Can I really vote informal? Part 2

I had some robust reactions to my last blog post in which I wondered whether I could vote informal given my deep dislike and distrust of both potential prime ministers.

The response from some was along the lines of “get over yourself and don’t waste your vote” so I assume they will be pleased to learn that with the election only two days away I find that, no, I can’t vote informal.  I’m going Green.

I have many friends who are staunch if disillusioned Labor voters and I understand their decision to vote for the Party because they genuinely believe any Labor Prime Minister is better than Tony Abbott.

As a popular meme puts it: “Also, despite all of Labor’s faults and instability, they do actually give a shit about people and communities and, usually at least, create policy that’s informed by evidence instead of ideology.” If anyone other than that narcissistic megalomaniac Rudd was leader I’d do the same.

It’s clear Abbott will win and the dangers of him having unfettered power are too great to risk so I’m voting Green in both houses.  The ABC’s Vote Compass has told me twice my personal views are closer to the Greens than the other parties (Labor was second and the Libs third), and while still have reservations about their ability to deliver,  they seem the most palatable way to  minimise the damage Prime Minister Abbott could do.

That’s how I’m voting. How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can I really vote informal?

I don’t take the right to vote lightly, and nor do I believe the cliche that politicians are lazy opportunists. I don’t belong to a political party and have voted Labor, Liberal, Green and Democrat in past elections.  This time I am seriously considering handing in my ballot papers unmarked because I don’t believe I can bring myself to vote for Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott. I don’t want either of them to be Prime Minister.

Let’s start with Rudd.  I was very angry when the Labor Party reinstated him, thus rewarding him for three years of deceit and destabilisation, actions which have been well documented by journalists Kerry-Anne Walsh and Erik Jenson, among others. That behaviour aside, in re-electing him to the leadership they gave the prime ministership to a man many of them detest, a man they finally admitted in 2012 had been dysfunctional in office, and they did it to save their seats. Self-interest triumphed over what was best for the country.

I would have voted for Gillard. While I certainly didn’t agree with everything she did, I believe she managed a minority government as well as anyone could and better than most. Certainly better than either Rudd or Abbott.  And, as others have noted, the most recent parliament was actually highly productive and resulted in some landmark reforms including the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Labor’s hopes in putting Rudd back in are likely to be disappointed. Despite his harsh populist backflip on asylum seekers the party is still heading for a significant defeat, Rudd is making up policy on the run again, and is even in some danger in his own seat. I could enjoy the irony more if it wasn’t for the fact that a Rudd defeat means an Abbott prime ministership.

I support refugees, marriage equality and the Republic which means I disagree with Abbott in many policy areas.  He was part of some disgraceful behaviour and attitudes towards Julia Gillard when she was Prime Minister,  and his unrelenting negativity, and simplistic and dishonest slogans, have been a disservice to the country. Added to that his front bench includes some very disturbing characters such as Mirabella, Morrison and Pyne who I’d rather not see become Ministers.

I feel my vote would be taken as an endorsement, and as I can’t endorse Rudd’s conduct or Abbott’s policies I can’t vote for them. I could vote Green, but their uncritical acceptance of union media statements bothers me, and I don’t want another minority government.  While such governments can be productive, they seem to bring out the worst in our politicians and I’d rather not go through another period like the past three years.

I have thought of writing a message on the ballot paper, but spoiled ballots are discarded and I believe informal votes are counted.  Perhaps if there’s an increase in the number of informal votes across the country our politicians might start to understand that many of us aren’t happy with the way things are going.  Perhaps it could be a giant “not happy Kev and Tony” moment.

That’s how I’m thinking now, anyway.  What about you?

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Q Station and Manly

I was recently able to spend a weekend in Manly at Q Station, the old Quarantine Station now transformed as holiday accommodation.

This wasn’t our original plan. We had expected to stay in Sydney but the rugby match made hotel accommodation scarce and expensive, so my sister-in-law booked a cottage at Q Station, not far from her childhood stomping ground of Manly.

It was a happy accident. We all – three adults and two young boys – enjoyed both the Manly Corso (a combination of Cottesloe Beach and Hay Street Mall for WA readers) and Q Station in the bright but chilly winter sunshine.

Q Station combines history, scenery and comfort in one attractive package.  Many of the buildings from its days as a quarantine station have been restored and you can learn quite a bit from signage and the small museum.  There are many attractive walks exploring either the station itself or the stunning coastal views, though the steep hilly site will give your leg muscles a workout.  Our restored cottage was snug and comfortable, and came complete with all the necessities including heaters in all rooms, a dishwasher, microwave and coffee machine.

More history came via the two hour Ghost Walk. Our guide, Bob, took us through the old isolation area, the hospital and gravedigger’s cottage, the morgue, a burial ground and the old carbolic acid decontamination showers (among other areas), and told tales of ghosts both friendly and not. His deadpan storytelling style had a gradual impact, and I started to wonder if he believed the tales he told, at least until a couple of deliberate attempts to startle us late in the walk.

My two nephews (aged 12 and 8) seemed intrigued by the stories, and willingly carried the lamps, asked lots of questions and were often the first into new buildings.  I couldn’t work out if they were fearless or sceptical.

When the walk finished around 8pm we were ravenously hungry and eager to get into a heated room. We’d booked dinner at The Boilerhouse, an upmarket restaurant on the station, which nonetheless had a kid’s menu and activity packs for the boys.  Then we took advantage of the station shuttle bus to get back to our cottage and a very good night’s sleep.

 

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Review: Magazine Wars, episode 2

4464073The second episode of Magazine Wars showed just how far the editors would go for a story, and how we’re still on that path.

King and Boling continue to try to ‘out scoop’ each other, usually by printing royal scandals.  The Diana “Squidgy’ tape was startling at the time, but is soon trumped by the toe-curling awful recording of Charles and Camilla.  Diana’s death is depicted at the end of the episode, making both editors wonder how much guilt they should feel.

Nene King is increasingly loud, shrill and aggressive, so much so I’m surprised Kerry Packer tolerated her. Her husband’s death and a growing dependance of drugs only made things worse.

In contrast, Boling remains very controlled, even when under pressure as Woman’s Day starts to overtake the sales of New Idea and she separates from her husband.

I remember standing at a newsagent days after Diana’s death and looking at the magazines. Every cover, without exception, carried her image, and I did feel some guilt at being part of the demand for stories about her.  It’s a guilt Nene turns back on the audience, saying to camera, “don’t forget, you wanted her, you wanted them all”, and it’s true: magazines run what people will buy – if we stop buying they’ll run something else.

A brilliant montage over Cruel Sea’s searing track The Honeymoon is Over alternates magazine covers with images of the famous and infamous:  Shane Warne, the Kardashians, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, Rebecca Brooks and Rupert Murdoch, among others.

The show closes with Nene’s protegee, Beth, being interviewed for a role at the News of the World and admitting to an ambition to become editor.  Her experience in Australia probably meant she was well suited to that particular paper, which later closed after phone hacking scandals.

The simultaneous glorification and vilification of celebrities continues, and I wonder if even the closure of News of the World and the Levison and other enquiries will stop it.

 

 

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