Every two or three years or so, a federal election comes around, and like Japanese earthquakes, the longer the wait, the worse things get.
Having endured one of the longest federal parliamentary terms in Australian history, this election’s set to be a doozy. Every election, I struggle with trying to determine which candidate least deserves my vote and then trying to number from the least to the most objectionable in turn. Given my new home in the seat of Hume, my choices this time around are likely to be…
Christian Democrats: It might come as a surprise to a lot of my friends that I don’t have a problem with Christians’ belief that homosexuality is a sin. I don’t agree with it, but if we’re all being sinful anyway, then what’s another black mark on one’s soul?
What I do have a problem with is using God as a convenient excuse for open bigotry and vilification against the LGBT and Muslim communities—and even then, being too lazy and stupid to do so consistently.
In short: burn in Hell, Fred.
Citizen’s Electoral Council: Two words—Lyndon LaRouche.
Family First: Steve Fielding apparently can’t tell the difference between incest and same-sex relationships, which prompts me to ask exactly what went on with his 15 siblings, and he opposed paid parental leave on the grounds that recipients might use late-term abortions to unfairly claim benefits. He also refuses to clarify whether or not he’s a Young Earth creationist, and believes that divorce contributes to global warming, despite an apparent inability to decide whether that warming is anthropogenic in nature.
Somehow, I suspect that not all of those voices Fielding hears are those of the Lord, and that Family First would do well to revisit Matthew 15:14. Until then, even prayer won’t garner my ballot.
The Greens: I met Bob Brown once, and he seemed like a nice enough guy; if he’s still around when I finally retire to Tasmania, then I might even throw a vote his way. But his party?
I don’t have a problem with gay marriage, nor with a comprehensive, evidence-based, harm minimisation policy to deal with drug abuse. But the Greens’ unwillingness to compromise on old-growth logging or emissions reduction undermines their credibility as a party primarily concerned with the welfare of the environment.
Were there any hope whatsoever that the Greens might find themselves with near-majorities in both Houses, then perhaps such a stance might parse as principled, but for the time being, I can’t help but suspect that whatever the Greens are about, it isn’t what it says on the box.
Labor: I never had enormous hopes for Kevin Rudd after the last election, having figured him as the latest iteration of the Keating-Howard continuum. He got off to a positive, if tokenistic, start by signing the Kyoto Protocol and saying “Sorry“—but things quickly went downhill from there.
Labor’s response to the home insulation scandal—if indeed there was a scandal—can best be described as gun-shy, their commitment to emissions control lacklustre and the Education Revolution hamfisted.
Then there’s their internet censorship policy, basically a rerun of Richard Alston’s ill-fated push from a decade before, which has been charitably compared to those of North Korea and Burma.
Furthermore, Labor’s immigration policy not only attempts to revive the Howard-era Pacific Solution, but also encourages the Sri Lankan government to—*shudder*—stem the flow of Tamil asylum seekers and entrusts the fate of those who do leave to an Indonesian coast guard whose refugee policy amounts to “loot and shoot“.
Now that Gillard’s taken the helm, she’s proven that she’s little better than her opponent—at best a political opportunist—and she’s done nothing to shed the last three years’ baggage. For all her talk of moving forward, I can’t sit through one of her campaign ads without feeling like I’ve soiled myself.
Liberal: My local member is the ever-controversial Alby Schultz. If you’ll pardon the expression, we don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues—Schultz accidentally lost an eye several years ago—but if he can distract Andrew Stoner from a career of impotent whinging long enough to actually suggest a course of action, then Schultz may be capable of other miracles.
I doubt, however, that Schultz’s preternatural gifts can overcome the influence of his parliamentary leader. Ordinarily, Tony Abbott’s leadership would be enough to dissuade me from voting Liberal. Despite the especially tough choice this election, though, Abbott easily rises to the challenge.
Even if we ignore Abbott’s bizarre, offensive comparison of asylum seekers to moneylenders on the Temple steps, his unasked-for frankness regarding his sex life, his mediaeval opinions on abortion and pre-marital sex and that unfortunate Speedo-related burusera saga, his policy on youth unemployment easily suffices to move my vote elsewhere.
Abbott makes no mention, of course, of physically or mentally-ill welfare recipients with only a partial capacity to work, nor unskilled recipients, nor of the negative consequences to the families he claims to cherish so greatly. Not surprisingly, objections were raised across the board—trade unions, charities, peak bodies and industry groups all howled Abbott’s suggestion down.
In response, Abbott claimed that it hadn’t been discussed with the Party Room and that he was just tossing ideas about. In essence, then, it seems that Abbott’s public statements are about as well-considered as One Nation’s policy platform, even on days when he’s not embroiled in a demarcation dispute with the Guild of Village Idiots.
Um, no thanks.
I guess, then, that this still allows for the possibility of an independent vote. It doesn’t matter how inbred or imbecilic you might be; if your web-fingered hands allow you fill out a nomination form, chances are that you’ll get my first preference. And after that, faced with equally odious choices, I may as well whip out the new dice-rolling app I bought for my iPhone…