As we count down to the election that we have to have, a few observations are in order.
1. The two main parties are effectively indistinguishable. Both are serving corporatist interests, not the interests of the people. Both have a xenophobic and borderline racist view of refugees contrary to Australia’s treaty obligations. Both are organised in order to get power for power’s sake. Neither have a set of principles they believe and act upon. Both are deeply corrupt and represent plutocratic classes, a political class in Australian life. In short, they are the Whigs and Tories of the eighteenth century.
2. Politics is corrupted in Australia by the media, which reports only on Canberra politics and economics as if the rest of government were insignificant. Consequently, most Australians have no idea of what goes on in actual government. We have adopted the American Cult of Personality as if representative democracy were about celebrity, not representation of electorates [Late note. We do not elect a prime minister, we elect a representative to Parliament who may vote for a prime minister in a party room and then Parliament. In fact, the PM is not even a constitutional role.]
3. We treat the economy as the stakeholder of interests in Australia, not people. This is part of a worldwide trend to promote economics (for which read: the interests of the wealthy) over people (for which read: the non-wealthy). But an economy is just an abstraction drawn out of the activities of actual people. The goal of a nation should not be to raise its GDP or trade balance, but to improve the lives of its citizens and residents.
4. Australia has a frigging preferential voting system! This means that if you vote for a minor party you have not wasted your vote! Again and again the major parties say that voting for the Greens, the Sex Party or the Pirate Party is a wasted vote. It’s a trick! You can vote for anyone you like and put the least objectionable major party above the more objectionable major party and still ensure a less worse outcome. But if enough people vote for these “minor” parties, they will become major parties. Given the way in which the majors have become servants of vested interests, this is long overdue.
5. Some democracy would be nice. All of the above considerations have undercut our democratic foundations. We are given a Hobson’s Choice between two bad options as if that was all that is on offer. We believe them. Don’t.
If you think Australia should be a free, fair and open society that treats people according to their rights as in a less nasty time we agreed they should be, vote for the best party you know despite the media framing. If you worry more about Abbot than Gillard (which, marginally, I do), then put Gillard’s corrupt party first, or vice versa, but for the sake of my nation, vote for the best candidates, not the best marketed party. Your grandchildren will thank you.