As I voted in the Australian Federal Election (my first), a few thoughts about some interesting aspects of Australian politics gathered in my mind that I’d always hoped to share.
Now, I am by no means a politics fanatic, but I am a follower of Western politics, an enthusiastic one at that (I basically followed the entire 2016 US presidential elections — yes the whole shebang — which resulted in my article: https://intpolicydigest.org/…/better-liberal-trump-s…/). So, I know a fair bit about the nuts and bolts.
Admittedly, US politics is not the gold standard, but a fair comparison for Australia given the similar cultures. So, here goes:
– The Liberal National Party (LNP) is more conservative than liberal; think a centre-right, slightly toned down Republican Party. [The only difference being, LNP is rightfully against guns whereas Republicans are all for it] Yet it goes by only Liberal National Party. Amusing!
– All of Australia uses the spelling of ‘labour’ with a ‘u’. Yet, the party that emerged from the labour movements and which is meant to represent labourers goes by: Australian Labor Party (‘Labor’ without a ‘u’, the American version) Why? Just why?
– The base colour of the LNP — a primarily conservative party — is blue, which is the colour of the Democratic Party of the US, primarily a liberal party. Similarly, the base colour of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) — a primarily liberal party — is red, which is the colour of the Republican Party, which is as conservative as a political party gets. Quite the opposite!
– Australia also has a Trump-esque figure in its politics, with the same profile: business magnate, affluence, dodgy business practices and the same level of idiocy. Curiously, he has also modelled himself on Trump, with extremely aggressive marketing (read: unblockable texts), and a similar party anthem: Make Australia Great (MAG). Asinine!
(Have a look for yourself: https://junkee.com/clive-palmer-make-australia-great/163676)
– Australia has parties catering to everyone under the sun: Greens Party
Reason (formerly Sex) Party
Animal Justice Party
Equal Parenting Party
HEMP (Marijuana) Party and the
Small Business Party to name a few.
Interesting and quite inclusive! Going by the extant political parties in the US, Australia easily beats it.
– Australia is one of the fastest adopters of technology in the world. Yet, after some unsuccessful tryst with electronic voting, it ended up going back to using paper ballots, which are still in use. Fair enough! Electronic voting is widely used in the US.
– Australia has ranked-voting or preferential voting e.g. ranking 6 parties from 1-6 in order of preference. Only 14 other countries including certain parts of the US use this system. Interesting! I personally dig the preferential voting!
– Australian parties have (very polite) representatives distributing flyers super close the polling booth (in picture) on the election day (trying to influence your votes), which I found quite odd! Looks like US doesn’t have any of this.
– Australia also has leader’s debates just like the US. However, it’s slightly mellower, nicer and the tone of the debate much more respectful, as opposed to the super-charged, outright argumentative, bickerfest that the US debates are.