Australian Notes

Australian notes

9 July 2016

9:00 AM

9 July 2016

9:00 AM

Some readers may be wondering what it’s like to vote Labor for the first time. Okay, by ‘vote Labor’ I mean that in the House I put the Greens last, the LNP second last, Labor third last, and then just tried to order the rest from least to most crazy at the top of the ballot. But my preferences did flow to Labor. So what was that like?

Well, I was delighted to learn that voting Labor automatically gets you a union credit card for use in various ‘entertainment venues’ across the country. And immediately after voting for Electricity Bill one had the liberating feeling that the goal was to vote early and vote often. Plus, who can deny that it’s helpful to have a billion dollar a year behemoth of a public broadcaster ‘being balanced’ on your new team’s behalf, 24 hours a day, using the tax dollars of people on the other side of the political divide. I mean, really, what is the problem with the fact that not a single, solitary presenter or producer on the ABC’s main television current affairs shows is right of centre? No problem at all once you’re a lefty. We Labor voters trust Tony Jones and the Ultimo mafia to look inside themselves and then put aside all their political proclivities (for renewables, against Brexit, no plebiscite on who can marry, anti the Catholic Church, über pro-Muslims, scaremongering on climate change, all of them and more) and to be wholly balanced. That’s what balance means, isn’t it, that lefties will try to be balanced but God forbid righties sure will never get that chance? And heck, we Labor voters know that the Coalition will never have the cojones to do anything about ‘our’ (and for the first time I really do mean ‘our’) ABC.  Afterall, who did Mr Abbott put in charge of the ABC? Yep, Turnbull. (More on the Great Communicator in a moment.)

Plus, I got to wear a red T-shirt and hang out with naïve young people.  Okay, the superbly good looking women were all down the street at the Greens Party shindig. Still, at least there were no blue rinse babes at the Labor Party celebrations. On top of all that, and this one was a really nice perk, after years and years of handing out election bumpf for the Libs, this past Saturday I had the day off. Nothing short of my kids being kidnapped would have got me to lift a finger for Turnbull and his 54 defenestrating henchmen (oops, now that I’m a brain-dead Laborite I suppose I should worship at the altar of  Mr Australian of the Year’s commitment to Orwellian newspeak and say ‘henchchicks’).

Did I mention that once you preference Labor ahead of the Libs a sort of spiritual enlightenment descends on you, a sense of egalitarian well-being, and you simply stop fretting about the deficit and the exploding debt and your kids’ futures and after just a few dozen hypnosis sessions you come to half-believe that Wayne Swan really was a great Treasurer. And that spending is investment. And that having the world’s near-highest minimum wage has no bad consequences at all, it just makes everyone richer. And that raising taxes does count as ‘savings’.


Plus, as a Labor voter I’ll now fit in with the other 95 per cent of people who work at universities and who vote Labor. Okay, half of them actually might vote Green but you get the general idea of ‘balance’ at universities; it’s the ABC on steroids. Oh, and now I will fit in at dinner parties, which can end amicably; my wife won’t be afraid of what I might say; I can go to the local coffee shop and order a fair trade, soy latte; and my in-laws are likely to again talk to me.

Okay, okay, okay I jest. None of that is true. Fun to write, yes. But not true. I preferenced Labor in the hope that the Liberal Party might get rid of Turnbull for all the reasons I have laid out many times in this wonderful publication over many months. I elected to follow a sort of counsel of despair, opting for the lesser of two evils on the calculation that this was the better option if one took a medium to long term perspective rather than a short term one.

Truth be told, so far so good. Turnbull ran a mean-spirited, ‘all about me’ campaign that basically ignored the unions (and the legislation that nominally triggered the double dissolution), the boats, any hint of criticism directed towards the rent-seeking renewables crowd and that gave the Liberal base the old middle finger on superannuation and all things conservative. It was like a controlled experiment to see if Mark Textor was correct that the conservative base of the party simply didn’t matter and would fall in line and vote Lib. However, cometh the day, deserteth the base. Time, I think, to de-friend Mr Textor.

So what next? Well, I personally will never vote Liberal again until Turnbull is gone. I don’t know how many readers agree with that sentiment, but I’m betting there are a fair few of you out there. It is time for the Liberal Party room to hold a spill and get him out. No recriminations about the past. No need to admit – if you are one of the 54 defenestrators – that you made a mistake, as that is plain for all to see. Simply call to mind the sage words of Nike, and ‘just do it’. Failing that the National Party needs to come into the Liberal caucus room and lay down the law. Turnbull goes, or we go – and we welcome as many of you as wish to join us.

Otherwise, can anyone seriously see this ending well for the Liberals? Okay, by ‘anyone’ I exempt such insightful luminaries as Niki Savva, Peter van Onselen and all the media types on the ABC and elsewhere who assured us Malcolm would walk on water, not sink like a stone.

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