Australia votes tomorrow

After a long 6 weeks of campaigning that some people would say was really 12 months, tomorrow Australia goes to the ballot box to vote for the next government.

Despite the media led presidential style campaigning, the majority of the Australian population won’t be actually voting for the new Prime Minister. You’d be forgiven for thinking this, though.

As I said in Erk Pod episode 56, it is a real possibility that the current Prime Minster, John Howard, could lose his Sydney seat. And if he does, he will not be a member of Parliament and if he isn’t a member of Parliament, he can’t be Prime Minister.

Would it be good to have the Prime Minister as your local member of Parliament? Especially in John Howard’s case, I’d have to say no. He would be spending so much time being the Prime Minister that he probably would not spend the same amount of time during local member stuff as a backbencher would.

If somehow the Labour Party does not get over the line and Kevin 07 doesn’t move into The Lodge, I will be very shocked. If that doesn’t happen (ie the Liberals win) and John Howard gets his local seat, how long will he stay Prime Minister? Having said that, of course he is not automatically made Prime Minister just because he was in the seat before the election. The party would still have to decide on who will be in the big chair after the election anyway. Will Howard return to his chair at the head of the table for a while or will he hand over the reins to Peter Costello (current Treasurer) sometime in the future? Or will Costello be sitting in the big chair by this time next week?

In today’s Terrorgraph, the journos and editors were having fun reading various things into various other things to try and tell the result of the election. For instance, there was a photo of Prime Minister John Howard under a gray sky and have used polls to say that he is doomed.

So what can I tell from this photo of the campaign office of my local Liberal candidate? Her building is the blue building. On the left is a boutique that is closed and then there is a rug store on the right that is having a clearance sale. Not a good sign, is it?

How many people get confused about the various issues? How many people whinge about local or state issues when a Federal Election is on that have nothing to do with the Federal Government? The same applies in the opposite direction. Having said that, how many times do the Feds kick in for things that they don’t have to but they do it to improve their chances of re-election?

Do we have too many layers of government? At the most basic level, there is the local government. Then there are the state government and then there is the federal government overseeing everything.

However, there have been council mergers here in NSW with the aim of keeping local council services local but instead of having 4 adjacent councils in the one area, there might be 1 or 2. Another example is in Brisbane where the Brisbane City Council covers a lot of the Brisbane metropolitan area and indeed operates things like bus services throughout a wide area in Brisbane. Where is the line in the sand in relation to major state and national assets such as interstate highway networks?

Of course, the battle for the top job isn’t the only thing of interest for people who are interested. Across Australia, there are many battles going on for a seat in Parliament House. It actually reminds me of a long distance motor race.

You have your cashed up mega teams who unless something drastic happens, should be at the finish line at the end. For these teams, money is no object, the sky is the limit and resources are plentiful. In this case, think of Labour and Liberal.

Then you have the second tier teams. They don’t have the profile, the coin or the resources of the teams ahead of them on the starting grid. However depending on what happens, they may be there towards the end of the race. In some cases they’ll be on the top step of the podium spraying champagne but most of the time they’ll be back at the bar drinking domestic beer. Think of the Greens and the Democrats now.

And finally you have the privateers running around at the back of the field just running around for their enjoyment. Unless they have been in the sport for a long time and have a high profile, they might get lucky if it rains or if there is a huge accident and everyone bunches up behind the Safety Car. People question why privateers run but they do it for the enjoyment and they try their best with what they have.

I pre-voted today (Friday) and entering the pre-polling place is like running a gauntlet. Because the place was a erstwhile empty office, the door was only standard size and not shop sized. Of course, the “how to vote card handerouterors” (to quote Reality Cast’s Kram in his new blog “The Pierian Puddle“) were out in force to harass people going into to the polling place. In his post giving an inside look at how to vote cards here, Kram said that there was 5 different categories of people and how they react to the handerouterors, who in my case were extremely on the serious side and it isn’t even election day. According to his list, I used to be a type 4 (take everything) but I am now a type 1 (take nothing, get in as quick as possible). If I’d abuse people, I’d be a type 2.

So I went past the handerouterors with a short shake of the head, a small “no thanks” wave and a short and sharp “no thanks”. I must say that the Terrorgraph has been keeping track of the amount of CO2 used by John Howard and Kevin Rudd in their presidential style campaigns but I think they must have only been counting the air travel involved. They obviously weren’t counting all the election propaganda sent to me (and everyone else) within the past 6 weeks or so and all the how to vote cards that the handerouterers are handing out. How many people will actually read them? I know that I opened all mine (just to make sure that it wasn’t non election mail) and then without reading them, they got recycled. With all of the technology like the interweb and the saturation media coverage, is it a waste of time sending out propaganda and handing out the how to vote cards at the booths?

Anyhoo, I have now voted. I was nice to the lady who took my vote and even (for reasons unknown to me) I even tried a bit of comedy gear on her including suggesting that people make aeroplanes out of their Senate ballot papers and that I’ll see her in four years. If only we had fixed political terms but that is the subject of another post that I touch on in Erk Pod episode 56.

And what will I be doing tomorrow night when all of the votes are being counted and the media is saturated with media coverage? Channels 2, 7 & 9 are showing basically the same sort of coverage with different talking heads and SBS and 10 are having brief updates. Me, I’ll be at Parramatta City Speedway watching a Demolition Derby. Quite appropriate really, considering that Kevin 07 will be demolishing Little Johnny 1967 (in my opinion).

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