After Bill Shorten conceded defeat and announced he would be stepping down as Labor’s leader, Scott Morrison gave a victory speech to a cheering and chanting crowd. Far from the result people wanted, or indeed the result many expected, the Coalition has been handed a third term on a silver platter. “I’ve always believed in miracles.” So says our leader in the dark days of his party’s rule.
On this site, I drove in the message of climate change being the sole issue we should all have been discussing. Obviously my audience is tiny, and influence negligible, but it was a message repeated by many across the country with a palpable fear of what may come if we didn’t vote the Coalition out yesterday. But there is more to this election, good and bad, that is worth noting.
On the positive side, all the Greens Senators that were up for re-election retained their seats, meaning that despite an almost certain Coalition majority, there will be some voice of reason in Parliament. Tony Abbott also lost his seat of Warringah to Zali Steggall. Although similarly wretched men like Dutton, Christensen, Frydenburg, etc. are all still in, one of the more destructive voices in the House of Representatives has been cast out at long last. Abbott’s win in 2013 is what started this escapade.
It is also a positive and damning indictment on Australia when it comes to the newly formed Conservative National Party, headed by the terror apologist Fraser Anning. Anning himself, who initially got in on the One Nation ticket on 19 first preference votes after Malcolm Roberts was deposed in the citizenship charade, did not win back his position as Senator. Thank fuck for that.
But what is the downside? Well, here in Queensland is where over 40,000 of the national 62,000 first preference votes for Fraser Anning’s party came from. As a Greens voter, to see how blue this state is now is quite the upset, and to watch the rise in fringe parties is a frightening but predictable outcome of our increasingly polarised society.
So where do we go from here? The only thing we can do – buckle down and keep moving forward. We have three more years of shit to deal with, and it will not go away with complacency and a population wallowing in self-pity. How many votes were wasted this election? How many people voted without an ounce of thought or intellect to their reasoning? Well we know the answer to the first question, as of the count tonight (7:07pm AEST, 19th May).
That is the number of informal votes cast (as of that count) in this election. And I am sure, based on stories I have heard from friends and family, that there would no doubt be an equal number who had no clue what it was they were doing and voted one way or the other mindlessly. The difference, in two party preferred (again, from the above count time) is 222,742. All we needed was a small push and it would have been fine.
The next three years will be rough, but there cannot be a moment to stand down. No one should dare say “well at least we aren’t America”, because that simply normalises the results we have now. The further we put the goalposts, the further adrift we will go. Let us hope Labor can pull together a new leader (Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek have both seemingly put their hands up so far) and can shake off this defeat.
Miracles won’t change the world, but the people can.
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