Sunday, September 08, 2013

A few election thoughts

It went as predicted, with Labor losing the election, although not as badly as many had suggested they would.

Kevin Rudd hung onto his seat but only on preferences. He polled over 1,000 votes less than his Liberal opponent but preference deals changed it into a 4,000 vote lead. 

He, rightly, took responsibility for Labor's defeat and stepped down as leader. For the sake of his party he should follow Julia Gillard's example and retire from politics. With his record, while he's in parliament there will be doubts about his ability to keep out of leadership intrigue.

Elsewhere around the electorates, there was a mixture of surprises and predictable results.

Remember Jaymes Diaz, the Liberal candidate who expounded his party's policies but when questioned couldn't remember what they were? The interview went viral on YouTube and on international media.

The media here dubbed him The Scarlet Pimpernel throughout the campaign after that, because he disappeared totally from view as his minders kept him well away from the media and electors.

In spite of that, 30,000 people voted for him - fortunately it wasn't enough and we won't see his incompetence in parliament.

Another one I gave a mention to, Ray King, got a similar number of votes in his electorate, but again it wasn't enough to get him elected.

In my electorate there was a good example of how our shonky preference system is used. Our Mayor, Lawrie McKinna, stood as an independent, saying his preferences were crucial to both major parties, which is true in such a marginal seat. He put his preferences up in a bidding contest, offering them to 'whichever party promised most for the area'.

That was his stated reason for standing in the federal election. Nothing to do with the country and what might be best for it, just parochial local stuff.

So he gave them a list of what he wanted, which included the relocation of a government department, 'support' for a regional airport, university and performance arts centre.

The Libs won the bid when, according to McKinna, they offered $10 million for the arts centre - with conditions mind you.

He came third with about 9% of the votes so his preferences added a good number to the Libs candidate, although in reality with the big swing against Labor she didn't really need them to win. In a closer election though it would have made all the difference.

I'll be fascinated to see whether any of what he thinks he negotiated actually happens.

As for the new PM, I have serious doubts about his ability to change his nature into what's needed for the job. He's always been the aggressive destroyer, which served him well as John Howard's attack dog and as leader of the Opposition. But it's a far cry from the attributes a Prime Minister needs.


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