australian culture and customs

find out how australians do things, how we see the world and the world sees us

We have a new government

The people have spoken, we have a new government.

Yesterday the Australian people voted for a change of government from the Australian Labor Party to the Australian Liberal/National coalition.  It has been an ugly six years of government with the Labor party deposing its leader, Kevin Rudd early on to be replaced by Australia’s first female Prime minister, Julia Gillard. In a twist of fate, or should I say, a fatal twist for the party, Gillard was bumped off and Rudd brought back just months before this election but was unable to save the party. The Greens, who had gained great traction in the last few years, were decimated this time around retaining just one seat in Melbourne.

Did you know that voting in Australia is compulsory? Yep, if you are an Australian citizen over 18 years of age you must vote.  We reckon it makes politicians  take everyone’s wants and needs into account when developing their policies. Not everyone likes it but I think we should be grateful for the right to have our say when others around the world die for that right.  Having said that, there was a real feeling this election that the parties’ policies had coalesced in many ways so that it was pretty hard to tell the difference between many of them.

The key issues were

  • refugees – both major parties arguing that those who sought asylum here by reaching our shores by boat and no visa would not even be considered for a refugee status, instead being sent to a third country and forgotten.
  • Education – Labor put forward an offer of huge increases in school funding.  The coalition wanted to spend less, cutting a number of schemes and rebates.
  • The maintenance or abolition of Labor’s Carbon and Mining Taxes.
  • Paid parental leave – the Liberals wanted to introduce a 26 week fully paid un-means-tested leave scheme for women earning up to $150,000 per year.  Pretty bizarre since paid parental leave has always been a Labor thing and they do have a 12 week scheme. Labor argued that this was just giving support to those who didn’t need it and that it should be means tested.
  • Stability.  Economic and in terms of leadership. “Disunity is death”  Need I say more?
  • Gay marriage.  Well not really, but it is becoming increasingly clear that many younger electors just don’t see an issue about gay people getting married and don’t understand why older people care about it. Gay marriage is a vote changer for young people
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (16)

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (16) (Photo credit: Troy Constable Photography™)

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