The results are in and Australia has a new Prime Minister.
Yes, another one. Our third this year.
And I cannot believe this man has been chosen by ‘the people’ to represent them.
Or has he?
When I moved to the UK almost ten years ago, I added myself to the UK’s electoral roll (as an Australian, I can do that here). There are many places in the world where having your say is not an option so I appreciate the privilege of living in a society that allows me to do this, whatever the mechanism.
At the same time, I removed myself from the Australian electoral roll, figuring that if I make my home elsewhere, it is not for me to have a say in the lives of those who still live in Australia. That is their privilege – albeit a compulsory one. But I remain staunchly Australian, carrying my native twang, laconic style and direct approach with pride and hoping to be a good ambassador for my homeland wherever I go.
The outcome of this weekend’s election Down Under has left me stunned. I can find absolutely nothing to recommend Tony Abbott and as far as I’m concerned, he is an incredibly poor representative of the Australian people. And unusually – I move in opinionated and voluble circles – I haven’t come across anyone with a different point of view. No-one.
Pundits talk about a long election campaign (seven months) riddled with ‘reality stunts’ as opposed to committed and thoughtful politics; a circus of name-calling and sniping that perhaps voters just wanted to be done with. And given the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd tug of war within the Labor Party, perhaps people voted for the leader with a semblance of alignment behind him.
So what did happen? Is it a result of apathy or is there really something worthwhile under all of the surface nastiness and sniping? I’d be genuinely interested to hear any views that explain Abbott and the coalition’s policies, if only to understand what the future looks like over the next four years for Australia.
Australia continues to hold the rest of the world in its ‘lucky country’ thrall and with a pretty buoyant economy (by global standards) and four cities in the world’s top ten most liveable cities, this perception seems warranted.
But after this weekend, I’m left wondering whether our luck’s about to run out.