Not this time, hot-shot 

John Howard – the man who has been Prime Minister of my nation for more than half my life – has less than 48 hours left in the job. That’s my opinion, the opinion of the polls, and the opinion of most professional political commentators.

It’s not going to be a landslide election. Most people don’t realise how difficult it is, under the Australian system, to beat the incumbent government. But from the looks of things, Labor should juuuuuuuust edge in ahead of the Liberals and form our next government.

Despite all my bluster, I don’t buy into partisan politics. I don’t think whichever party is in government makes any massive change to our way of life, and as an insulated teenager it certainly won’t make any difference to mine. When politically carefree friends ask me why they should vote for Labor rather than the Liberals, my tongue trips over itself somewhat, and I find myself regurgitating ALP advertising rhetoric. At heart, I am that classic Australian who doesn’t really trust any authority figure and thinks Labor is only marginally better than the Liberals. In fact, my most pressing reason for not voting Liberal is that I am simply sick of seeing John Howard’s face after 11 years.

I hope things will be different, of course. Liberal and Labor are different, if not to a great degree, and I hope Rudd’s smiling visage is true to heart, and will result in better healthcare and working rights and acceptance of climate change. Throughout Howard’s tenure, the Australian national image has become one of xenophobia, pollution, dishonesty and aggression. I’d like to see that change. I’d like to see us be a little more open to immigration, and learn when to say no to Washington. I’d like to see us put money into public schools rather than private schools, and provide better healthcare for people. I’d like to see us treat our pristine wilderness better, and harness our natural wind and sunlight energy to become a ecologically-friendly nation, which is the main reason I’ve decided to vote for the Greens rather than the Democrats in the Senate.

A lot has been made about the economy this election. Indeed, some commentators have suggested that it has become the only major issue. I continue to be puzzled by this. Even if the government did run the economy (it doesn’t), we are not an economy. We are a society. There are more important issues than how much you’ll have to pay back on your mortgage in the coming years. Don’t worry, India and China and Japan will be wanting our minerals for a long while to come.

On Saturday I will be on Rottnest, the local holiday island. I’m going to admit that I am an enormous political nerd and sighed somewhat when I found that my first voting election coincides with a holiday away. I’ll still be able to vote, but I won’t be able to follow the election coverage as much as I’d hoped. Ah well. At least if Rudd wins I’ll be in the perfect place to run down the beach at sunset hollering for joy.

Oh, Rudd. In a year’s time, will I consider you worthy to sit atop Curtin’s shoulders? Or will I have discovered the shocking truth that all politicians are as bad as each other?

Rudd attempts to conquer the vital Hong Kong electorate

I really, really hope it’s the former.

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