“Okay everyone, Abbott is PM. Get over it; nothing we can do but see what happens. Let’s stop the bitching and get on with our lives as best as we can!” One of my Facebook friends posted that last Sunday in response to the many negative comments that had been made on the result of the election. I reckon she made a good call!
You see, I – and my Facebook friend – live in an area that has a strong Labor vote. As soon as the announcement was made that the Coalition had won, the comments began. It was like Chicken Little shouting that the sky was falling!
I was surprised at how vitriolic the comments were; expressing derision, and hatred almost, towards anyone who had contributed to Abbott’s victory. Surely, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and to support whatever party they consider will best lead our country. But these comments lacked any respect towards other people’s opinions.
And it wasn’t as if the victory was unexpected: every opinion poll in the country had the Coalition winning by a healthy, and increasing, margin. It was surprising too, because most of the people making these comments are normally more mild-mannered, even if they are strongly opinionated.
Also surprising, was the lack of comments supporting Tony Abbott, given that the nation had shown such a strong swing to the Coalition. I mean, not everyone who was commenting lived in the same strong Labour electorate. I saw some, but not many.
At this point I should mention that I am not a particular fan of Tony Abbott; so that’s not where this is coming from. These comments are observational, just what I observed from people, particularly on social media, after the election.
Another interesting thing is that I know that some of those who were complaining about Labour losing the election didn’t actually vote for them. Previous comments had shown their preference for Labor to remain in government, but at the election they directed their vote to one of the minor parties; either as a “protest vote” against Labor, or because they preferred that party’s policies. Now, that’s fair enough, people are free to vote for whoever they want, but if you don’t vote for a party can you then complain when they lose? Apparently so.
Protest votes could be one reason why Labor lost. Many people, including life-long Labor supporters, had become disappointed with the Labor party. That disappointment was not so much about policies as it was about personalities. The in-fighting, back-stabbing, back-room wheeling-and-dealing, added to the usual broken promises, all contributed to a view that the party was on a path to self-destruction.
Tanya Plibersek, reflecting on her party’s loss, put it this way: “I’d give us 9 out of 10 for managing the country and 0 out of 10 for managing ourselves.” Some might argue her near-perfect score for managing the country, but there’s no doubt that the party’s inability to manage itself contributed greatly to its ultimate demise at the ballot-box.
I saw this little ditty recently. (The first part, I had to add to it).
“You put your K Rudd in, you put your K Rudd out,
You put your K Rudd in, trying to keep the Liberals out.
The caucus kept a bitchin’ trying to turn it all around,
And that’s what they’re all about.”
Well, now we can change that last line to, “And that’s why they got thrown out!”
So what will life be like under Tony Abbott? From my point of view, I am concerned at some of his policies, and I’ve never really thought of him as being ideal Prime Minister material. But will the sky really fall? Probably not. Some people may be disadvantaged by changes the new government makes, but the country will battle on, and Australia will still be a pretty good place to live.
Another Facebook friend, who has experienced what life is like in third-world countries, posted this on his page. “Contrary to what is being said, no matter who governs our country you will still have too much food, will still sleep in your nice comfy beds, and still have a hot shower whenever you choose. Please be grateful.”
Elwyn Jordan is a musician and full-time music teacher. Besides music, his interests include technology and motoring. He runs a motorcycling website called The Old Bloke. http://theoldbloke.homestead.com. You are welcome to get in touch with Elwyn at firstname.lastname@example.org