Sunday, 25 November 2007

No surprises

The election's over. No surprises for me. Kevin won and - most importantly of all - the Senate is set to return to a good mix-up of parties. Great. Brilliant. Bring back the diversity. Make the legislators work for it.

If we're going to have a democracy, this is the setup we need to have.

So from here, it's back to the theology. Catch you soon.

Friday, 23 November 2007

It's decision time

It feels as though Rudd is going to win this one, but then again I thought that with all the scandals of the last election that Howard would lose that one as well. From my perspective it seems as though this election, as well as the last one, has been once again fought on the perceptions of slogans.

Interest rates were central last time and they're back this time. But I have no idea how either side plans to keep them under control. What I know is that the Liberals want me to feel that they will be higher under Labor, and that Labor wants me to feel that the Liberals broke promises to keep rates low. But how?

On climate change, Labor wants me to feel that they will be responsible guardians of the environment (see the Kyoto protocol). The Liberals want me to feel that technology will save the day. But how will either strategy be implemented?

On poverty, I've only heard from Labor who said that they will increase aid spending.

And so on, and so on. Both of the major parties are trying to make me feel confident in them, and doubtful of the other side. But I still don't know how they'll reach their goals. Both sides claim to want a "better" Australia for us all. The key differences, that is the method taken to accomplish the goal, are still lost of a shroud of mystery and fog.

So I'll probably vote for the Greens and the Democrats. They've a track record of making bold use of the balance of power and I think after 3 years of a majority government in both houses, that's what Australia needs.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Two days to go

So now we have only two days remaining until the Australian federal election. Have I decided yet? Still no. I have only decided that I will put the major parties last in the upper house ballot. The upper house needs the chaos of a multitude of voices. The lower house, on the other hand, needs some people to break party lines from time to time. Unfortunately, I have no mavericks as candidates in my electorate.

I've still got two days to figure it out.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Kevin Rudd on Rove

I have to admit that I was looking forward to watching Kevin Rudd on Rove this week. I have some sympathies with Rudd based on his articulate distinction of the roles of church and state, and how the Christian vote should be considered. Also, his admiration for Dietrich Bonhoeffer is something that I share. However, I thought it very interesting that he - and not John Howard - would accept the invitation from Rove, the current king of light entertainment.

As it turns out I think it was a smart move by the Rudd camp. All he had to do was subject himself to a frivolous interview with some questions that weren't related to policy in any way, and he could get himself a platform to an audience that is largely disinterested in politics, and yet has a vote. I don't know if it would have helped or hindered him to actually answer the "Who would you turn gay for?" question with a man's name, but either way he subjected himself to it.

And the issues he slipped in? The one that matters most to a younger demographic: climate change. That was smart. He could come across as a family guy (mention the kids and the pets) and identify climate change as his top issue. This was well planned and moderately well executed.

Was it enough to earn my vote? Well, 10 minutes on a Sunday night comedy show is a far cry from a considered opinion on policies. I think it was a slick move and it will only help his campaign. For me, however, the whole thing will still be determined by other factors.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Comparing Political Parties

Wow. The Australian Christian Lobby tried something worthwhile. Take a look at http://www.australiavotes.org sometime and you will see the results of a survey they conducted. A set of 25 questions were sent to various political parties and independents to get their opinions on various issues that the ACL consider to be important to Australian Christians.

Was it worthwhile? In some respects, yes. It gives a brief summary of the political parties on various issues, but I find that many of the questions are quite leading - a fault found in many media outlets. Some of the questions, however, expose the agenda of the ACL. Asking parties to support the exclusive use of the Lord's Prayer to open parliament is the one that especially comes to mind. Does that mean that the ACL wants a theocracy? Probably not. However, they still seem very keen to integrate religious practice into a secular body.

While I don't see any problem with a politician having religious convictions and using those convictions to guide policy, I think that the two practices should remain separate. Legislating religion is not only anathema to a secular democracy, but is theologically incompatible with Christianity. Instead, Christianity is naturally anarchic and alegal (yes, that's a little neology for you). The law is the wrong way to embody the gospel message, and will only result in a false version of the gospel.

So, go and read the comparison, but take it with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Interest Rates or just Time For A Change?

During the last election it becamse apparent to me that the Liberal Party won the election on a small but very significant issue: interest rates. No other issue mattered at the time because the fear of rising interest rates lurked in the psyche of the voter. Today, in the current election campaign, the issue has returned.

The difference I note in this current round is that the polls are producing results that indicate the public does not entirely blame John Howard for the rising trend. In other words, many voters believe that interest rates would have risen whether Howard or Latham was in power. The effect of that is that (as some of today's papers are reporting) Rudd has neutralised the issue. Interest rates are not working in favour of the Liberals and are not working against the ALP. The only political mileage that anyone is getting from it is the ALP who are using it to attack Howard's promises from the previous election.

It seems apparent to me today (although it might change later) that the Liberals are fighting a general feeling that it's time for a change. Howard and Rudd are so similar in most policies that it won't make much difference to our economy. The flavour, on the other hand, is what will mark the difference. I suspect that the election will be won by the ALP. But there are three weeks to go before we know the result.

And yes, that's a horrible mental image to have: comparing the flavours of John Howard and Kevin Rudd.