opinion piece · politics

much ado about auspol

In particular, the campaigning.

Australia has had five prime ministers in five years – Kevin, Julia, Kevin again, Tony, and now Malcolm. With both the ALP and the Liberals churning out disappointing leader after disappointing leader, it surely isn’t too much of an imagination stretch to say that Australians think the circus has overstayed its welcome.

The party campaigning leading up to the July 2 2016 election has been lacklustre, to say the least. On television, we are treated to Labor’s DUN-DUNNing impending doom ads that list former Liberal PMs “broken promises” (conveniently ignoring Julia “There will be no Carbon Tax under the government I lead” Gillard). The Liberals go for a more positive attempt, with Malcolm Turnbull lazily reciting his promises to the Australian people as he awkwardly strolls through a corridor and talks to a camera while bullet points appear beside him.

In the last three or four weeks, the only party making any effort to campaign in the North Sydney area has been the Liberal Party, thanks to Trent Zimmerman’s dedication and overall open and friendly personality. I have about 10 of his flyers at home – not out of any personal attention, but it seems like whenever I pass his enthusiastic team at Wollstonecraft station I find they’ve somehow stuffed several flyers into my hands without my knowledge. I don’t even know who the local Labor candidate is.

Something about this campaign period just seems very tired. Perhaps the parties know Australians are tired of catchy-but-meaningless slogans, like “Kevin 07” and “Stop the boats”. (Seriously, have you noticed that there aren’t campaign slogans this year? Malcolm dropped his Veep-inspired “Continuity and Change” slogan like a hot potato back in March.) It could be that the Liberals simply know that Bill Shorten and Richard di Natale are not serious enough threats to waste their efforts on campaigning against. Perhaps the ALP and Greens are trying to save money now so that they have a few dollars to contribute to their billion-dollar budgets in the event they are elected (ha).

Whatever the reason, the people campaigning the hardest are in fact members of the public, who promote their preferred parties by Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts.  It’s hard to say what the effect of this lack of official campaigning will have. Scare campaign advertisements on television don’t tend to have the same impact as your friends on Facebook making their own impassioned cases for their preferred party; but then again, social media posts are often riddled with inaccuracies and hateful towards their non-supporting party.

Anyway. Don’t forget to vote. If you don’t vote, you don’t have any right to criticise the outcome – right, Britain?

Fingers crossed that we don’t go for six prime ministers in six years. How embarrassing would that be?