Top ten reasons I am over the 2013 election

I am often moved to shout at the telly these days. I like politics. I consider myself reasonably well informed. I live in Canberra – I am sometimes close to the political action. I usually love elections. This time round I despair. For the first time in my voting life, I am over it before the voting even starts!

I am seriously over what passes for commentary in most quarters. I am tired of the reductive three word slogans. I am totally over the demonising of people seeking asylum to this country.

What to do? I can spend time hiding under a rock. I can turn off the tv. I can block my ears. But none of these are my style. Without further ado, here then are the top ten reasons I am over the 2013 election … before it even happens.

Number 10

Shallow commentary and the paucity of analysis. Many times during this campaign, the media have played the people and not the policy, in their analysis. Further to this, the questions asked by journalists (not all, but a great many of them) do not deal with the premise of the arguments put forward by politicians. Questions about truth, untruth and trust and betrayal are less useful for me, than questions about policy and its underlying principles. Also gross misuse of the term ‘beg the question’ which (for the love of god!) does not mean the need to ask a question but rather that the question itself, which requires proof, is assumed without proof. Or to put it another way, ‘listening to Tony Abbott induces anger because he is enraging’.

Number 9

Glib smugness from some candidates including most of the front bench of either side. Notable examples include Kevin Rudd at a DisabilityCare launch patting (?!) the head of a woman in a wheel chair, Tony Abbott trying to kiss women and babies, Christopher Pyne wishing people would describe him as having sex appeal and everything that has even been uttered by Joe Hockey, and the list goes on and on and on. It includes politicians from both sides.

Number 8

Abbott’s interview with Leigh Sales on 22 August 2013. “Let me just say this Leigh; Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh, Leigh.” Enough!

Number 7

Economic voodoo – low interest rates are bad, economic stimulus was negative and our economy is tanking, is what we have been told over and over. Except that none of these are true. But don’t take my word for it, I give you an opportunity to hear from an actual expert – Joseph Stiglitz – professor of economics at Columbia University and Nobel Prize in economics, commenting on Australia’s economy.

Number 6

The fear campaign about the fact that we are struggling and unsafe, when we are safer and richer than ever.

Number 5

The mere idea that the NBN will deliver anything less than fibre to my home. NOW. That might actually be the worst part of the whole election. Listening to the Shadow Minister talk rubbish, which he knows is rubbish, about technology. Are you listening to us Malcolm? Well ARE you?

Number 4

That there are still people who do not live in the Prime Minister’s electorate who talk about not voting for him. If you don’t live in Griffith, you cannot vote for K Rudd. Same if you do not live in Warringah, you cannot vote, or not vote, for Tony Abbott.

Number 3

That Julia Gillard’s legacy is being sullied by the mud slinging and grubby race to the bottom.

As Barry Jones makes clear in his piece from The Conversation

There should be appropriate recognition of the major achievement of the 43rd Australian House of Representatives, the much traduced “hung parliament”, which lasted its full term, and passed 580 bills, 87% of them with Opposition support, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Gonski reforms. Julia Gillard deserves credit for maintaining support from independents and never facing a censure motion.

Number 2

That Australian elections have been highjacked by a quasi-presidential style campaign. In Australia, the leader of the party which wins the most seats in the House of Representatives, becomes the Prime Minister. There is no  separate vote for the executive arm of government. Campaigns urging Australians to vote for the Prime Minister of the country misrepresent our system of government.

Number 1

The number one reason I am over the 2013 election before I have even voted?


Never have I been more incensed about a three word slogan. Not only is the fear campaign the worst sort of populist scaremongering, it is not illegal to seek asylum. The boat arrivals are not illegal. We may not wish to see people risk their lives by trying to arrive in Australia by boat, but it is not illegal. And I am ashamed and appalled by both sides of politics on the issue of migration.

Disclaimer: I have been a union member – NUS and Education union as well as the public sector union in NSW. I have never been a member of a political party. I stopped voting for Labor in NSW after listening to Michael Egan refer to himself as a ‘fisherman’ who wanted credit for the Cross City Tunnel.