I did my civic duty a couple of hours ago and voted in the Australian federal election. I've voted for a change of government, though without much hope that there will be enormous change to the country even if (as predicted) this happens.
Actually, some continuity will not be bad, if we get an ALP government led by Kevin Rudd. The Hawke and Keating ALP governments of the 1980s and early 90s were noted for sound economic management and fiscal reforms, despite the debacle associated with an economic recession at the beginning of the 1990s. I'm hoping that we will see more years of solid management, if Labor is successful; I'm pragmatic and centrist when it comes to economics, and I hope and trust that Rudd's Cabinet team will turn out to be more in the mould of Bob Hawke's than Gough Whitlam's.
However, I'm anxiously wondering what we might see from (a hypothetical) Prime Minister Rudd on social and cultural issues. Rudd is clearly not as deeply conservative and socially negative as John Howard, but he still strikes me as a very conservative man. We may end up with a somewhat more positive and compassionate government - which would be a very good thing - but I won't be holding my breath waiting for dramatic reforms, even financially easy ones as with gay rights, refugee policy, and some symbolic actions that could be taken with Aboriginal issues.
We'll see. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
On another note, Rudd is slightly younger me. It looks as if, for the first time, I'll be living in a country where I'm older than the prime minister. Now that is a scary thought. Oh well, baby boomers rule.