbole and exaggeration to such a degree that disdain bubbles in me.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

Parliament has risen for its winter recess with the issue of Asylum-seeker boat arrivals unresolved. It has not been a particularly gratifying spectacle.

Labor still wants the Malaysia solution. The Coalition a) doesn’t think it will work and b) oppose sending Asylum-seekers to a country which is not a signatory to the refugee convention. They apparently still favour the Howard Government’s Pacific Solution. The Greens oppose any and all offshore processing.

I’ve never been a fan of the Malaysia solution myself (swapping 800 unprocessed boat arrivals for 4,000 genuine refugees with Malaysia). For one thing, the 5-to-1 ratio will, in the long term, use up our humanitarian refugee intake and doesn’t seem like a particularly good deal regardless. For another, the Government is unwilling to send women and children to Malaysia, meaning that Asylum-seekers will be encouraged to take women and children with them by boat.

Concern for the welfare of Asylum-seekers now dominates the debate, or least appears to. Ten years ago it was simply about border security and ‘queue jumping’, which I suspect are still big issues in the community. Coalition hardliners still favour this approach, as the article suggests:
Opposition Senate leader Eric Abetz said Australia had to decide whether it wanted to allow some asylum-seekers to buy their way into the country, assisted by criminals.

He dismissed as “no solution” the Labor-backed bill because the government had said it would not transfer women and children to Malaysia.

Therefore people-smugglers would simply load up their boats with women and children to get around the law.

“Compromise per se has never been a substitute for good policy,” Senator Abetz said, adding the ability to turn back boats if it was safe should be in the government's armoury.
I do have to admit that I have been coming more around to Abetz’s view of late. The fact that the rise in boat arrivals means that Asylum-seekers who are unable or unwilling to hire people-smugglers are left languishing in refugee camps is one reason. The fact that people-smugglers have begun calling the Australian Navy to rescue them and their passengers from unseaworthy boats at great expense as soon as they leave Indonesian waters is another. But what to do about it is another problem. Offshore processing seems enormously wasteful to me. Onshore processing acts as a magnet. Can we turn the boats around and return any rescued Asylum-seekers to Indonesia? Not without the close co-operation of the Indonesian authorities, and they really don’t have much of an incentive to work towards Australia’s border security. And none of this addresses the push factors. The deadlock continues.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

Today, unusually, there were three stories on Australia on the front page of the BBC World News website. One was the federal government’s victory of the tobacco companies in the High Court, where it was defending legislation enforcing compulsory plain packaging for cigarettes. The tobacco companies were arguing that they had been stripped of their property – specifically, their valuable trademarks. I haven’t looked into the judgement yet, so I’m not familiar with the arguments in detail, but I assume that the their case rested on s. 51(xxxi) of the Constitution, which allows the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws to acquire property, but only ‘on just terms’. Fans of the film The Castle will be familiar with that section.

The next article also concerned a High Court decision. 90-year-old Charles Zentai has successfully defeated an extradition claim to Hungary to face trial for the alleged torture and murder of a Jewish teenager in 1944. The court held that he could not be extradited as the offence he is being charged with – a war crime – did not actually exist in Hungarian law in 1944. It’s an interesting case showing the dislike that western legal systems have for retroactive laws. Indeed, Joseph Raz identified prospective laws as one of his essential characteristics of the Rule of Law. My immediate questions is why they didn't simply charge him with murder - I'll have to look into the details.

And finally, we have the biggest news of them all domestically, the latest turn in the asylum seeker debate. Following a report by a special commission, the government has backed down and bought back the bulk of the Howard-era Pacific Solution, featuring offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. In the end, even the left wing of the Labor Party caved, although they are insisting that the new regime will be as humane as possible. The bill passed the House of Representatives 148-2 this afternoon, and should face only slightly more opposition in the Senate. Will the issue go away? It sort-of did after about 2002 for the Howard Government following the spike in Asylum-seeker arrivals in 2001 which triggered the launch of the original Pacific Solution. The government badly needs it to. But that doesn't take push factors into account, and the election is less than a year away.
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Post by Griffon64 »

I saw the cigarette law in the news yesterday and wondered how it would be legally allowable. The concept itself is another matter, but perhaps a compromise would be to allow the brand in a small rectangle on the packaging where the generic font name will go.

The second case is also interesting. I've never thought about retroactive laws before but I can see why western legal systems would dislike them.
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Post by Pearly Di »

I posted about Prime Minister Julia Gillard's epic rant on Facebook. 8)

I know next to nothing about Australian politics, but I do know that the PM was in a tight spot. The Speaker of the House, the Dickensianly named Peter Slipper, who had defected to her party, is in hot water over a series of rather unpleasantly sexist text messages he sent to an assistant. (Slipper’s texts remind me of a nasty schoolboy’s. What a prat! Ick.) Gillard was therefore in a difficult position. Her response was to rip into the Leader of the Opposition for HIS sexism. And, boy, does she let rip. This is one of the best verbal smack-downs I’ve ever heard. :D

This was a politically calculated move on her part. Sure. However, the rant is not baseless. Gillard has clearly been subjected to some extremely unpleasant insults. She is unmarried and childless – she lives with a hairdresser – and has been called ‘deliberately barren’, ‘ a witch’ and a ‘man’s bitch’. Nice.

I have no patience with people who object to women as leaders. Britons have already had a woman Prime Minister (and several Queens!) And, you know, if a woman is our Prime Minister and I don’t like her policies, I won’t excuse her just because she’s a woman. If she behaves in a way I don’t like, I won’t go easy on her just because she’s a woman. What I do believe, 100%, is that nobody whatsoever has the right to insult her because she’s a woman.

So. Whatever Gillard’s politics, whatever her motives, whatever her own failings as a PM (I wouldn't know), this is a blisteringly brilliant rant of epic proportions. Both her content and her delivery are impeccable. Here are 15 minutes of icily controlled rage, precise and withering and devastating. And her anger is genuine. Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned , but hell hath no fury like a female Prime Minister who has clearly had it up to HERE with sexist attitudes.

I loved it. :D

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ds-newsxml

YouTube link in case the Mail one doesn’t work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihd7ofrwQX0

It’s worth reading the whole speech:
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political ... 27c36.html
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Post by vison »

She's great, eh?

It's beginning to bother me. Women outnumber men. Women ultimately control reproduction.

And yet men continue to rule the roost. Why is this?

I've been told that "women are just like men" and I have never seen one jot nor tittle of proof of that assertion.

If women were as sex-crazed as a lot of these old devils in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, I could understand it. But by and large women don't mutilate men for sexual reasons, nor confine them to their homes, nor refuse to educate them. All of that is man's work.

Islam teaches that a woman's desire is 7 times stronger than a man's. So they must be controlled because . . . . . the man's honour is in his women's hands.

This is insane. Sex is important, no doubt. But it should not be the overrriding principle of life.

That brave little girl in Afghanistan! Shot twice at point blank range by some bloody "warrior". Cowards. Each and every one of them are sex-mad cowards and I would erase them all from the face of the Earth if I could.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

Honestly, the entire thing is the lowest form of politics. Yes, the Prime Minister has been subjected to a number of bizarre insults based on her gender (or her marital status, or more generally). In this case, though, I don’t see her rant as being anything other than an attempt to deflect attention from her own (very real) political difficulties through a personal attack on the Leader of the Opposition. It may have gone viral, but I don’t think it shows either her or the Australian Parliament in a particularly positive light. We have had many far more eloquent, persuasive and, for that matter, entertaining politicians.

I don’t have all that much sympathy for Tony Abbott in this, either, given the relentless negativity of his leadership. But many of Gillard’s problems come from the fact that the government which she now leads has acted like a circular firing squad from the day it was elected under her predecessor in 2007. She offered the Speaker’s Chair to Peter Slipper out of political desperation, and while she can’t be blamed for his conduct (contrary to the claims of some her off-kilter critics) she can hardly complain now that the whole thing has blown up in her face.
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Post by Pearly Di »

I didn't say she was a saint, ;) just that I loved her rant. :D
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

Under threat of a looming landslide defeat, the government is showing signs of disintegration. Like an MP advising one of his constituents that he is a 'sad, badly-informed halfwit' and probably drunk.
Mr Ferguson, a western Sydney MP, made news on Tuesday for reportedly telling his colleagues in Labor caucus they would be ''dead in the water'' if they did not perform better in the debate about asylum seeker policy.

''I believe this message is far more central than people might think,'' Mr Ferguson later said.

That drew an angry email from Kevin Griffith, who described himself as a former Labor voted disillusioned with the party's immigration policy.

''Boat arrivals are not significant, '' Mr Griffith wrote at 10:37pm on Tuesday. ''You have surrendered to the racists. Shame ALP.''

Ten minutes later, the member for Werriwa sent a poorly-typed, strongly-worded response:

''I do not think the the. Vietnamese. Krong or. Bangladeshis. I seoarately met today or the. Bahraini. Shiites and assyrians on whose behalf. I spome yesterday think. I am racist,'' he said.

''You are a sad badly informed halfwit. Keep off the turp. s'' [sic]

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/disgruntled-voter-called-a-halfwit-in-fiery-email-exchange-20130605-2npno.html#ixzz2VKbUPKYs
In my experience, implying that people are stupid and/or drunk is more effective if you adhere to minimum standards of spelling and grammar ("Krong?").

In other news, Senator Cameron makes a desperate appeal during a flare-up in a Senate committee meeting.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

He's back!

In the end, Julia Gillard's Prime Ministership lasted three years and two days, all of it dominated by the rivalry between her and her predecessor/successor. A great deal could be said of these events, but in the end, it seems to me that both PMs were undone by a particularly major flaw - Rudd couldn't manage people, and Gillard was a poor communicator. This created the disastrous situation where the former was far more popular with the electorate than the latter, but was unpalatable to the Labor caucus. As the Government slid in the polls, Rudd challenged for the leadership in early 2012 and lost 71-31. But as the election drew closer and the polls grew worse, they changed their minds. And when Rudd's supporters struck again on Wednesday night, he got over the line 57-45.

Rudd insists that he has changed. And he can certainly deliver a government that had been written off as terminal a boost in popularity. But whether he can actually win the election due in August or September is another question entirely. But still, what a comeback.

Some commentary from the New York Times.
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Post by samaranth »

Lord M, I'm still processing the events of the past couple of days so will come back later with a more pithy response.

This might be me pretty clearly showing my political colours, but I'm absolutely outraged by it all, actually. Not just the recent spill, but the whole tenor of political discourse over the past 3 years. It's been ugly, very ugly.
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Post by Impenitent »

Ruddstoration! *snicker*

I have to wonder what our pollies are thinking, reinstating a man who was so universally repudiated by his own caucus for his abhorrent and supercilious treatment - one could even call it bullying behaviour - of both colleagues and and lackeys. He's very good at electioneering, but if Labor does manage to pull off a miracle, how are they going to swallow actually working with him?

Change, shmange. He's a narcissist through and through, and - should they win - the testosterone boost will not be exactly conducive to a new, gentler, more consultative Kevin Rudd.

We shall see.

At least the election campaign is no longer a one-horse race.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Just posting to say that I appreciate seeing a glimpse into the political goings-on down under.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

Impenitent wrote:I have to wonder what our pollies are thinking, reinstating a man who was so universally repudiated by his own caucus for his abhorrent and supercilious treatment - one could even call it bullying behaviour - of both colleagues and and lackeys. He's very good at electioneering, but if Labor does manage to pull off a miracle, how are they going to swallow actually working with him?
I suspect that survival trumps all other considerations. And following the Ruddstoration, the opinion polls are now trending not far off equal, an outcome unthinkable a month ago. It seems inarguable that, for all of their failings, Kevin Rudd and his cadre have far better political instincts than Julia Gillard and hers.

I also suspect that, if this trend continues, all but the most die-hard Gillard supporters within the ALP will have forgiven and forgotten all of his past failings and his return to the Lodge.

A light-hearted take from Jacqueline Maley in the SMH:
Rudd the outsider proving revenge of the nerds is sweet

The Prime Minister knows exactly what he is doing and it is a ploy that may well succeed, says JACQUELINE MALEY.

The 1984 film Revenge of the Nerds was a popular, if not critical, hit in which a group of nerds were rejected from various college fraternities before collectivising in their own, nerd-friendly society and wreaking geeky revenge on their nemeses, the jocks.

''They've been laughed at,'' runs the commentary for the delightfully dated trailer, immortalised on YouTube. ''Picked on, and put down. They don't have the moves. Or the muscle. But they've got the brains.''

And then, the kicker, in the baritone voice-over universal to all movie previews.

''It's time for the odd to get even.''

When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared on 7.30 this week and referred to himself as ''the glasses-wearing kid in the library'', it was one of the great self-castings of recent Australian politics. Challenging Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to a debate, Rudd simultaneously laid down a challenge and defined himself in opposition to his rival.

''Mr Abbott, I think it's time you demonstrated to the country you had a bit of ticker on this,'' Rudd said. ''I mean, he's the boxing Blue, I'm the, you know, the glasses-wearing kid in the library - come on.''

Rudd was referring, of course, to the Opposition Leader's Oxford ''Blue'', an award he won for boxing when he was a student at Oxford University in the 1970s.

One of the incredible things about the Abbott-Julia Gillard match-up was how Abbott managed to appear to voters as more ''middle Australia'' than Gillard, despite the fact that he was privately educated, spent time in training for the priesthood (hardly a mainstream rite of passage) and has so much fancy book-learnin' that he holds a master's degree from the world's most prestigious university.

Meanwhile, Gillard, with her prosaic Altona home and penchant for Midsomer Murders marathons, somehow couldn't connect with ordinary Australians.

Gillard, the subject of continuous sexist attacks, struggled to define herself against Abbott. Attempts to portray him as elitist (the ''get off the north shore'' comments she made last year) backfired, as did attempts to define him as the ultimate establishment male (the ''men in blue ties'' comments of three weeks ago).

But this week, Rudd emerged from cryogenic storage, readjusted his spectacles - crooked and a little foggy from his ordeal - and hit on a different Abbott caricature. He cast the Opposition Leader as the schoolyard bully, the pugilistic jock who can repeat a slogan but can't match wits with the uber-nerd.

Of course, you don't get a master's from Oxford without possessing some genuine intellectual heft. Abbott is a thinker and a writer but in the newly minted Rudd version of events, he is nothing more than a jock who doesn't belong in the library with the smarties (read: the ones you want writing policy).

Rudd implies Abbott is a bully, lacking both brains and genuine backbone. He should stick to the football stalls where he can smash beer kegs with his bros.

Painting your political enemy as a bully is one thing, but why would anyone want to portray themselves as a nerd? And when the Prime Minister goes on national television to describe himself as the bespectacled library-loving dork of Australian politics, he is painting that picture very deliberately.

There are several reasons why the nerd persona just might work for Rudd.

First, Rudd-as-nerd is the perfect cover for all of his personal failings, which have been so well documented by his colleagues over the past three years. So what if he's a bit prickly, or slightly socially awkward, or weirdly obsessive-compulsive (some of the nicer things that have been said about him)? Nobody expects a dork to be smooth. Their very charm lies in their anti-social eccentricity.

Second, for some counter-intuitive reason that is unfathomable to many, people, especially young people, seem to love the nerd thing. Rudd is constantly mocked for his folksy turn of phrase and the finickiness with which he answers even simple questions. He keeps up with his hokey language despite the groans of a cynical intelligentsia, and the post-traumatic flashbacks of the press corps.

But it seems Rudd's legion of supporters forgive him his self-conscious hip-to-the-beat lingo, just as they forgive their dads their dad jokes. With his winky self-caricature, Rudd could be a character on Packed to the Rafters.

And people love that show, even though the critics never will.

And so to the third and final reason why the nerd persona may boost Labor's polling numbers further north (surveys taken since he took over the Prime Ministership show Rudd has added roughly five points to the ALP's primary vote, and between three and seven points to the two-party preferred.)

Geek-chic may have enjoyed a popular culture revival in recent years, with every second Surry Hills hipster sporting oversized glasses and doing up their top shirt button, but the nerd is still firmly an outsider.

Rudd, who arrived alone to last week's leadership ballot, and who this week publicly took on the bully boys of the notorious NSW Labor party, by announcing an ''intervention'' into the scandal-plagued branch, needs to retain his outsider status. His political survival is predicated on it. For an electorate that loathes politicians, it's a vote winner.

In her excellent 2005 The Monthly article on the Young Liberals federal convention, journalist Chloe Hooper quotes then-NSW Young Liberals president Alex Hawke (now the federal MP for Mitchell) as he describes the strategy he employed for school elections.

''I'd figured there were more people not in the in-group than were in the in-group,'' he said.

Hawke built alliances with different outsider groups, telling them: ''Look, these guys get everything. This is our chance to stick it to them and I'm going to be your candidate.''

I am not accusing Hawke of plagiarism from the canon of 1980s nerds v jocks movies (great though it is). But Revenge of the Nerds contains a central line which is remarkably similar. ''We've got news for the beautiful people - there are more of us than there are of you!''

As every nerd knows, politics is a numbers game.

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Post by Passdagas the Brown »

Impenitent wrote:Ruddstoration! *snicker*

I have to wonder what our pollies are thinking, reinstating a man who was so universally repudiated by his own caucus for his abhorrent and supercilious treatment - one could even call it bullying behaviour - of both colleagues and and lackeys. He's very good at electioneering, but if Labor does manage to pull off a miracle, how are they going to swallow actually working with him?

Change, shmange. He's a narcissist through and through, and - should they win - the testosterone boost will not be exactly conducive to a new, gentler, more consultative Kevin Rudd.

We shall see.

At least the election campaign is no longer a one-horse race.
Well, at least Australia will start dealing with some very real and pressing issues again - such as climate change and water insecurity - under this Ruddstoration. Narcissist or not, I think he is at least attuned to the important issues of the day.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

After a somewhat lacklustre campaign, we go to the polls next Saturday, September 7 (it is likely that the government will lose).

I finally got around to having a look at the ballot papers for what will be my first election in the state of Victoria. Voting for the Australian House of Representatives is compulsory preferential - you have to rank every candidate in order of preference (I prefer the optional preferential system used in state and local elections in Queensland, but whatever). So I have to rank these people in order of preference:

1 ARCH, Kerry - Family First Party - Payroll Officer

2 McCONNELL, David - Liberal - Company Director

3 O'NEILL, Anthony - Australian Christians - Chemical Plant Operator

4 WATTS, Tim - Australian Labor Party - Unemployed

5 SINGLETON, Dwayne Robert - Palmer United Party - Town Planner

6 SWIFT, Rod - The Greens - Customer Support Officer

7 CASHION, Allan - Sex Party - Student

The Palmer United Party is the latest project of the eccentric Queensland billionaire who is currently building the Titanic.

The senate is where it gets fun. You can just vote 1 above the line in the Senate, or you can vote below the line and number all the boxes (a quick count suggests that there are 93 candidates for the Senate in Victoria this year). I am one of those eccentrics who enjoys below-the-line voting, so I might just do that. I had forgotten that Julian Assange is a Senate candidate in my state (he is listed as a 'publisher' in the list of candidates) so I get to decide whether I rank him above or below the Smoker's Rights Party, the Pirate Party, Bullet Train for Australia, the Greens, Stop the Greens, The Fishing and Lifestyle Party, and, of course, the Sex Party. There is also a ticket of candidates called Senator On-Line that will apparently, if elected, simply vote based on online voting from their constituents. An interesting idea, although I'm not sold on direct democracy.

The full list is here.
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