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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Well, it's been an interesting election night in Australia

I'm glad of the result overall. It was way past time for a change. We have a new government and a new prime minister. Okay, moving on.

Observations, my fellow Australians? Is our country in better hands? And what did you think of the various performances we were treated to tonight (if you spent all night watching the unfolding drama on TV, as I did) - from Costello, Turnbull, Howard, Minchin, Brown, McKew, Gillard, Rudd ... ? How does this compare with earlier ALP victories? An interesting three years ahead, or are you bored with all the politics of late?


Hugo said...

I've heard rumours that Australia has a ranked ballot. Is this true? Ranked ballots kick ass. Do you know if they use instant-runoff voting, or maybe a Condorcet method?

Hehe, sorry, voting geek. Can't help it. I implemented a new voting system for my res while at university. ;)

Evrim Olgusu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evrim Olgusu said...

Well done to Rudd and his team. Labor team showed energy, integrity, and enthusiasm about the future of our country. Whereas Liberals represented "yesterday", and they could not produce genuine policies other than "tax cuts". I voted for Greens, Labor being my second preference, I am a bit wary of Rudd's conservative Christian background (I am an atheist). But Rudd touched my heart when he also appreciated hard-working "Australians born overseas" in his speech. I don't recall any other prime minister of my era has ever done that. It is a fresh new start for our country. I am very optimistic :-)

Russell Blackford said...

Hugo, the votes for lower-house seats are preferential votes, and the counting is done on an instant-runoff basis.

Voting for positions in the upper house (the Senate) is on the basis that senators are chosen state by state, using a proportional representation system.

Russell Blackford said...

I actually voted for the Secular Party of Australia in the Senate. The platform they were standing on actually seemed a bit extreme to me, but I think it was worth some support for the purposes of future debates, and this was an election otherwise very favourable to religious interests. The competition for prime minister was between two conservative (by Australian standards, not crazy American ones) Christians.

In the House, I didn't play any games: I simply voted for my sitting Labor member.

Anonymous said...

I directed some votes towards the Secular party after my first choice for the senate, the Democrats.

But I was a little iffy about it, especially seeing as they didn't seem organized enough to even get the name of the party on the ballot.

Like you, I put Labor on the green ballot. We still don't know who won. Looked like Fran Bailey was winning last night, but after preferences, looks like Labor will make it over the line. Still too close to call at the moment, though.

Now Costello's out of contention for the leadership and Bennelong's result is unknown-- should be a very interesting week.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Simon Creans' seat. My vote really only realistically influemces the Senate. Colour me greenish.

PS: If you don't mind me blogwhoring for a moment. I'm running a little December contest over at my blog at
which may be of interest to some speculative fiction fans.

John R.

Russell Blackford said...

OMG, vikki, I only just picked up on this - Peter Costello leaving politics.

Well, that will surely mean that Malcolm Turnbull gets it. He's far the most impressive person on the Liberal side. I hope it means we'll get some good bipartisan sense on a few issues - notably the republic.

I hope the Liberals aren't stupid enough to pick someone else. I'd rather see them pick a leader who might actually end up being a worthwhile contender as prime minister, down the track, than some useless droog, even if the latter would make them less competitive.

Anonymous said...

Was hoping for a better Green vote - they got my vote after Labor was utterly gutless re: Tampa. And as a protest vote, I think they're perfect. I was suprised the drought didn't send more votes their way.

...and the poor Democrats. Damn, they used to be awesome. :/

But ultimately my preference went to Labor (for the little that's worth in the ACT - we might as well not have senators), so I'm pleased. I don't think they're spectacular, but almost anything is better than what we had.

Russell: you like Turnbull? Wow, so you're the one person in Australia who likes him. I always thought they were talking about his mum!

Seriously though, preferences to Fred Nile and FFP? Saying some good stuff on climate change, but then doing pretty much the exact opposite with the pulp mill? I dunno, I'm keen to see what policy directions he takes now he's out from under Howard's thumb, but I'm not optimistic.

Russell Blackford said...

I'm not sure that I actually like Turnbull, and I'm not by any means saying I agree with every decision that he made as a politician and particularly as Environment Minister. But for all that he's a more impressive character than anyone else I can see on that side of politics.

Yeah, those preferences were pretty horrible - but Labor has done some similarly horrible things with preference deals in the past. I really hope it was a bit of political cynicism on his part, rather than a reflection of any genuine affinity with Nile and the Zeus-damned FFP.

Turnbull did good work in the Spycatcher trial and with the Australian Republican Movement. That still gets him some points with me.

I did like his early books ...

Anyway, I suppose the Libs will now go and appoint someone hopeless and render it moot. In one way, that would be good, but I also think it's simply healthy for the opposition leader to be someone intelligent and competent.

Anonymous said...

But for all that he's a more impressive character than anyone else I can see on that side of politics.

Ah, yes, good point. Very good point.

Payne as deputy, though? That's got to be worth it for the sheer comedy value!

There's always the chance that they'll be on the lookout for a loser - not a lot of hope of winning after a single term. I was convinced that was the plan with Kim - get back the grassroots that Paul scared off with his giant head, lose an election, then wheel out the real guy to win the next one. Never happened, though. I guess they didn't have a real guy. Haha.

...are we more forgiving of losers? There's nothing much to suggest we are, Howard's bypass aside. What's Turnbull up to, then? Is he aiming to get his name out there, but miss the leadership this time 'round? Graceful in (temporary) defeat, ready in the wings to save the day after the next election? Or does he really think he's got a chance in three years time?

Russell Blackford said...

Turnbull has a problem, though - he was once a whiz kid, but he's not young anymore. He'll still be young enough in three years' time, I suppose (he'll be 56). But he'll be getting close to 60 in six years' time. And after that, he's in real trouble, because historically the Australian electorate isn't keen on prime ministers who are approaching old age. It's not like Japan or the Vatican. :)

I think he really needs to get the leadership now, if he can, while he's still relatively sort of youthful-ish by political standards. He certainly shouldn't wait beyond next time.

Anonymous said...

Well Abbott is in the race, and I will say this: if he ever becomes PM, I am leaving the coutnry.

Russell Blackford said...

Choosing Abbott would be a mad decision... so I suppose it just might happen.

Anonymous said...

Vaile has fallen on his sword now. The blood letting continues. Hopefully Abbott will go to a hermitage and flagellated himself for the rest of his days.
Bring on Turnbull. And how many days till we are sick of Rudd? Gotta love politics.

Anonymous said...

I think Abbott will be the front runner, due the losses, the liberal party will want to attack the reputation of Labour rather than build their own. The obvious choice for leader is the muck-raking expert.

Anonymous said...

Abbott has pulled out of leadership race! The labor party will be disappointed. With Abbott as Libs leader, they would have felt that the libs would've been near unelectable. Or is that just me projecting?.....

Russell Blackford said...

Abbott would have been a terrible choice ... but as Stuart has benn saying, what if he actually got in?

Russell Blackford said...

Hmmm, that was rather ambiguous. I meant what if some fluke of political circumstances actually saw someone like Abbott elected as prime minister? I'd be as horrified as Stuart.

Russell Blackford said...

Sooo, Brendan Nelson eh? And such a close vote: 42 for Turnbull; 45 to Nelson. Julie Bishop as deputy. Turnbull as shadow treasurer. That's quite a change.

The next three years of Australian politics may, indeed, be interesting.

At least they didn't put Abbott in the leadership group.

Anonymous said...

Me a few days back: "What's Turnbull up to, then? Is he aiming to get his name out there, but miss the leadership this time 'round? Graceful in (temporary) defeat, ready in the wings to save the day after the next election? "

Engage smug mode. Yes, saturation bombing punditry inevitably predicts all outcomes. I choose to believe I am some kind of awesome oracle. :P