Today I went into a polling booth and made a non-choice between the non-politics of two major parties. I did it a) Because I was made to b) Because it's important to exercise your democratic freedoms and c) Because I was made to.
After reading through a handy checklist of the policies offered by all the major parties - find it here - I came to the depressing conclusion that they all offer nothing of real interest or usefulness to me and, instead, are grasping after the votes of significant minorities (older voters, families). The Coalition had the edge in regards to Iraq, Kyoto, and energy policy, but only marginally. Labor wants the 'troops out of Iraq' by Christmas but will keep them in the Gulf (whatever that means) and will also redeploy Australian troops in our own region (whatever that means.) Labor will sign up to Kyoto, but this is again only marginally worse than the Coalitions policy - to not sign up to Kyoto, but simply ensure that Australia does everything it can to appease continental Greenies who are to be blamed for the protocol in the first place.
Labor had a slight edge in relation to the arts, public health, and public education. Labor actually favours a new television station, while the Coalition simply wants the profits to continue to be shared out amongst Kommissars McManus, Singleton, Packer, etc - ie, they will continue to protect an already over-protected industry.
I will continue to support private education and private medication, but agree with Latham and the Labor party that, for them to be truly private, they must be willing to stand on their own two feet and submit to market forces, instead of continuing to rely upon limited Government funds, which really do need to be redirected into public schools and hospitals.
The Coalition favours the privatisation of Telstra - which would be a nice thing if it did happen. Labor supports 51% public ownership of Telstra. But both parties are broadly even on this issue - the Howard government is simply too cowardly to try to force the privatisation of Telstra through. They haven't done it in the past three years, and they won't do it (if they get in) in the next three years, either.
In the end, I voted - 1, Labor, 2, Liberals. Why? Well - a) It's time for a change, anyway - Governments should be changed regularly b) The Labor party had slightly better policies in areas that seemed to relate to me - the arts, youth, employment c) Under Latham's leadership, they've already brought about several important changes, and I think they may quite possibly be lying about Iraq, Telstra, etc, to get into power d) Latham may just be able to bring about some decent reforms - fixed terms, politicians salaries, limiting Government expenditure, and so on.
So that's it - my excuse, or my explanation. I think - no, wait, I KNOW that I'll be disapppointing a hell of a lot of Right Wing Death Beasts out there. I don't mind so much about that; what I do mind is being made to vote by politicians who are too cowardly to offer clear-cut policies, too timid to say what they mean, and too mendacious to do anything other than lie, lie, lie to an Australian public in order to get into power.
I would have voted anyway. But would they have acted the same way if I didn't HAVE to vote?
BY THE WAY - I live in Newcastle, one of the safest Labor seats in the country. So a Patriotic Vote for the Liberal party wouldn't have made a difference.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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