SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — You know it’s election season in Australia because the TV is full of political ads slamming the major political parties. There are no jingles, no catchy phrases, no “cool” hand gestures. They are just plain angry political ads enumerating the reasons why voters shouldn’t vote for a certain party.
It can get annoying.
This is the first ever election when I can finally have my direct say on who gets to lead this pleasant land. The problem is I have no idea who to vote for. I am totally stumped and I am grappling for guidance.
I used to have a solid decision for a party favourite. I was a Labor party voter all the way even if I had doubts with some of their policies. Then several weeks ago, the party’s ugly side came out in the open. For the first time in Australian history, a party leader, and the country’s prime minister at that, was booted out by its own party members. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was stabbed in the back, leaving him no choice but to “step down to avoid a humiliating defeat”, according to news stories.
His party decided that his deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard should take over the reigns. And so she replaced him and became Australia’s first ever female PM. Wohoo? Not. Although I am a woman, I am not proud that the country’s Prime Minister is a woman. What the whole situation says to me is that the only way a woman could ever become prime minister is by snaking someone else and grabbing the power by force. It’s nasty, it’s treacherous and so not the side I want to see in a female leader. It gives me visions of cat claws ripping bunny innards. But then again, maybe that IS the real face of Australian politics and I just never saw it until now.
After that, of course, more controversies followed. Apparently someone leaked some documents stating not very flattering information about the new prime minister. She opposed several important policies like paid parental leave and an increase in pension payment. There are suspicions the leak was someone from Rudd’s staff (or maybe Rudd himself) but the journalist who came out with it wouldn’t tell (good on him!).
Personally, my respect for Rudd wouldn’t waver if it turns out he did leak the documents. If I’ve been seriously screwed by my own people, the same people who not long ago was all for promoting the Kevin 07 platform, I’d draw some blood too (figuratively speaking, of course….. I guess). I was even hoping he’d switch sides and move to the Liberal party just to make matters even worse for Labor. But he’s not me, and I’m not powerful (I’m too vindictive, no one should really give me any power).
I do feel bad for Mr Rudd. His own people did not give him much of a chance. They were unforgiving of his latest blunders and they obviously decided not to give him time to correct them. Very unforgiving. At least Filipinos give their leaders a couple of years to prove themselves before doing another Edsa.
So now the election has been called and the current PM is busy carrying babies and getting photos with them. Both sides are throwing dirt at each other, hoping the voters would make up their minds.
My first election as a voter and I am stuck between the devil and a very hard place. At least when I used to vote in the Philippines I knew what I was doing. Every election, since the day I could vote, my political selection has always been based on whom my father picked. He is a strong political analyst and researches the candidates carefully. When I arrived in Australia and had to vote for a Philippine election I would email my father his thoughts and he would send me his views. It was always an easy pick for me. And yes, we always agreed on the choices even when I became a journalist and did research about the candidates myself.
But now I’m on my own and Papa is not here to guide me. So what will I do come election day? Simple. Vote Green. At least I’m sure they stand for the environment and you can’t go wrong with that. Thank God for minor political parties.