Monday, August 30, 2004

To the polls

For the first time in a long time, I’m a little bit excited about the upcoming election. I live in “safe Labor” inner-Melbourne seat, with a local member who’s a time-serving tool. I know nothing about the Liberal candidate, but I’m confident enough in my assessment of major party bipartisanship to, come October 9, be giving the Libs my second preference – with the Greens getting the first.

Unwittingly confirming my bipartisanship theory, Anne Summers writes today:

For the first time since at least 1996, there is real choice. None of the "me-tooism" that Kim Beazley offered last time. There are clear policy differences on issues such as the management of the US alliance, ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, child care and the income level at which tax cuts apply.

All four of which “issues” grip me like a used condom.

The reason for my excitement is that the Greens actually have a realistic chance of getting over the line this time. In 2001, they came within 3.6% of second place in my electorate – if they can get there this time, the distribution of preferences should do the rest.

Not that I’m especially rah-rah for the Greens, mind you. It's an irony, given that many of my fellow Greens voters (and especially affluent boomers) will be voting that way primarily because of disaffection the major parties’ handling of the refugee issue. For me, the exact opposite is true – refugee policy and Iraq are the very areas in which I have significant disagreement with Greens policies. But I’ll just grit my teeth here, when it comes to polling day. However, were I enrolled in Bennelong, there’s no way I could bring myself to vote for Andrew Wilkie – a self-important boomer idiot, cum poor-man’s version of a Peter Garrett celebrity candidate blow-in.

Geoff Honnor, being a typical Sydney-sider, dismisses the Greens chances nationally through the prism of their chances in inner Sydney. Don’t know much about Tanya Plibersek, but hell would freeze over before I voted for Anthony Albanese (his apparent enthusiasm for gay marriage notwithstanding). As Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training, Albanese has been a complete soft-touch – making me strongly suspect that a for-the-aspirationals Latham government would have an even nastier punishing-the-unemployed (and rewarding the private “welfare” lobby to do the job) policy than the 1996-2004 Howard government.

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