So it looks like a federal election has been called in my home country.
Excuse my schadenfreude (link NSFW if you’re offended by strong language or singing puppets), but it feels great to be on the other side of the world while this all goes on, sipping beer by the side of a pool in sunny Texas.
This will be the second election I’ve managed to be overseas for, the previous time being the 2004 election. The peace and calm afforded by being thousands of miles away from the nearest campaign poster is serene (assuming that the campaigning for the primaries for the 2016 US election doesn’t start in the next month).
To explain to those readers outside Australia, the political process in Australia is in somewhat of a tragicomic state. The comedy lies in the lack of wisdom, grace and maturity on the part of politicians and pundits alike; the tragedy is that in the absence of a better option, the Australian people have little choice but to put up with it.
After all, as Churchill pointed out: “Democracy is the worst system devised by wit of man, except for all the others”.
If you’re expecting an endorsement or even a prediction for the election, look elsewhere. There hasn’t been a political party in Australia that I’ve considered worthy of supporting, at least not in the time that I’ve been eligible to vote. Even the ABC’s vaunted VoteCompass wasn’t able to make a coherent recommendation as to how I should vote (though I recommend you at least check it out, and if you’re concerned that it’s biased, confirm your results using Political Compass, or tools that use similar methodologies).
My advice to those in Australia preparing to vote is to consider your options carefully, do your research on the parties, the candidates, their policies (and whether they align with their ideologies or appear to be an attempt to pander to the electorate), and vote intelligently. An informed democracy is a healthy democracy.
Also, vote below the line, even if it takes you half an hour to do so (Queensland, Victoria, I’m looking at you). It’s easier than scrutinising and decoding the preferences of each of the parties (which will change up to the day of the election), and you guarantee that your preferences reflect your views, and not a closed-door deal between two candidates.
In the meantime, try not to go mad from all the campaigning. It’ll be over soon.
And in true Australian fashion, you’ll get a BBQ sausage for your troubles. Democracy sausage - the taste of liberty.
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