Thursday, September 5, 2013

An Election About Nothing?

You know how people often refer to Seinfeld as being about nothing? Well, that is the unfortunate nickname the 2013 Australian 'Seinfeld' federal election, which will take place this Saturday, is earning for itself. Being the good political science graduate that I am, I've been trying to understand as much as I can about Australian politics and the upcoming election. This is what I've gathered so far...

The country has two main parties:

The left-ish party that is currently in power. It's led by Kevin Rudd, the current Prime Minister of Australia. Funnily enough this is his second time leading the party; he was ousted in 2010 by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, then he came back and did the same to her three years later. He's wildly unpopular for a host of reasons: he isn't all that personable, he's instated some unpopular taxes and one time he made a flight attendant cry. While the party's policies seem okay to me, I question whether Rudd is an effective leader and don't think he's a good choice for Prime Minister.

The more right-wing of the two main parties. The Liberals currently form a Coalition with several other center-right Australian parties. The party is led by Tony Abbott, known in political cartoons for his comically large ears. Abbott's main promises seem to be taking an even harder line on asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat (where thousands of people, most of them refugees, arrive each year) as well as scrapping taxes on carbon emissions and mining profits. He's also against same-sex marriage. He reminds me a lot of George Bush: much of what he says makes him sound terribly stupid and many people really seem to hate him (see the photos I took below). That being said, polls predict he will be Australian's next Prime Minister. Bit scary if you ask me, but so was Bush becoming President. Twice.

So it's basically looking like one of these two parties, neither of which seem to have platforms that will make any major positive changes, is going to win. The Australians I've spoken to seem genuinely uncertain as to who they will vote for. We'll see what happens on Saturday!

Anti-Abbott sentiments being expressed in Melbourne

P.S. Obviously I can't vote but if I could, I'd vote Green, a party who prioritizes issues I think matter the most in Australia: environmental sustainability, indigenous reconciliation and welcoming more refugees. Plus, the leader is female!


Conor Howell said...
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Conor Howell said...

i think dan kelly sums up my feelings pretty accurately
this was originally written about john howard (the liberal PM before k-rudd came to power) but i think it describes the current political situation better than it did back then.