tales from urban dilettantia


What Post-Election Comedown?

Listening to the people around me in the office today (someone remind me to take a few days’ leave after elections in the future) I’m full of gratitude for you wonderful people I have talked to about voting on Twitter, LJ and Facebook over the past few weeks. You take it so seriously, make every effort to inform yourselves, educate your peers, ask questions before election day (not after), take time to think about policies and…well, I just have so much respect for you and am proud to share citizenship and an electoral system with you.

While we wait for the electorates of Hasluck, Boothby and Dunkley to be counted, I will foist on you a number of utterly random thoughts to pass the time:

1. It’s ‘bellwether‘, not ‘bellweather’ – the word comes from the practice of putting a bell on the lead sheep so the shepherd could locate the flock. (Although I did read that so many people misspell it that the OED now lists the ‘weather’ spelling as a variant.)

2. All the non-partisan electoral posting has exhausted my capacity for neutrality and consequently I’m now all about the loathing and the outraged feminism and the seething and gloating in a most unbecoming and partisan manner. It had to come out sometime.

3. I’ve been thinking hard about the potential impacts of optional preferential voting in the lower house; can anyone direct me to any studies or academic thinking on what the ethical and practical consequences, positives and negatives of this might be? I’m looking specifically at a system where any sequentially numbered lower house ballot would be counted so far as preferences were numbered – whether that be one candidate, all candidates, or some proportion in-between – and then expire when no more numbered preferences were marked.

4. I’m seeing a lot of people say that Australia has decided ‘not to decide’, or that Australians have voted to punish Labor by not giving them power, but not giving power to the Coalition, and many similar things. This has been grating on me a little every time I see it, as it assumes that ‘Australia’ has a single consciousness and is capable of ‘deciding’ to deliver a hung Parliament. Since ‘some of each please’ (or indeed ‘none of each please’) wasn’t an option on the ballot papers, I think it’s a little more rational to assume that around half of the voters happened to like Labour a bit more, and half liked the Coalition a bit more. This is not some canny plot by a hive-mind of ‘Australian voters’ to deliver a hung result, because as cool as a hive-mind would be, we don’t actually have one. Or if we do, I wasn’t invited.

5. Speaking of ‘mad as a cut snake’ (I know we weren’t; I just like the phrase and have a great desire to use it at every opportunity), the imminent removal of Tuckey and Fielding from Parliament merits celebration, I feel.

6. Shorten, Arbib, Feeney, Howes and Bitar have shattered my support for the Labor party for me for a very long time to come. Is there any point in writing to my local Labor MP (Stephen Smith) to explain how very disappointed my friends and I are about the party’s decline into xenophobic marketing, focus-group-driven spin, censorship, sacrificial lambs and the like? I know the ALP has always been factional and that the Catholic Right boys have long wielded power, but I am beyond disgusted this time around.

7. The count for my electorate shows a 5% higher turnout than the State average, a relatively tiny Family First vote (I charitably like to think some of those people just looked at the ballot and thought ‘Families, hey? I have one of those!’ without checking what they were voting for) and a big Green vote currently hovering around 15-16%. What a lovely bunch of hippies (or disenfranchised Labor voters) we are!

Category: politics


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@dilettantiquity is interested in an unreasonable number of things, including the wide and wonderful universe, happiness, well-being, wine, optimal human experience, non-violent communication, complex systems, existential nihilism, rationality, technology, grassroots organising, cacophony, music, creativity, learning and love.