Sunday, November 25, 2007

Go Aussie, Go!

So the Howard era in Australian politics is finally over - after eleven and a half long years. Hooray!

Australians can now look forward to a swift ratification of the Kyoto Treaty (at last!!!), the beginning of withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq (about time too!), a return to fairer contract and working conditions for workers, and hopefully a review of the nation's attitude towards and treatment of its indigenous people.

w00t! The ABC has a bloody AWESOME website covering the election. Check it out!

What a great result! Congratulations Kevin Rudd! I hope you do everything you have promised - and more.

It's VERY interesting to note how strong the Green vote was across the country. In many seats, the preferential voting system (where voters number the candidates on the ballot paper in the order of their preference) has seen the Green vote helping the Labour candidate to cross the line ahead of the Liberal - even, in some cases, where the Liberal received a higher number of primary votes.

The system isn't perfect - the small National party won 10 seats across the country with only 5.5% of the vote, compared with the Greens who won no seats and yet received 7.8% of votes nationwide - and won more primary votes than National! How does that work? Can someone who knows more abut Aussie politics than I do please explain that to me?

But still - it's very good to see Labour defeat the Liberals at last - and even better to see the Green vote increase - reaching the heady heights of 13.3% in ACT and 13.5% in Tasmania.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the proposed (and deeply unpopular) pulp mill in Tasmania. The 5 Labour victories out of 5 seats in that state were most definitely helped by the transfer of the substantial Green vote - particularly in Bass where without those votes, the Liberal candidate would have won, and in Franklin and Braddon, where Labour and Liberal were running neck and neck. Time will tell whether Labour will repay the favour by doing what the Greens (and many of the voters) want them to do - prevent the pulp mill from going ahead.

Oh - and if John Howard does lose his own seat of Bennelong - which as I write this seems entirely possible - after 33 years as the representative of that constituency - he will be only the second Prime Minister in Australian history to suffer such an ignominious loss.

I know that the War on Iraq has been far less important to the Australian voters than it will be in the US next year - domestic issues have taken centre stage in the Oz election - but I can't help thinking back to those pictures of Bush and Howard at APEC in Sydney and smiling to myself a little. The company you keep will always come back to bite you in the bum someday.

Wishful thinking - Howard and Bush behind bars.

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Douglas Wilkie said...

Hi Webweaver! Often come to your blog for useful little bits and pieces... but you're right - there's a new sense of having a heavy burden lifted from our shoulders here. Sometimes hard to believe there are actually people out there who kept voting Howard in - but they've finally got the message. And Howard losing his own seat is just the right finishing touch to it all.

webweaver said...

Hi Douglas!

I know! I just didn't understand how he was getting voted in again and again. "Oh this time surely they'll see sense" I used to think at every election... But no!

So hooray to Australia for finally kicking the bums out - and yes you are right - what a fitting end for Howard to lose his own seat as well. Double hooray!