On May 18, 2019, Australia voted in an election that we all thought was in the bag. We all thought Labor would win because their policies would be good for the whole country…and because the hard right conservative government was so on the nose. We were wrong. The hard right conservative government was returned for another three years.
The talking heads on the tv were stunned as the unfolding result went against the last 50 polls. I was stunned because this expletive-deleted government was not only being voted back in, it was being voted back in with an increased margin.
Peter Dutton, the most hated man on #auspol, retained his seat of Dickson…with an increased margin.
George Christensen, a politician who posted a photo of himself shooting a handgun and spent more time in the Philippines than in his own electorate, was returned…with an increased margin.
Why? I still don’t know. The voters of Queensland were certainly sending a message, but they were not alone. Even in Victoria, the state considered the most progressive in Australia, Labor did not make enough gains to make a difference.
For a while, I hoped that the results were skewed out of shape by the huge number of pre-polls, but by the end of the night it became clear that even if the pre-polls all favoured Labor, it still wouldn’t be enough. To put it quite brutally, Australia has done a trump, and we have no excuse. All of us voted. Half of us ignored the scandals, the corruption and the actual economic record of the LNP and voted in favour of fear and self-interest.
I am more shocked than I can say. But. The people have spoken, and that’s what democracy is about. The fact that I don’t like it is neither here nor there.
The only bright spots to come out of this election all centre around Independent women:
- Zali Steggall beat Tony Abbott in Waringah
- Helen Haines won the seat of Indi after the former Independent [also a woman] retired from the seat. That’s a first.
- Dr Kerryn Phelps may, possibly, retain the seat of Wentworth.
Whether these Independents will be able to change things for the better is doubtful. There are just not enough of them, and it doesn’t look as if the conservatives will have a minority government. Ergo, they won’t have to compromise to get the votes of the Independents.
To be honest, at this point I’m pinning all my hopes on people who don’t even have the vote yet. In three years time, the 15, 16 and 17 years olds of today will be eligible to vote. Many of them care about the future. I hope they vote in a government that’s prepared to do something about it.