Electoral apathy – Indecision 2010 (Australian Edition)

Disclaimer: This is my own personal opinion as a private citizen and is not binding in any way, shape or form on my employer, a Federal Government agency.

So this is the third Federal Government election that I am eligible to vote in. And here in Australia, voting in Federal and State elections is compulsory (though as Mark Latham did so helpfully point out to the nation last Sunday night on 60 Minutes, a donkey vote, technically called an “informal vote”, can be done *facepalm about said former Federal Labor leader*). Though I am very happy that this year, I did discover the joys of “pre-poll voting” (i.e. early voting).

And for the first time since I have been eligible to vote, I am utterly and completely apathetic. To borrow a phrase, if I can, from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it’s INDECISION 2010 – Australian edition.

I am usually one who leans towards Labor when it comes to voting in Federal, State and even Local elections. For those of y’all in the good old US-of-A, that means that I’d probably lean towards being a Democrats voter (I can just picture card-carrying registered Republicans and Tea Party folk who happen to be conservative Christians baying for my blood… hopefully in jest). In the UK, well… I’d be Labour there as well.

But this year, I’ve failed to really see much overall difference between the two real main forces in Australian politics: Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition. I’ve become increasingly tired of the (increasingly) US-style TV ad campaigns that the two big political forces have run over the last five weeks. God knows how I’d cope having to put up with actual political ad campaigns in the USA that run for a LOT longer than the five week election campaigns here in Australia!

I’m still leaning Labor for this 2010 Federal Election, though this is mainly due to my distaste for Tony Abbott and his facile election sloganeering this time around. Sorry Tony, but are you going to be going out on naval boats in your pair of red lycra budgie smugglers to turn the boats back to Indonesia as if that will actually stop illegal immigrants from coming to Australia? No, I don’t think so. And your broadband policy should make you and the Coalition sit in the dunces corner. If you trust the markets to do everything, such as build a broadband network based on wireless internet technologies so that we can get 12Mbit/sec connections when the rest of world goes a lot faster than that… well then, you’d probably be the type who would also trust industry to self-regulate itself instead of governments actually having a regulatory role in order to assist in ensuring that the market continues to be efficient.

Though I am probably technically incorrect on that last point re: self-regulation v. Gov’t regulation from an economics standpoint – a point that I will gladly concede on given that I’ve only really studied economics [micro- and macro-] at a basic undergraduate level without pursuing it further since those studies were completed quite a few years ago. Now, my only economics study comes from light reading such as Freakonomics and Super-Freakonomics. =)

Though if I have to hear the phrase “moving forward” or “move Australia forward” anymore times by Julia Gillard, I will have to restrain myself from going postal.

I was waiting to see when a Family First candidate for any house of Parliament would stick their foot in their mouth during this campaign and I didn’t have to wait for too long for their lead Senate candidate for Queensland to make comments on Twitter that likened legitimizing same-sex marriages to, what was it again… ah yes, that’s right “emotional child abuse”. =S And to add further insult to the initial comment, later compared it to the Stolen Generation.

*FACEPALM*

Granted, I’ve yet to be convinced by a large majority of their policies that I’ve heard about or read on their website (if I’m applying such policies broadly across the whole Australian population rather than just a notional “Christian” population which seems to be how FF are running a platform on, kinda like the Republicans in the USA). Yet another electoral campaign that has led to Family First going right to the bottom in a list of my preferences for both the House of Representatives and the Senate. I honestly don’t believe they’ll ever get my primary vote in any election to come for a long, long, long time. Hell, I’d even vote Greens ahead of them. Or even Liberal or National.

If I could vote Yoda in as a candidate, I would. Sadly, for voting Yoda cannot be. Hmmmh!

Maybe I should have voted for the Australian Sex Party for the QLD Senate seats… No, that would be too much of a compromise of my ethics and beliefs. Alas, I’m saddened still to this day that the Australian Democrats have passed into political oblivion. Though I am very happy to see that two Australian Democrats candidates were standing for election for QLD seats in the Senate. They still aren’t out entirely yet. And are a far more sensible route than Family First, the Greens, the Citizens Electoral Council and the myriad of new parties that seem to crop up whenever an election is called. Actually, I take what I said back about Family First a degree. If it was a Family First v Citizens Electoral Council dogfight in my electoral division, I’d take Family First anyday.

But the Australian Democrats, while I don’t agree with everything you stand for, there is still a heck of a lot in your policy platform that I do take to heart and agree with (more so than Labor, the Lib-Nat Coalition and the Greens). Dammit, I want a party that will help to ‘keep the bastards honest’.

But to end on a high note (well, relatively high note). Here’s to a free, fair and correctly counted election on Saturday. No matter what the result, I will be praying for whoever ends up being elected to the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.

2158hrs

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