I pit 46.6% of Australian voters

Just this morning I was wondering why I hadn’t seen any Aussie vitriol on the SDMB about this election. I mean, there are probably thousands of times more American Dopers than Australian, but I don’t think I saw a single Pit thread! But now I know why - y’all were saving it up til after the election was over.

I have to say, I’m very surprised, I thought Australians had had enough with Howard. Quite disappointing, I hope it is not a foreshadowing of four more years of conservating bullshit here in the US too.

P.S. qts, I believe Giles is an Australian expat.

Did anyone else get to the polling booth and discover that with 50 candidates, almost none of which I’d heard of, preferential voting was out?

Wait a minute. Allow me a question here, please. This is NOT a flamebomb.

I always thought Australia was pretty much to the left (in American terms). And a conservative won re-election after sending troops to Iraq? I’ll admit I don’t follow Australian politics closely, but I’m genuinely curious how this election turned out the way it did.

I don’t want to hijack, just wondering how. And if you know, please leave out the fact that the electorate are a bunch of morons. Is there some kind of cultural shift happening?

(maybe this should be in it’s own thread)

Not really. In the 23 elections for the Australian House since 1949, the ALP has only won 7:1972, 1974, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990, and 1993.

Governor Quinn, you and Giles have me thoroughly confused. I have no idea what any of the parties represent in AUS. Are there any sites that break down what each stand for? And maybe even which ones equate to American political parties?

Please keep in mind most Americans know of 4 or 5 viable or semi-viable parties. With a small fringe of ideologies like Communism or Facism. For example, I remember a party called something like the Raving Loonies Party, or somesuch based out of Frisco with ties to England IIRC. (I tend to just call them Democrats) :wink:

Note: you all knew it was coming, temper your ire with knowledge I held off this long! :smiley:

As a matter of fact, duffer, I’m an American with no ties to Australia, but, as a political junkie, it interests me.

Very well then, here are the parties of Australia:

There are three main parties:

Australian Labor Party (ALP): The main party of the Australian left.

Liberal Party: The main party of the Australian right.

National Party: The secondary party of the Australian right.

The Liberal and National Parties, together, are known as the Coalition, and govern as such.

The main minor parties:

Green Party: Self-explanatory.

Australian Democrats: This is kind of a hard party to describe. Its membership ranges from the left to the center of Australian political ideology.

Australian Progressive Alliance: A break-off of the Australian Democrats, which argue that the Australian Democrats have gone too far to the left.

One Nation: Anti-immigrant, socially conservative.

Family First Party: The Australian version of the religious right.

Australians, feel free to correct any errors that I made.

Governor, don’t take offense. I didn’t know where you lived. I like to learn of new systems in place, but with so much happening on a daily basis it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.

Aussies got politics! Who knew?

Am I right to assume this was directed at me? If so I was saying with everything to pay to attention to as far as politics, my plate is already crowded. Add to that everything else I have to spend my time on and you can see where I may lose track of 15 parties in one country. Multiply that by about 200 other countries and you can see where I won’t be an expert on it.

If it wasn’t directed to me: dismiss above statement.

You have my sympathies. The fearmongers have indeed shown a new pnechant for getting the morons’ votes worldwide, and I guess it’s up to us non-morons around the world to figure out a good counter to their techniques. Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen in the U.S. this November.

IMHO, this election turned on two issues:

  1. Interest rates scare tactic. This was a major issue for voters – the fact that interest rates are historically low (though still high compared to the US), and that they’ve been generally higher under Labour. Home ownership has been up and up (despite a huge rise in prices), and people are scared that interest rates could go back to 15-17% and they would lose their house. Now most economists agree that under Labour rates would not rise (differently than Liberal), but who the hell wants to take that chance with so much at stake.

  2. People were nervous about Latham. He seems a bit strange and unpredictable to the average Aussie, and again people don’t want to take the chance with so much at stake – the stakes being the economy, jobs, the deficit, interest rates…not terrorism.

So basically, I think it’s more to do with maintaining the present course than anything else. This is a huge difference from the US, as Aussies seem much more interested in economic factors than terrorism. And Labour never really made a big stink about Iraq and Howard’s sucking at the teet of Bush; nor do I get the sense (aside from the screeching on this board) that people feel Howard has betrayed them, is an evil liar, etc., as is clear with a huge part of the US and Bush.

Anyway, it’s a tough call. While Labour may have the better interests for the working man (with health care, wages, etc), that working man now owns a house with a big mortage, has to worry about kids, his job, the future. And despite the shouting here, I’m not sure Howard is the devil incarnate.

– An American with interests in Australia, who generally likes Howard’s handling of the gov’t, had concerns with Latham, knew interest rates won’t change much with a Labour gov’t, and is voting Bush the hell out of office next month…

leander I think a lot of the Australian electorate do feel that Howard has lied because he fucking well has. The Tampa affair should have been enough to sink the arsehole forever.

It would be easy to perceive as well that the Libs are caring more for the working person (ahem, not just the working man). We collected $2400 in the election bribery and I collect another $1200 when I put my tax return in. The medicare safety net means I collect back a lot of our very high medical bills. I didn’t see policies like that with Labour – I think a lot of swinging voters went with Little Johnny because of that.

As descriptions of the parties’ original outlooks, you’ve pretty much nailed it. As a description of their current actual policies, however, a couple of caveats are in order.

Not any more, unfortunately. Like many of the social democratic parties of the postwar period, Labor in Australia has largely abandoned its leftist roots and shifted to the right, especially in areas of economic policy. And Australian Labor is suffering the same problem as parties like the US Democrats—it has alienated its traditional working-class and liberal base, while failing to win many converts from the conservative side of politics.

I’m not sure if you meant to imply that the Greens are a single-issue environmentalist party, but if you did then that also isn’t quite the case any more.

In many ways, the Greens have filled the gap that was left by Labor’s shift to the right. The Greens made a strong showing in this election, and this was largely a result of traditional Labor voters who were disillusioned with Labor and were looking for a left-leaning party to vote for.

This is all true, but it might be worth pointing out that, despite the fact that they are members of a Coalition, the Liberals and the Nationals have, over the past decade, increasingly come into conflict on a variety of issues, especially those related to privatisation of government services, and policies directly concerned with rural Australia.

To generalise, the Liberals tend to represent urban and suburban conservatives, while the Nationals have traditionally been the party of rural and remote areas. In fact, the National Party used to be called the Country Party. While many rural areas of Australia are quite conservative in many ways, they also sometimes oppose policies that involve a reduction in government-provided services.

The main reason that many conservative rural Australians still oppose reductions to government services is that they are not stupid. They know that in a country as large and as sparsely-populated as Australia, the only way that some services are going to get provided to small towns and remote areas is if the government helps out. Take telephone service, for example. Private providers have made it quite clear that they have little or no interest in building or maintaining telecommunications infrastructure in the outback, because the number of people means that it most likely won’t be profitable. So many rural voters have consistently lobbied for government to maintain a controlling interest in Telstra, Australia’s main telecom company. Similarly with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. If it wasn’t for government financing of this media outlet, rural Australia would have suffered dramtically over the past half-century in terms of information and media access.

This rural support for government control of some institutions flies in the face of the Liberal Party’s push for privatisation and free market ideals, and has led to some interesting divisions within the Liberal-National Coalition. Rural conservatives are happy to cut government services that they don’t use (e.g., urban public transport systems), but will fight tooth and nail to protect their own government subsidies.

So is the National Party the farthest to the right? Would the National and Liberal Parties be rough equivalents to the Buchanon and McCain branches of the American Republican party?

I agree. I think some dopers forget that there are other issues people feel strongly about.

Additionally, I have a feeling a lot of voters weren’t comfortable with Latham’s pledge to remove the troops from Iraq, as a result of the whole “finishing the job” mentality.

Governer Quinn, One Nation isn’t against immigration per se:

It may seem as though I am defending One Nation and the reinstatement of Howard. Hence, I would like to point out that I voted Democrats because I didn’t want either Latham or Howard in (disagreed with elements of both of their policies) and as a result of personal ties. (I’m friends with the national Democrats leader’s sister.*)

*Yes, I had to get that in. :smiley:

No to the first question. A cautious maybe to the second.

The furthest to the right on social and cultural issues are probably the One Nation party, and the Family First party. While One Nation polls well in some areas, however, neither of these parties is a really strong or influential presence on the national stage.

Of the major parties, yes, the Nationals are probably furthest to the right in many ways although, as my earlier post suggests, they have some left-leaning economic positions, based largely on the economic interests of rural Australians.

I don’t think you can really compare the Liberals and the Nationals with particular parts of the Republican Party in the US. I certainly don’t think that many in the Liberal/National Coalition share Pat Buchanan’s religious zeal or his xenophobia, although there are elements in the National Party that do share Buchanan’s economic protectionism.

It probably isn’t too much of a stretch to compare the Liberals to the moderate wing of the Republican Party, although the very different nature of the two political systems (America’s republican system versus Australia’s Westminster system) means that the contours of political power and policy positions tend to be quite different in the two countries.

For example, in the US it’s very common in Congress for Democrats and Republicans to each vote against the “party line.” Just because a particular piece of legislation is supported by the leadership of one party or another does not mean that all members of that party will vote for it, or that all members of the opposing party will vote against it.

This sort of independence is much less common in the Westminster system, where “crossing the floor” to vote with the opposition is extemely uncommon, and can sometimes even mean expulsion from the party. There is much stronger centralized control of political parties in the Westminster system, and what the leadership says usually goes.

I think you’re probably correct on both counts, though my initial point (about lying) is more that Australians clearly didn’t feel that Howard was enough of a liar to kick him out. In America (as you can probably tell from this board) there are an enormous amount of people making a constant, unyielding stink about the Bush lies. Whether that will be enough to give him the heave ho, it most certainly seems to permeate our daily life much more so than any of Howard’s lies.

As for the second issue, you’re absolutely right – it was a bribe through and through, and a damn clever one at that. Again, the difference between AU and US is that (I think) the average Joe, esp. one with kids, felt the benefits of the rebates much more so in AU than the US. And I would agree that some swing voters probably liked that a hell of a lot. (Though I think it’s a pretty transparent attempt at “caring”, if you know what I mean.)

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald outlined why Labor lost. According to the Liberal campaign director some important factors were:

Lack of a unified approach “over the past eight years the Labor Party had embraced four platforms and three leaders, adopting a small-target strategy in each of the election campaigns.”

Attacking the wrong issues “Labor’s sustained attack on a possible handover of Liberal leadership to Treasurer Peter Costello [was surprising], as it was clear Australians supported his successful management of the economy.”

Divisive policies “He said Mr Latham’s policies on schools, the environment and Medicare Gold had made him the most divisive politician in Australia since Paul Keating, by creating a system of winners and losers.”

I have to say I thought going after Costello was odd. I’m sure quite a few people, me included, would be much less unhappy if Costello was the PM. I have the sense he’s often been quite uncomfortable with Howard’s direction.

I for one have a major problem with Costello. I perceive him, rightly or wrongly, as being disloyal to Howard and willing to resort to anything to take the top job. As such, I do not trust or like him and think he should never have the opportunity to become PM.

Anyway, the election is over and ignorance has won again. Hoo-bloody-ray.