…of the widely publicised election that nobody knew about in the USA.
Well, saying that nobody knew about the election would be a bit of an understatement; obviously news junkies, expats and anyone with an interest in Australia knew about the election that was held today down there. Of course, the pedantic side of me has to mention that almost all of the voting took place yesterday my time, since it’s midnight on the east coast at 7AM here during the winter… 😉
Anyway, if you were aware of how the election was going up until now, you wouldn’t be surprised that the result did wind up as it did – Labor picking up a massive load of seats in the House of Representatives, leading to John Howard (who, incidentally, might just be out of a job depending on the results of the absentee ballots) holding firm at his position on second in the chart of longest-serving Australian Prime Ministers.
I actually stayed up for quite a while last night (I was awake fully until about 2AM, then pretty much dozed off until 3, laying on the couch when I went to my bed proper) watching the coverage from ABC TV, which they were streaming for all to watch (and record, if you may know how to do that; which I do, so I can catch up on the bits I missed while sleeping, though I could have sworn that I heard Mr. Rudd giving a speech, with the cheering crowds and all). I have to say that everything that I had heard about one of their election analysts, Antony Green, was true – he made all this talk of “primary votes”, “two-party preference” and swings make sense. He also would be honest about what the numbers that were coming in actually meant.
All I’ll say is that it’s too bad that a network here doesn’t have the forethought to bring him overseas to possibly analyse our election. I guess beggars can’t be choosers, eh? 🙂
However, one of the most interesting aspects of this election is the fact that the American media couldn’t have cared less. Sure, it was an election occurring half a world away, but I will note that elections in the UK get quite a bit of attention; in fact, C-Span would air the BBC’s coverage on one of their networks, even going so far as having it on all night. If you were to tune in to the first two (and most widely distributed) of their networks this morning around 1AM, you would have seen some random government person giving a speech or an author giving a talk at a Barnes & Noble somewhere. The other news networks, all of which weren’t even showing new content (CNN [US], MSNBC and Fox News), may have mentioned the election, but I don’t follow those channels that much anymore; all I know is that 1 AM, they didn’t show coverage from their Aussie counterparts as well.
After it’s all been sorted, though, the news website emails I receive have mentioned the resounding defeat for the Liberals and the Nationals. Of course, it’s all put into the frame of reference that Howard was a staunch ally of President Bush, however, I don’t believe that the close ties to our government had much, if anything, to do with the defeat of the Coalition. If I had to guess, I’d say that the biggest issue that led to this result is the appearance that the recently enacted workplace reforms (WorkChoices), along with uncertainty in the housing market (an issue which wasn’t helped along with the fact that the Reserve Bank raised interest rates during the campaign, to a rate that was still lower than the rate that was in place when Howard took up residency in Kirribilli House some 11 years ago.
All in all, it will be interesting to see how it all comes out in the wash, and to see what kind of changes will go on Down Under over the next three to four years. Also, a question, when will Kevin become the PM? I’d guess before Christmas?