Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Democratic Process

Just to notify you in advance, that if my political preferences were a colour, they would probably be either purple or rainbow.

ha ha - my daughter's favourite colour answer was always rainbow when she was younger - but I digress...

Yesterday, as well as sharing the joy and delights of the Family Fun Day at school, we had a democratic duty and vote for the politician of our choice.

The way that it works here is that you get to vote for a Local Member who forms part of the House of Representatives and his/her alliance with a political party helps to decide who forms Government and therefore who is the Prime Minister.

If one single candidate doesn't get over 50% of the vote, then the person with the least votes gets crossed out and the people who voted for that person gets their second preferences counted - and so on down the line - until one single candidate does.

I had six choices, therefore six numbers to put in the little boxes beside each person. Five of those people had political parties beside them. Honestly, until I walked in to the booth, I had only heard the names of two, and they were generally accompanied by expletives (or the ilk) by the other. One is the sitting member of our very safe conservative seat. The last time it went Labor, the Labor member got kicked out of the party and has been shafting them ever since. I never know who I am going to vote for until the last minute because I want all the information - and frankly, knowing that your vote will make no difference to the end result, just the "margin" makes it even more futile.

'Salina wished to know how everyone voted. Her political opinion was "if you voted for Rudd it would be bad, but if you voted for Howard you would vote for Cars-tello" - a great precis of the advertising we get.

You also have to vote for the Senate, where 3 representatives from each state (or thereabouts) get to join three who are there from the last election. Here it is more about party allegiances and blah de blah de bloody blah de crapola. I hate politics. There were 65 numbers we could have assigned in this mob OR you can put 1 number against your political party of choice. I once did the number thing - I think there were only 40 odd at that stage - but it would be interesting to find out if anyone actually did vote beneath the line.

I have spent the last twenty years six weeks hating this bloddy election, mainly because I have so many people close to me so passionate about the crap on BOTH sides of the political divide, and while I am very passionate about a lot of issues, I realise that politics is all about voting for politicians, and I hate the fact that politicians are humans who have had their blood sucked out and replaced with politics, their minds programmed by party alliances and the term "good for the nation" is tinged with whatever colour their flapping flags are.

I used to be someone who enjoyed a good argument. Now I realise I am a person who likes to be optimistic have warmth and joy in my life. Politics is a cold vacuum that seems to suck at any of that.

Can you tell I am sick of it? Thank goodness it is over.

I know, I know how important it all is and how it will shape our future and what this really means...

No more will I have relatives tell me how Labor is going to stuff the economy and how bad it was when Keating/Hawke/Whitlam was in office for their industry. No more will my they espouse to me, wanting either an argument or for me to roll over and play dead, signifying anyone who has a social conscience will do the same come the big day.

No more will I have friends tick off the lists of the evils of little Johnny and his gang and how he has been putting the screws on all the values of humanity and decency.

No more will the tv be telling me that Labor will cause your children to die from needle stick injuries in the playground or that Liberal has already caused global warming.

Of course now I will have family members peeved with me because I don't take the economic implications seriously and I will have friends upset because they thought every logical person should be in agreement about the social issues.

You are both right and I am so glad that it is over and out of my hands.

Whoo - that was more of a rant and I will just wipe my guts up from your monitors. Sorry folks.

I was going to be light and review the election coverage from you (3, and at times 4 stations of 5 so plenty to review - made me wish I was a Star Wars fan), but it seems I had something to say with my vote...

Channel 9 - enough with wanting to be seen as technologically savvy. Honestly? The shredder was good for a single impact, not constantly, and please, work out with the guys in graphics how to keep it on the screen, because it looked like you got the work experience kid to generate it. So Channel 9, though - they get what could be a good idea, flog it without looking at how it could be expanded either way.

Channel 7 - Newstopia did a great spoof the other night about the journalist-free coverage on offer on this station - unfortunately, the parody was so close to the reality it was cringe-worthy.

Channel 2 - (psst Kerry - your red was showing) It was good when they were looking at statistics - they do a great job on statistics.

SBS - I loved the fact that SBS waited until there was something to actually talk about before they began their coverage, rather than talk trends from 67 votes counted.

John Howard - only caught the end of his speech. It sounded quite gracious. Of course, the 10 minutes of it we saw he failed to mention the words "Labor" or "Rudd" but hey, maybe his speech had been going on a bit by the time we resumed watching after other more fun election night offerings.

Kevin Rudd - wow, was he stoked. A statesman's speech but hell, I suppose you only get to make your primary acceptance speech once in a lifetime. A few great phrases that obviously they knew were great phrases, as they were used several times in the speech.

I hope to goodness that all that was said was true, and that this will be a changing government where change is needed (environment, education, health, IR, social policy), a government for all the people (including the bastards deluded who failed to see the winds of change) with a strong economy.

Thats all I ever wanted, really.


Michelle said...

I voted below the line.

Yes, I am sad. But I did get to stand in front of an air conditioner after walking for 10 minutes (mostly uphill) to the polling place. It was my reward.

Anonymous said...

For not liking politics, you "talk" it very well. Must be that family influence. I'm not very political, and love your description of a politician (humans who have had their blood sucked out and replaced with politics). An old woman I once knew said that politicians were people who were to "sorry" to be anything else. I don't know how an Aussie translates the word "sorry," but it didn't mean apologetic lol!
I'm glad your voting is done, and now you can just watch and see what happens.

Brissiemum2 said...

Rofl! Daughters the same age and now we vote the same!!! Baahaaa! You aren't a lost cousin, are you??!! I had no idea who I was voting for until the last minute but there was traffic chaos outside our voting booth and a line of about 100 people in front of me waiting to get marked off the role when I arrived, so I had a lot of time to think about it!

And pmsl @ Salina's voting advice! My son thought that Kevin '07 was the man purely because he went on Rove Live and that automatically made him 'cool'! Ahhh, if only it was that simple!!!

And I don't know how many trees were knocked down in the name of democracy during this election but if my letterbox was full of one more pamphlet hailing the wonders of whichever candidate it was advertising, I swear that the whole letterbox would have collapsed! Far out! What a waste of paper!

And I can thankfully say that our local candidate was ousted (although didn't quite make it to that shredder as it was too close to call!). I can honestly not tell you one thing that he has ever done for our electorate! How sad is that!

Oh and Channel 2 were ok but we switched halfway during the night cause they were actually behind time-wise. Channel 9 seemed to have the most up-to-date information as it was constantly changing!

And pmsl @ Magic Bellybutton! You need a jellybean for voting below the line. I took one look at it and decided that it would take far too long!

Oh and what ever happened to the days when politicians did door knocks?

Jen at Semantically driven said...

I voted below the line. It was only 46 in South Australia so not TOO hard. I have found myself standing there trying to figure out which number I'm up to and trying to figure out who should be the last one.

jeanie said...

Congratulations to MagicBellybutton and Jen, you the below the line voters - I did actually look at all the party names before I closed my eyes and chose - does that make me more politically aware?

LOL - I did make sure I would definitely miss a few of those parties. If I had voted below the line, I think I would have started with 65 and gone backwards.

Too funny, BrissieMum2. Unfortunately I ran the gauntlet of the Lib and ALP HTV hander-outerers and whoops - straight to the front of the line. Even got to choose who would hand me my card!

Shelley - I chose not to believe there is much soul left by the time the pollies have made it through local branches and risen to the lofty heights of candidate, but I do understand the processes. It makes it sadder in a way.