Election '07 - Disjointed Afterthoughts

26 November 2007
It still hasn't fully sunk in yet - John Howard isn't the Prime Minister anymore, and Peter Costello never will be. When you've hoped for, wished for, and in your own small way worked for something this long, there's bound to be a sense of disbelief and perhaps even mild letdown when it actually happens.

  • Being an hopeless (and infuriating) channel surfer, I actually watched the Election coverage on all three channels. Each went for their own little angle, from Channel Nine's shredder to the Footy Show style panel on Seven, and the earnest tone of the ABC. Of all the guests across the networks, I thought Tanya Pilbersek was the most eloquent and inspiring in how she described Labor's readiness for this moment. (And calling Alexander Downer a sook was the soundbite of the night). Contrast her manner with the not-quite-tears of Joe Hockey, sitting right next to her. 

  • Was I the only one who didn't realise that the woman holding hands with Tim Howard during his father's concession speech was in fact his girlfriend and not Melanie Howard? I mean, I knew the Howard kids were creepy, but not that bad.

  • A big surprise was the decrease in the Greens primary vote in nearly every seat I looked up. I guess people didn't want to take any chance that the Howard government might be returned if they voted Green instead of Labor. Me, I thought it was the chance to send Labor a message whilst knowing they'd get my preference, but what do I know?

  • It's always amusing to see the opinions of the "ordinary voters" at the polling booths, such as the elderly lady casting her vote in Bennelong who declared if anyone in her family didn't vote for the Coalition, they were out of the will. Contrast that with a little "news" story I saw yesterday, proclaiming that Nicole Kidman had voted despite doing something overseas - I didn't pay attention to that part, just the quote from her mother, saying that Nicole's father would disown her if she did vote Liberal.

    Well, there's still no official word on the Bennelong result, but lots of other stuff going on, apparently. I'm feeling a little worn out right now, so unlike the people who get paid to write this stuff, I'm going to take a break and see how things go. I must express my gratitude to those who have put up with six weeks of fevered political ranting from me - even Xander now knows everything about the preferential voting system.

    1. i'm not convinced too many people understand the preferential voting system. my dad and uncle insisted to me for the longest time that a vote for anything other than the two major parties was a wasted vote.

      if more people did understand the system, and took the time to understand the various standpoints of smaller parties, i think we would see the implosion of the two party system (and thank the gods).

      that said -- this was an important election, and people wanted to say something with their vote -- without sending a message to a preference recipient -- howard: naff off.

    2. Apparently in the 1950's, 95% of people voted 1 for Labor or the Libs/Nats. It's now down to 80%, so some progress is being made in this regard.

      But the drop in the Greens primary vote suprised me...I guess you and I have sense.

    3. Yeah, there really needs to be some sort of 1-off, compulsory civics class that's taken by senior school students each time there an election on. That way you'd be able to educate the students (in a non-partisan way) of how the electoral system works for each level of government, and how one's vote actually counts.

      You'd probably need to follow it up with the sort of education I got from a philosophy lecture a few years ago on the rationality of voting. Most people do realise that one's vote in the grand scheme of things is worth diddy squat, and that researching which candidates to vote for is also a complete waste of time. However there is a moral imperative to voting, and so you ought to vote for a side who best represents your moral outlook. But even so, that kind of argument to impel one to vote is very shaky.

      Karlos: I don't think you'll ever see an implosion of a two party system unless you were to severely change the way the electoral system works: i.e. place a cap on the numbers of members a party can have on house seats. And even if you were to do that, there would be nothing to stop them from any of these 'minor' parties from forming coalitions. And essentially, that's what we have already. My understanding is that the major parties have factions: Labor it's left and right (scab) wing constitutes, Liberal it's libertarian and conservative (religious nut bag) factions.

      Certainly something should be done to get more representation of the minor parties on the House of Representatives. We don't want our parliament system to eventually become something resembling the American model, where the struggle for power has limited the choices to ONLY the Democrats and Republicans.

      Even with a system in place to get more minor parties on the floor in parliament, you'd have to take the good with the bad. Yeah, the Greens get a sizable portion of the vote every election, but then so did One Nation about a few elections ago. Now imagine Family First or the Christian Democrat Party having a few seats. Having Tony Abbot is bad enough, but those guys? Bleeech!

      Nico: As for the Greens' vote dropping, it doesn't surprise me. The new rules on enrolling probably shut out quite a few first time voters (students) who traditionally vote Greens. Labor gave plenty of lip service about climate change, so that probably stole some of the Greens thunder. The election wasn't held with the shadow of terrorism, refugees or the war hanging over the campaign, so protest vote element didn't show up in the polls.

      One other wacky theory I've got is the Kevin factor. While I think Rudd has got as much charisma as a wet fish (I'll take grumble-bums like Keating or Latham any day of the week), his campaign certainly did strike a cord with a lot of people out there. On Saturday I saw emo girl come into my shop wearing a Kevin 07 t-shirt. I asked if she was being ironic; she wasn't, in fact, she’d been campaigning all day. *sigh* If she weren’t so young I would’ve asked her for her phone number…

    4. I mentioned a little of this in my post, I think the "change/risk" factor made a lot of potential Greens voters (or "soft" Greens voters) go with Labor.

      Unlike myself, who's always voted Labor as well as handing out how-to-vote cards for them, voting Green for the first time federally.


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