There are only a few days left until we all go to our local school and stand inside a cardboard booth with pencils and papers. As exciting as that prospect is we want you to remember that casting that ballot is important, we at Cut & Paste don’t really care which way you vote but we thought we might as well go through the election and chuck in our point of view… everyone else is so why not us as well?
Disclaimer: This is not a how to vote piece. All of this could be bullshit, like anything in politics it depends on your point of view.
What are the issues?
We don’t have sovereign debt on the scale of some European countries or the U.S. and while it’s really important to make sure that people who run the country have a pretty good handle on Economics and make sure that the country doesn’t collapse, there’s always something that could be done to improve the situation. One of the things about macroeconomics is that when governments “pull the levers” it can take a long time before anyone on your street feels any change. It’s one of the reasons the whole process can seem so distant. Keep an eye on personal debt before you worry about whether Australia can afford to build the NBN.
Technology and Infrastructure
This stuff is frequently pretty boring to most people and it’s been a long time since we did any really huge one off infrastructure projects, even things like the B.E.R don’t count because that was a fund for a range of small local projects, how successful you think that program was depends on a which review you believe. This election though gives us a gigantasaurus of an infrastructure project called the National Broadband Network (NBN) people who like the internet generally believe this is a good idea, those opposed reckon that if there was a market demand for it then private companies would build it without the government’s intervention. If you think back to high school you might remember a concept called “Collective Goods,” one of the questions about the NBN is whether or not you could call it that. Providing telecommunications in a country like Australia is very difficult you have a small population that is distributed over a very wide area and in some places it really is impossible to make a dollar out of telecommunications without subsidies or some sort of government intervention.
There’s a trade off though in that if you want the NBN you might have to accept an ISP level filter that makes North Korea and China’s draconian security measures look soft. Apparently though the Australian Sex Party is in favour of filter free NBN which makes me think that a whole lot of 30 something virgin gamers will be voting Sex party, just for the internet. Yes kids Politics is a murky business.
Population and Immigration
Many people see this as a non issue, unfortunately the major parties are obsessed with the idea that the poor and desperate are somehow massing in waves and preparing to descend upon Australia like a plague of locusts. Migration is tender issue, almost everyone in Australia can claim some migrant history. Whilst a responsible approach to population management is a good idea the scapegoating of asylum seekers is not. If you want people to drown at sea tell the world you’ll turn their boats around. Most people are now aware that asylum seekers are only a tiny part of the puzzle.
We were promised a lot in 2007 and particularly younger people have a right to feel let down. Personally I think the current malaise in environmental policy has more to do with policies being compromised at the draft stage in the hope that they would sneak through a hostile Senate. A Renewable Energy Target (RET) was passed when the CPRS was split up so the ETS could be treated separately; defending the ETS cost Malcolm Turnbull his job. Currently the big winners seem to be coal miners and as the W.A Government prepares to bring more dirty coal fired power online it seems that voting for anyone who will promise some sort of price on Carbon is about the only way that we have a chance of moving away from the business-as-usual model.
What should I do?
Most people already know they’ll be voting for on Saturday there are far fewer swinging voters than it might appear (sorry Sex Party). There are a lot of people however who know that in the end they’re going to get one of the two major parties as the government but don’t really want either. this next little bit is devoted to them.
Preferential voting is a wonderful thing. I have actually taken the time to vote “below the line” for the senate and numbered some hundred or so boxes so that I could decide which insane person should be preferenced above Family First. That’s rather a lot of effort and clearly not for the faint hearted though but in the house of Representatives you might have only eight or so boxes to number. I think that rather than voting informally making a protest vote is the easiest way to let the major parties now they aren’t paying attention to your need and it’s easy: work out which of the two big parties you least want to win and give them a high number (not necessarily last there could be some really kookie independents in your electorate) then pick your favourite minor party and give them number one, put the major party you prefer in second and you’re done, fill in the rest randomly if you like.