I’m an interested voter in my country. I don’t consider myself well informed, and a lot of the information I come by comes (carefully shaded) by the media, but I try to keep up with the policies and the political agendas of our pollies.
But I have to admit, I’m effin’ tired of politics.
The Americans have been at it for what seems like years. I’m sick of the whole situation – can’t you guys just get to the polling place and vote? Once? Not all these little votes?
Then the Brits have had their Brexit and Bregret – which I read about while eating my Weetbix and baguette… sorry. In appropriate humour at odd times. But the whole thing is a total mess over there. Both sides of the argument agree on that. It’s funny how people can agree on things after the fact.
Canada had a vote in there somewhere too. I’m sure they did. I see them beaming over their new PM. No one likes a gloater, Canada… (LOL – only joking! I love him and I’m super jealous.)
So then Australia has their little election—8 weeks, America. It took us 8 weeks to declare an election, hold a campaign and vote. See!
Last weekend we went to the polls and we voted in our parties… and it’s a mess. For those non-Australians, I’ll try to summarise the situation.
We have two main parties – Liberals and Labor. The Libs are the conservatives – now don’t get that wrong, because it’s hard to understand (LOL) – but they originally stood for the more affluent of our country. The business, economy and white-collar workers. Labor is for the labourers – or the more blue collar workers. They’re supposed to stand up for Ma and Pa Factory Worker.
The Libs usually band together with a couple of more minor parties to form a Coalition and gain majority in the parliament. We need a majority to declare a winner.
We voted on Saturday, and there’s no clear winner. Nope. People shunned both the Libs and Labor and have voted in historic numbers for other parties. Before the election, the Liberals held power. Just. There has been a 3% swing against them and they’ve lost seats. But the biggest problem is that many of the seats are neck and neck in the counting. It’s going down to the line and could be weeks before we have a winner.
So now we have the fall-out. There is no clear overall winner either, so each party needs to approach the minor parties and cut deals to gain the majority.
Meanwhile the Australia public are shrugging their shoulders and changing the channel. They’re disinterested.
So what has gone wrong in Australian politics? Why are people shunning the major parties? Why are people so disinterested? I’ve read a number of articles from political journalists recently. Most are clearly Liberal or Labor supporters. They try to “verbally bash” the leader of whatever party and point the finger at them to blame them for not winning. Some journalists point to the fact that in the last six years Australia has had four Prime Ministers and the public feel uncertainty about that. One I read today says that the two major parties have such similar platforms these days that no one can tell the difference between them. One article talks about how Labor hasn’t the economic stoush to pull Australia back on line. One article talks about how the Liberal leader doesn’t have the support of his cabinet.
During the election campaign there was a lot said about lots of issues. Business tax, taxing the rich on their superannuation, the state of our health system, immigration, climate change, the national broadband roll-out…. They were all debated and talked about ad nauseam .
But, do you know what I think has been the deal breaker in this election? The same-sex marriage debate.
On both sides.
I don’t think it has anything to do with whether you support same-sex marriage or not. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the plebiscite Liberals are promising or not. It doesn’t matter whether you support either party’s stance or not. This election was lost by both parties because of their attitude to same-sex marriage.
Are you scratching your head? Let me explain.
It is reported widely in the media that something like 70-80% of everyday Australians support marriage equality and will vote YES to the plebiscite on marriage equality that is proposed. To the pro-LGBT crowd this is something to celebrate.
It is reported widely in the media that the politicians don’t support marriage equality, to the point where a large percentage politicians who hold seats have publicly stated that even if the Australian public vote YES to marriage equality in the plebiscite, then their conscience means they must vote no in parliament. To the anti-LGBT crowd this is something to celebrate.
But, to both the pro- and the anti- crowd, what message does this send? The message it sends is “No matter what Australia wants, we’re going to do what we want in parliament, because we can.”
Politicians have sent a huge middle finger in response to what it appears the majority of Australia wants. And this election has proved that the people are sending them their message back. Even though the issue of same-sex marriage barely rated in the politicians’ platforms, in the media and in the minds of everyday Australians, that attitude that the parties have shown has echoed in the minds of everyone.
Why would they want a politician who doesn’t support them? Why would they want to vote in a politician who has shown that he/she will thumb their nose at their electorate and vote with their conscience? Because I look at these pollies with their suits and nice houses and nice cars and think, “Your conscience is about your wallet, not anyone else’s.”
Their attitude has bitten them firmly in the arse. No one believes a word of what they say because they have shown they are not fighting for the public. And who has shown that they are willing to fight the big boys? These little minor parties.
The minor parties often rely on a figurehead such as Pauline Hanson or Derryn Hinch who are outspoken and rage “against the system” in their beliefs. People are drawn to that because they think they may get something done, or support the attitudes of the public. Or sometimes these minor parties have a single platform such as The Health Australia Party which all they care about is stopping compulsory childhood vaccines. They have no other beliefs.
Or sometimes these minor parties have a funny name that helps they grab votes, like the Australian Sex Party. How many voters thought, “If we can’t have what we really want, how about we just have sex? I’ll vote for the Sex Party.”
So now the government needs to work out what they're going to do. Leaderships are in the balance. The Libs and Labor are making deals with independents who have terrible consciences and want to cleanse Australia of all Muslims, or think that they are above the law. It’s a big mess. A mess of their own making.
So yes, I think the government lost their power over the rights of LGBT people. Ain’t that funny? All those people who think the LGBT community is not important? That their minority is too minor to care about. Maybe the government should’ve cared a little more, hmm?