Australia Speaks

Politics and elections don’t usually interest me all that much – we all know that campaign promises aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, and it generally seems that it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference which party establishes a majority in parliament. Historically, the election has been more of a popularity contest than a choice between conflicting policies.

This time around was a little different though. Based on policy, I personally shuddered at the thought of either party gaining a majority in the House of Representatives. Despite having been a staunch Liberal supporter in a safe Liberal seat for many years, I voted Independent this time around… not because I preferred either of the local independent candidates (hell, the one with the funniest name got a ‘1’ from me, and the other got a ‘2’), but to avoid giving my vote to either the ALP or the Coalition!

Thankfully, the country as a whole agreed.

We, the Australian people, have spoken and sent a very strong message to both parties in this election: we don’t believe in either of you anymore! The question now is whether either party will listen to us? It’s unlikely, as both parties will now turn their backs on the Australian people once again, focusing entirely on campaigning to the independents for support with a whole new slew of worthless promises.

That said, it will be very interesting to see what both parties come up with in a bid to find favour with the independents. The independent members in question mostly represent regional/rural areas, and so both parties will be appealing to the regional/rural needs of the country through their policy changes. This isn’t a bad thing for the rest of us: I think we may actually see policy changes that will benefit the country as a whole as a result of the process that is to unfold as a result of the election.

You see, apart from the fact that regional/rural growth is so important to the country’s economy (being the source of most of our primary production and exports), both the ALP and Coalition failed on two very important policies in the lead up to the election: the National Broadband Network (NBN) and global warming. Both of these areas are of great significance to rural people, and also to the country as a whole.

In the lead up to the election, we learned that the ALP were rolling out the NBN at a cost that would leave our grandchildrens’ grandchildren paying off the debt (assuming global warming didn’t prevent our grandchildren from having grandchildren). The Coalition appeared to be against the NBN, and never really openly accepted global warming as being a reality.

In a bid to curry favour with the independents, both parties are going to have to flip flop on their election promises. I find it ironic that both parties are going to have to make a whole new set of promises to the five independent members, and in doing so, will have to fall on their swords and admit that the promises that they told to the millions of voting Australian citizens were actually a load of crap.

I wonder which of the two party leaders will be more open to swallowing their pride and taking a hit for the team. Neither of them strike me as being the humble or modest type. Could this mean that we will be going back to the polls again well before we should be? And if we do, will our message be any different to the next time around? Are we going to find ourselves in a perpetual election campaign, until one party or another can get their act together (or a whole new party forms, maybe)?

On one hand, I hope not… I’ve got better things to do than stand in queues at my local polling place on Saturday mornings. On the other hand, I hope so… the Australian people have no faith in either of the major parties right now, and allowing one party or the other to ‘steal’ power at this point would be to ignore the message that the Australian people have so vehemently sent to them.

Just my two cents worth :)

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