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Dark thoughts on election morning

Election Day, 5.30am: I’m sitting on the back step drinking a cup of tea and listening to the Kookaburras laugh at the absurdity of it all. In 13 or so hours officials will start counting votes and it is very likely the Liberal National Party coalition will be successful in winning more votes. Some time this evening Tony Abbott will appear on a stage to rapturous applause from his audience and do his best not to look cocky, his body hunched in that strange pugilistic simian way he has, his jaw set in a half-smirk.  Abbott will only appear on stage after Kevin Rudd has made a teary concession speech surrounded by his family, again.

Tomorrow morning everything will be different and nothing may really change at all. Yet, we’ll all be fucked.

This article in The Guardian contends that based on a survey of 862 mobile users, that the result is a lot closer than expected, with the LNP two-party preferred vote at 50.7% vs Labor’s 49.2%.

Conducting a mobile only poll in a country with the highest number of smartphones per capita  is smart. Perhaps the traditional land-line polling targets families, older people, and laggards and the Newspoll and Morgan Polls that are predicting a landslide are wrong? I hope so. Something doesn’t smell right. Polling is based on an old fashioned means of communication. To get a more accurate view in the electoral crystal ball more forms of media need to be targeted – smartphones, social media, and blogs.

I suspect that the LNP know this given their sophisticated social media data harvesting operation. For all the hype about the ALP hiring Obama’s social media strategists, the LNP are the ones with better strategy to collect names they can re-market to and harass. I can’t log in to Facebook without seeing a promotion for Tony Abbott, and I follow some ALP and Green people. The LNP are targeting people they need to persuade on social media. It’s pretty slick and pretty scary.

One thing that woke me up early this morning was worrying about how the an Abbott Government will change this strange conservative country to something even more conservative and socially restrictive – with a savvy social media strategy.

This cheerful piece of link-bait reckons an Abbott victory would be good because the ALP would be cleansed and the masses would be mobilised to force change and be engaged socially and politically. The election is seen as something akin to eating a dodgy prawn because the shivers and shits that will follow will leave your body cleansed and ultimately stronger.

Bullshit.

An Abbott government will destroy the fabric of this country and drive society even more to a distopian right with one rule of the fortunate and another rule for the unfortunate. Here are the dark thoughts that woke me early this morning:

  1. The separation of Church and State is always unclear with Abbott. Who knows if he will act as he did as Health Minister when he attempted to overrule the legalising of the RU486 Abortion drug.
  2. Abbott’s economic policies do not make sense for a conservative. He is promising smaller government, a pretty standard LNP line, but is throwing money at the middle-class with an unfunded parental leave scheme. The argument is absurd: there is a budget emergency, but here’s $10 billion for middle-class mums to parent in comfort.
  3. Carbon trading schemes are the  norm in OECD countries and essential to reducing the impact of climate change in the next 50 years. This isn’t just me saying this, leading economists reckon it is the only way. It’s a market based mechanism for fucks sake! But under Abbott, the current scheme will be discontinued and replaced with a Green Army erecting toilet blocks or planting trees in the desert.
  4. Australia has a very low share of asylum seekers coming here. Very low. We receive 1.47% of all applications for asylum. Despite that, our media and cloying politicians are determined to depict people in crisis as selfish queue jumpers wanting to steal our jobs. Both the ALP and LNP have horrible and mean asylum seeker policies, but Abbott has form in making this a national wedge issue. As a rich nation, we can do better and deserve better. One day when we’re all old we will be ashamed.
  5. Even The Economist reckons an LNP have a defective economic manifesto. Abbott is a massive economic risk with the ten year resource-investment boom petering out. The deficit obsession will cost jobs and lower real-estate prices.
  6. Having a strong national savings culture is important for an economy, and for social cohesion. In Australia this has been implemented through Superannuation which has increased to 9% and is guaranteed through employer contributions. The ALP have said, they will increase it to 12%, the LNP have said they will freeze this for 2 years. The LNP will also take away the government co-funding of superannuation contributions for the lowest paid (to fund a parental leave scheme).
  7. I don’t care who my neighbors are and if they are married, unmarried, or into weird sex games. If you want to get married you should be able to despite your sexuality. Abbott doesn’t agree.
  8. The LNP will deliver a national broadband network that will hold Australia back. My job depends on a strong Internet infrastructure. That’s right, INFRASTRUCTURE.
  9. Sophie Mirabella is a member of the LNP. Enough said.

I believe in a socially progressive Australia founded on strong economic principles where the poorest are helped up, and the wealthy pay their fair share. I believe in a country where entrepreneurs are encouraged and ideas proliferate and are debated. The ALP aren’t a great choice to form Government but given the dark alternative, they are the best choice to keep the economy strong. The Greens are the best choice for a socially progressive society where everyone is valued.

I’ll be voting accordingly.

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2 Comments

  1. Jono, another great article well thought and researched. I agree with all of it. I keep on thinking we’re entering the Dark Ages or we’re becoming like the Germans in WW2 who just didn’t want to face what was going on in those camps, except for Australians in our camps it’s Asylum seekers.

    We seem to have lost any progressive politicians and certainly any progressive policies, and are lurching more and more to the thinnest form of democracy allowed. We haven’t resembled a Westminster democracy for over a decade. The demise of the Australian Democrats is to be lamented, and that all our minor parties are to the extremes not the middle.

    It’s going to be a bumpy road ahead for all of us and all I can see is a country tearing itself apart because it suits the Murdoch media and the few hundred thousand members of the ALP and LNP.

  2. Totally agree with the comments of deccles26.
    It’s fast becoming the Dark Ages of Political leadership not just here, but throughout the world.

What do you think?