2010 Australian election guide (written before the election)

In Soviet Russia, an air conditioner is called a politician because it makes a lot noise, but it doesn’t work very well. Keeping a close eye on the Australian federal elections makes one squirm – because there is a tangible sense that the people running for the ballot are by and large politicians rather than leaders. (Politics: “Poli” a Latin word meaning “many”; and “tics” meaning “bloodsucking creatures”).

Catchphrases like “working families”, “the Australian people”, and “for our future” have become so redundant this election, that they no longer make an impact. So if the speeches won’t swing you, here, gratis, is a brief election guide of the contenders, and my bets for the winner. [written prior to the election]

Labor: So Keating dumped Hawke, and Julia dumped Kevin. As the tribulations of our intimate relationships, so too are the chronicles of the Labour party and the extended trade union family. The party has experienced 3 traumatic splits (1917, 1931 and 1955) which debilitated it and kept it out of office for many years. In a stunning victory, Kevin 07, toppled Johnny “go for growth” Howard, and since then he and his party have been spending like mad to get the economy squeaky clean. That is, until he was kindly ‘let go’ a couple of months ago. It turns out that the public wasn’t actually asking for insulation or school halls – just a solution to housing unaffordability, unsecure borders, and an economy over-reliant on the transient mining boom [thanks China!]. Under Ms. Gillard’s helm, the party is trying to do what the Liberals should’ve done with Costello – use a fresh face to win the election (and scream “work choices” loud enough so that everyone can hear). Whilst Australia under the Labour Government has successfully weathered the global financial crisis, the question must be asked: Is it sustainable to throw billions of dollars at your problems to wish them away? Maybe, although the last time I tried I was grounded for weeks. My odds: $2.30

The Liberals: The underdog in this election, the Liberal party seeks to confuse everybody, because the only thing liberal (small ‘l’) about it, is Tony Abbot’s lycra bike short-shorts. Often termed as “fiscally responsible”, “economically conservative”, “financially sound”, or any other two word variant comprised of the aforementioned synonyms, this party has the policies and the know-how – just not the leader. From popular sentiment, Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop form the ultimate political dream-team to lead our country into the nebulous future – perhaps the elephant in the room for the Liberal party. These guys tick all the boxes – internal democratic debate and dissent, strong foreign policy and a business minds – but it turns out that voters judge a book by it’s cover and vote for the person running the party, and not the party itself. Thus, there is a chance that the Liberals may languish in the opposition for another term, simply because Mr Abbot is portrayed rather negatively by the media. Let’s just say that his personality doesn’t particularly effervesce with charisma, emotion or politically correct opinions. It’ll be a close one, but Labour hasn’t particularly screwed up the country, and the Liberals are still waiting on that winning team. M

y odds: $2.50

The Greens: These guys appear green on the outside, but really exude a bloody socialist red buried deep within – contributing to the flight from rationality that plagues our society. And I’m not just talking about their illogical polices or complete lack of economic understanding – the main problem with this party is primarily ideological, as it goes with left-wing politics in general. For the record, most of the so-called “environmentally friendly” policies are simply attempts at furthering government control and impeding economic progress. The solution to global warming is not neo-luddism, apocalyptic scaremongering or carbon trading schemes – the solution is alternative energy – after all, you guys aren’t really ready to give up your tv, transport, refrigeration, computers [and yes facebook too], or pay more for them either. Without the green veneer, this party is simply a latent attempt at Trotskyism – and that means that every greeny is just as equal as the last one, comrade! Too bad they’re predicted to become our third major party, mostly thanks to the army of 30 something, latte-sipping bohemians on Flinders Lane. My odds: $4.30

Family First: Brother and Sisters of Australia, can you hear me? Can I get an ‘Mhmm’? A concoction of grassroots evangelical fundamentalism and a vague political attempt to legislate based on family values, this party may alienate everyone left of the centre right on the political spectrum. In fact, the only thing these guys are putting first is a copy of the St. James bible, a gun and an insistence that all debates be conversed through glosollalia. Jokes aside, this party advocates banning abortion, banning euthanasia, and banning everything on the internet that doesn’t conform to their narrow ‘moral standards’. The law of the political jungle states that if you ban too many popular things, then you’re basically banning any hope of making it to the lower house. Of course, you can always fall back on the pure, unadulterated love from your family, and die hard supporters in Midwestern United States. My odds: $6.70

It seems that this election, the important issues such as the war in Afghanistan, the failures of the Capitalist system, and our reliance on China are not discussed – not only because both sides of politics hold similar views on these matters, but more for fear that open, unregulated debate will expose the personal views of the debaters, and maybe a controversial headline on the front page of The Age. Ultimately, the Liberals are likely to regain a few seats, particularly because people are becoming disenfranchised by state labour parties. Labour though is in for a close victory, mostly because after preference deals with the Greens, they’ll have enough seats for a majority in parliament. There is also an acute possibility of hung parliament – and perhaps come this election, it may be better to leave it that way.