pages of 25th November 2007 Sydney newspapers

What an exciting time. Our new overlord, Kevin Rudd, wiped away 11 years of reactionary rule under lying rodent John Howard. The weather has brightened. The mood has risen. The future looks bright. I'm sure he'll manage to disappoint within the week, but for now I'm pleased.

Last night I had three bottles of bubbly ready to go. One was for Howard conceding government, one was for him conceding his seat and the final was for Malcolm Turnbull conceding his seat. The first two went surprisingly early in the night, and when it looked like Turnbull would hold onto his seat we drank the final one to try to forget.

protect Australia from angry lesbians and whinging poofs

After the result was clear, we left the party at Leonie and Mikey's place and headed to the People's Republic of Newtown for Good Rid Dance but by the time we got there it was winding down.

We moved on to a free party in Alexandria, which was shut down before we got there. Bit of a shame but it was 02:00 already, so it'd been a big night of celebration.

Disappointingly the booth I spent six hours on yesterday only scored 194 people. In this area it's not surprising though, as it's rusted on Labor. More surprising is the number of Tory voters! Hell, even the decidedly slimy-looking Socialist got a couple of votes. The hours spent in the 20,000 vote Australia House polling booth were much more productive.

Nationally The Greens did well, with the vote holding despite a massive swing to Labor. Unfortunately it looks like Kerry will miss out in the Senate for NSW, which is a real shame as she's been an excellent representative there.

Remember one thing: Greens in the Senate

Tomorrow is the big day, Howard's End. Something I've been waiting 11 years for. The day his particular breed of reactionary politics is shown the door.

There's really only one thing you must remember when voting tomorrow. Regardless of who wins government (and it looks like a Labor landslide is in the offing), the most important vote is the Senate. The conservatives, in conjunction with the hard-right "Christian" party Family First, currently hold the balance of power. Labor has no chance of winning control of the Senate in their own right, so the best option is to get Greens onto those red benches.

The best outcome is a Labor government with the Greens holding the balance in the Senate. This means the Senate becomes a house of review again, rather than the rubber stamp it's been under Howard. Labor will be forced to compromise to get support from the Greens, but the threat of support from the conservatives and religious nuts will force the Greens to be reasonable.

Only the Greens support the full reversal of Howard's divisivle Workchoices, and we will support and hopefully strengthen Labor's plans to dismantle it.

Both major parties are planning to build the pulp mill in Tasmania. Only the Greens have opposed it throughout the dodgy approval process. Both major parties also support increased uraniam mining and nuclear power. Yes, even Peter Garrett.

Radioactive HowardRadioactive Garrett

The Greens support public education, not tax cuts to the rich. My uncle (a public school teacher) had a great comment about government funding for private schools. Just because you build a pool in your backyard doesn't mean you should get a rebate for not using the government-funded public pool.

Finally, The Greens are the only party that support full equality for GLBTI relationships.

Isn't a vote for a minor party a wasted vote?

No. Unlike some other countries, Australia has a system called "Preferential Voting" or "Instant-runoff voting". You number the candidates according to your preference and, if your first candidate isn't the winner, your vote is transferred to your next preference. I explained it in some detail on my blog and there's a great video explaining it by the Greens.

What about this <insert minor party>

Beware the little parties you've never heard of. While they might have a nice fluffy sounding name, some of them have very sinister agendas.

  • Family First has a very narrow definition of "family" and is quite obsessed with sex and sexuality, namely controlling yours.
  • Non-Custodial Parents are preferencing some very dodgy parties, so I doubt they really have the interests of most single parents at heart.
  • Climate Change Coalition have done some very shonky preference deals, including putting The Fishing Party ahead of The Greens, with Family First and One Notion ahead of Labor!
  • Democratic Labor Party, to paraphrase the old joke about the Libs, are neither democratic, nor a party. These are incredibly conservative Catholics who are still convinced there's a red under every bed, preferencing the Coalition, Family First and Fred Nile ahead of Labor.
  • Conservatives for Climate and Environment will never get a seat in the Senate, and their preferences go straight to the Coalition. The only circumstance it might make sense to vote for them is if you want to vote Coalition but also want to send a message about climate change and the environment. I guess.

I've gone through the NSW Senate preferences in more detail on my blog before.

If you're voting tomorrow afternoon at St Peters Public School, you'll probably run into me. Be sure to say hello.

It's the style, not the content

The 7:30 Report last night followed the campaigning in the so-called bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, which is where I grew up. Watching the incumbent Tory campaign against the Labor candidate, I had a sudden realisation about how Labor have so cleverly differentiated themselves, while still actually promising and porking in much the same way.

When Nairn was pointing to things he'd achieved for the electorate, and things he was promising for the electorate, he placed large emphasis on the amount of money. It was "$100 million for the Pambula bridge upgrade". The Labor guy, while dispensing just as much promised pork, emphasised the outcome rather than the cash value. The party itself, and the press releases, still include values, but his own message was very much the outcome.

Could it be that the public subconsciously realise that they're being bribed with their own money? Or perhaps the fiscal responsibility message that Rudd so cleverly picked after Howard's incontinent campaign launch (as I prediceted the day before the Labor launch, though it was an obvious option) has actually sunk in?

Normal programming resumes next week

Stig asks if I have an RSS feed without all the political crap. The election is this Saturday, so by Monday I'll be over it and the realisation that Rudd is almost (but thankfully not quite exactly) the same as Howard...

Come Monday, this blog will be back to its usual programming of complaining about my bunions, or something.

No pork for Grayndler

When you live in a safe Labor seat the porky treats don't seem to flow so fast. The best local Labor ubergruppenfuhrer could muster was insulating the local high school against aircraft noise and cleaning up some stormwater. Hell, the "Recent News" on the front page of his site lists water projects in WA, Tasmania and Western NSW. Given the staggering quantities of porcine delights being bandied around, it doesn't amount to much.

Couple that with the fact that I haven't seen Albo at all in the year I've lived here, especially not during the campaign. Great to have a local member who doesn't need to give a shit about his electorate.

If, like me, you live in Grayndler, make it a closer two-way fight by voting Greens. Hopefully that way we'll at least get some attention from our local member.

Predicting the federal election

It's always dangerous picking the winner of an election, but it should be pretty clear to just about everyone now who's going to win. The question remains, by how much.

So going out on a limb somewhat, I'm going to call it for a Labor landslide. It might not translate into a landslide of seats though, but the two-party preferred vote will have a margin of at least 12%. They'll scrape over the line in the Senate with either an outright majority or have to rely on The Greens in the Senate, but will at least extinguish the Tory majority there and hopefully silence the religious nutjobs.

Tasmania will be a clean Labor sweep, and the pulp mill will thus be canned shortly after the election, though Gunns will get mightily compensated in some way for it.

What's your prediction?

EPG at last

Seems that the TV networks in Australia are finally telling us what they'll be playing, something they've refused to do in the past. They've even sued one EPG provider for providing independently-created data about upcoming shows. And lost.

I had used IceTV but was kinda resentful of having to pay so much for something so basic. Eventually when my subscription expired I changed to shepherd, which does a bunch of screen scraping and downloads of free information to compile a guide. It works brilliantly and has a very clever architecture.

I'll check it out tonight, but in the past there have been criticisms of the on-air EPG because it sometimes says useless stuff like "AFTERNOON MOVIE" instead of actually naming it. We'll see!

Greens in London

volunteers at Australia House, London
Some of the Greens volunteers

Voting started last week at the busiest polling place in Australian elections, Australia House situated on The Strand in London. The embassy is open all this week, including until 20:00 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

queues from the 2004 election
Queues at the 2004 election

Australia House saw more than 20,000 voters pass through last time, with queues wrapped around the block on the busiest evenings. Working hard to get as many Green votes as possible, while standing out in the cold, is a small team of Greens volunteers organized by the resourceful Michelle Wauchope (first on the left in the first photo) from South Australia.

"Many ex-pats do see the Greens has having an important role to play in Australia's future," booth coordinator Michelle said. "With the recent statistics about Australia being the worst Co2 polluters per capita, the refusal of Kyoto, our role in the Iraq war, and our treatment of refugees, Australia, and therefore Australians, are often poorly perceived by the people we brush up against every day."

Last election we were inside the Embassy itself, but this time party volunteers have been forced into the harsh London winter. Michelle has found relief from "a set of thermal pants under the trousers, a scarf and a decent jacket and jumper. Still wish we were in 32 degree days doing this though!"

So if you're over in London, get yourself down to the embassy and vote. If you're keen, help out the Greens at the booth.

The full timetable and details of voting are available on the Australian High Commission site. To get involved in the campaign in London and help out, get in touch with Michelle by email at

Greens volunteers from 2004 election
Greens volunteers from 2004 election