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?