The 2013 Federal Election

picture of rubbish left after the federal election

Seven hours ago I was handing out how to vote cards for the Greens at the 2013 Australian Federal election. I was hoping that either we would have a Labor/Greens coalition or an outright majority for Labor. Unfortunately we got a Liberal majority in the lower house and it looks like some extreme right wing groups may get into the senate (replacements for “Family First” – the anti-Gay party).

For some reason the polling station where I was working only had volunteers from the three major parties (Greens, Labor, and Liberal) while other polling stations in the same electorate had volunteers from smaller parties such as the Sex Party and the Socialist Alliance.

The volunteers from the Liberal party ate McDonalds outside the polling station and afterwards McDonalds rubbish was left on the ground, the above picture isn’t particularly clear because I took it after 6PM when the polls closed. The Liberals didn’t care enough to put their rubbish in a bin, it’s an externality for them, if they get enough seats in the senate they will surely take the same approach to governing Australia. The Labor people didn’t take the effort to clean up the Liberal mess even though it wasn’t particularly difficult to do so, I think that’s the type of attitude that led to this election defeat. In the case of the McDonalds rubbish in question I put it in the bin so that when the primary school kids return on Monday their school won’t be too messy after the election. But in the case of the mess that is being made in Australian politics it will take many more Greens votes to allow us to clean it up.

7 thoughts on “The 2013 Federal Election”

  1. What an excellent example of bias and the poor value of anecdotal evidence!
    My grand-children play soccer at a neighbourhood club, where most of the parents support the Coalition. They leave the grounds tidy and free of rubbish after the Saturday games.
    There is an AFL ground a few hundred metres from my home, where many Labour and Green oriented parents gather to urge their children on aggressively on Saturdays. The Sunday morning mess they leave is disgusting and is cleaned up by a team of paid workers.
    It’s sad that conservation, which is a concern for us all, is claimed by such a dogmatic, ill-educated political movement.

  2. Paleoflatus: The main point of my post is an analogy to the political process. While leaving McDonalds rubbish on the ground doesn’t do much damage to society and is easily fixed (maybe the primary school in question would have paid someone to do that), invading other countries with no good plan and then giving minimal physical and psychological treatment to soldiers who are harmed in battle does a lot of damage and isn’t easily fixed. The same goes for the mining friendly policies which result in environmental pollution. Sorry if this was too subtle for you to understand.

    Conservation is obviously not a concern for everyone, in fact denying climate change is Liberal party policy!

    In terms of competing anecdotes, you should realise the difference between the actions of children of people who might vote a certain way (and I’m sure you didn’t poll the kids who dropped the rubbish in question to determine how their parents voted) and the actions of people who are representing a party on election day.

  3. > Unfortunately we got a Liberal majority in the lower house

    No, the Liberals didn’t, it looks like they are tied with Labor and there is no way they will have the majority. In coalition with the Nationals however, they do have a majority.

  4. Mysta Squiggle: You are correct, but in practice the Liberal and National parties are the same thing. It’s not as if the National party actually represents rural people, if they did then under a “coalition” government the anti-competitive actions of the grocery chains wouldn’t be permitted to bankrupt farmers. A small increase in the food price would solve the financial problems of most farmers, but the profits of Woolworths and Coles are more important – that’s the Liberal party representing the interests of a cartel of big corporations and the National party totally failing to represent the people who voted for them.

  5. Personally I sympathise with you and the farmers and wonder why Greens and Nationals don’t work together more (see also: Fracking). However, what you describe is the frustrating dynamics of any coalition, just like the Labor-Greens-Independents coalition.

    That Gillard coalition (small “c”) government was referred to disparagingly as a “minority government” yet so is every Coalition (big “C”) government…

    Ironically the Gillard government passed more bills per month than any other government in our history…

    So it is not just technically incorrect to say we have a Liberal majority in the lower house, it is (unintentionally) ideologically misleading.

  6. @Paleoflatus it was a metaphor that would probably hold up to polling. Exceptions do exist if we accept statistics and normal curves the generalisation holds true. I concede that probably the majority of Greens voters would not do as @etbe did but they are far more likely than Laborals. Greens votesr are not immune from Greenwashing but the party members are sincere from what I’ve seen.

    I have argued with Greens that they should maybe engage with the segment of Shooters & Fishers that respect nature (not leaving rubbish behind, not shooting unless you are confident of a clean shot, throwing back undersized fish, sticking to existing bushtracks). Many of them could teach urban Greens (and most of them are indeed urban) a thing or two about nature. Having little contact with S&F I may be a little wishful and romantic in my thinking though.

  7. Mysta Squiggle: The Greens members are more than willing to work with farmers and I don’t think that there’s any great policy obstacles, when I discuss politics with a friend who’s a farmer we tend to agree on most things. But I get the impression that a significant number of farmers have no interest in reading Greens policies, a significant portion of the abuse that I receive from voters when handing out Greens HTV cards comes from people who identify as farmers.

    Thanks for the links, they are very informative.

    In regard to S&F, there’s no chance for a deal there. The opposition to shooting within the Greens is too great. If there was a fishers lobby group then we could make a deal with them.

    I disagree with the claim that urban Greens need to be taught about nature. Within the Greens there is a huge number of people who like camping and bushwalking (which may involve fishing). In regard to policy issues related to farming understanding science and economics seems more important than actual experience farming.

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