Friday, November 05, 2010


I am in a dilemma gentle readers.

For the last decade or so I have voted federally and state for The Greens but I have always made sure my preference ended up with the Labor Party.

I am a proud member of a union, I believe in caring for the environment, I believe in social justice, I believe in equal rights for gays and while I don't particularly care for gay marriage, I support those who see it as obtaining equal status. I strongly believe in good publicly funded education for children, I believe in publicly funded health care, I believe in looking after disabled people, I believe in a womens' right to choose, I believe in fair taxation to benefit the greater good, I believe in public transport... I could go on.

Aren't these all matters that the Labor Party are supposed to support. Aren't they the ideals of the Party? I used to think so.

The alternative, voting for the party who supports large businesses and rampant capitalism, excessive private profits, cares little for workers, cares little for the less fortunate in society, would have the richest people paying the least tax (as a percentage they do already), would ruin our public transport system and build freeways to every corner of the country, right through suburbs with flyovers everywhere, cares not for the environment any more than when when problems affect profits, would shut down public health care except for only the poorest of poor, would privatise every public asset, would demolish important historic buildings purely for private, my conscience would not allow me to vote for them. (If you doubt what I am saying, take a read of the book Weevils in the Flour and note just what the unfettered excesses of capitalism can do in a so called decent society)

But the Labor Party has lost its focus on its ideals. It still talks the talk, but has become a moderated shadow of the Liberal Party. I don't think I can support the Labor Party anymore.

I am not sure how I can vote to prevent my preferences going to the Labor Party without my vote going to the Liberal Party. I may just vote for The Greens, but vote informally. My vote won't count, but my displeasure will be noted.

There is not too much governments can do or not do that can't be undone or fixed by a following government. There are two that come to my mind though. Turning public land into private land is one, and the destruction of historic buildings and streetscapes is another. It is the latter that I feel most strongly about. I don't know if Planning Minister Justin Madden has been worse than his Labor or Liberal predecessors, but it certainly seems like it.

Martin Foley, my local Labor Party member, will not get my vote and while it is for many reasons, none would possibly tip me more than the State Government's Ministry of Planning and Planning Minsiter Madden's destructive actions. I hope the inner Melbourne Labor politicians who lose their seats in the forthcoming state election know where to firmly point their collective fingers. And Madden just thought Lonsdale House was an bothersome old building and the fuss would quickly die down. For some, seeing Lonsdale House destroyed in the name of pure profit was a life changing experience.


  1. I'm no fan of the Libs but let me put it this way - Libs started handing out the $500 and $1,000 bonus to carers yet the first year ALP was in they were going to scrap it before the peasants threatened to revolt.
    Don't forget Brumby shut down the hosp on Phillip Island, which has just been sold to developers, leaving Wonthaggi Hosp the nearest, on a single road, 45 mins away.
    Sad to say, Baillieu et el have done/said nothing to inspire me to swing their way, either.
    Mickey Mouse might just be getting over the line, methinks.

  2. I am a lifelong ALP voter, just twice did I stray. I voted for Greiner and I voted for Howard in 1996.

    At the NSW state election in March 2011 I will vote Independent becauae I am in the electorate of Clover Moore. And I only have to tick one box.

    In my Federal electorate, I vote for Malcolm.

    Youse guys need to find the right place to live.

  3. Mr Madden is destructive. I have a similar dilemma to you, Andrew. There's not much of a choice out there. Actually, I'm utterly sick of pollies.

  4. Yep. Lifelong Labor, even worked hard as a campaign volunteer for several elections when it really mattered, but last time, while pleased to see Our Julia, I voted GREENS.
    They were all supposed to note how many of us did so.
    Bob Brown, while a lovely guy, would be a hopeless PM, but if LIB and ALP keep on doing what they are doing, Brown doesn't have to do anything but wait and he will be in The Lodge (and that will give them a First Bloke to choke on).

  5. Labor isn't much better than Liberal, but it is a tiny bit better....I mean for people who believe as we do.

    My sister was struggling to choose a preschool. I said she's lucky because she was struggling to pick one out of two great schools. In other choices, it's often choosing the lesser of two evils. I think that's what you usually get in politics.

    Have you ever seen that Political Compass website? I'm not sure of the Aussie politicians, but with the American ones, the Democrats are on the right. They're not far from the Republicans.

    Never mind. I just checked. According to the political compass, the Labor Party is on the right as well. They're really not far from the Liberal Party.

  6. The only difference between Labor and the Coalition is that at least the Coalition are honest in saying what they support - Labor supports big business etc just as much but bring out the tripe about being for the working class. In NSW under Labor people have had their electricity bills triple in the past years. Some families are getting bills of $1500 a quarter.

    I am a swing voter but labor is really on the nose as far as i can see...their sort of Gestapo Socialism scares my 1960's soul shitless

  7. I'm in the same boat, always voted Labor but this time it will be the Greens. They have to get a shake-up especially after the dirty tricks campaign against the Greens.
    Never Liberal, Jeffrey is still in my memory.

  8. I'm in exactly the same bind, Andrew. Don't want either of the major parties to win government; Labor has been a huge disappointment and I can't bring myself to vote for the Liberals.

  9. South Australia is the poster state for the dark side of Labor complacency. The sad fact of politics these days is that we no longer have the luxury of voting FOR our ideals, but rather AGAINST less palatable ideals.

    Happy travels! And thanx for putting me on your VIP list!!!

  10. The Libs have said that they'll put an extra 150 welfare workers in schools and if this means I will get a counselling job then maybe I will vote for them. Coz Labor certainly haven't come up with anything decent to do with my prospective employment chances.

  11. I came upon your blog researching Lady of the Swamp.

    I live in Gippsland, and after reading the comments here felt I had to say something.

    Vote Green if you live in the city, but remember the people who live in country Victoria. The Greens do nothing for us except try and relieve us of our incomes. EG: Renewable resources such as logging, and trying to close our Power Stations.

    Around 1993 the State Government restructred the State Electricity Commission. The workforce was absolutely decimated, from 8,500 employees to 3,000. It was the direct cause of over a hundred suicides, many marriage breakups and local business going into liquidation.

    The Latrobe Valley has still not recovered from this. The only major employers we have are our Power Stations, Logging and Paper Mill. Our unemployment rate is massive.

    While you are saying vote Green and save the planet, please have a thought for the current inhabitants in my area, the one's with with hardly any future for their children, and even less if our power industry disappears.

    Yes I know, promises promises, we will be employed, etc. I would think more lies, like the last time.

    Just an observation here: Electricity prices are not rising because of current or past leadership. It has to do with the Green push and the billions of $ it will cost. Think of it this way every time you get a power bill, you are being charged in advance:) and when Green power comes in, it will cost even more.

    I don't know if I will ever drop by again, but hope this post has caused a little controversy and provoked some thought about voting Green.

    :wave: Bye for now.

  12. Hah, I think I'll vote Green now ;)

  13. So will you just write something nasty on your ballot paper Jayne?

    Julie, the right place to live is in an outer burbs swinging electorate where we can receive the largess dished out.

    Could be a bit of an age thing LiD. We have heard so many promises, unfulfilled.

    Rather nailed it Dina, lesser of two evils. I haven't seen the political compass. Will check it out.

    Hehe Em Stacks. First bloke. What a hoot.

    Some peoples memories fade Jahteh. Kennett was a beast and for me the Liberal party is forever tarnished.

    MC, in the nineties, ex Premier Kennett put a lot of local governments under administration rather than elected councillors. It might be time to place NSW under administration.

    Frank, I try to appreciate the practicalities of Labor being in government and idealist's unreasonable expectations, but it has just gone too far.

    Summed up nicely Red. Vote against what you dislike the most.

    Hip pocket vote a winner for you Fen. Not everyone can afford the luxury of ideals.

  14. Thanks for your comment Angel. Is it unreasonable to stop cutting down trees that are hundreds of years old and destroying critters environments? Is it unreasonable to shut down Australia's dirtiest power station?

    I grew up on a Gippsland dairy farm, I had relatives who worked the SEC, I lived a couple of years in Moe (where coal dust sat inches deep in my step mother's roof and if the wind wasn't blowing, a stinking smog sat over the Valley for most of the day). I saw first hand the shocking result of clear felling. I have seen very bad farming practices that would have killed less fertile land. I have argued in the past how bad our electric supply is compared to when it was produced by the SEC. But certainly in the sixties and seventies, it was a sheltered workshop, or work for the dole if you like, except the pay was much better. This is not necessarily a bad thing though.

    I also had an uncle who worked for APM at Maryvale.

    In my view electricity prices are rising because it is being produced for profit, not as a service. Singapore does not buy our power stations as a charitable act. They buy them to make huge profits.

    The charge for electricity should reflect the cost to the environment to produce it. Then we look at how to compensate those who cannot afford to pay higher prices.

    I am not unsympathetic to the social cost of the environmental sustainability, and I don't think it will be as bad as some suggest, but if we don't get our environment right, not too much else matters.

    I advise you to always push your cause and concerns to The Greens. I have found most of them to be people who care for people as well as the environment.

  15. Hi Andrew, I too became sick of the whole political scene and threw my support at The Greens and have found them to be a truly grassroots party where the top is ruled by the bottom and not the other way around. Keep voting Green, it both send s abig message to the other parties but also adds to the finances of The Greens to keep on doing good things. As for your preferences - something that came up on Gruen Nation "Least worst is the best". Hope the new Kangaroos of the Scrubby Bush address is coming into your reader - I may have goofed changing the url.

  16. Pleased to hear it Cheryl. Least worst is best seems to be the general opinion. The new one was working fine for me. As you may have noticed I altered your blog name in my list, but now I am confused. Is it all finished now and I can adjust it?

  17. We're in the seat of Essendon. Guess who our entire extended family is preferencing last.

    (And what Coppertop said.)

  18. Pleased to hear that LS. Evil man.

  19. Anonymous7:42 pm

    I understand yours and others frustatations with the Labor party - I've been disappointed with them since Hawke. But, PLEASE don't throw your vote; I think it's better to be counted, even if the situation is not of your liking. If you vote Greens with your preference going to Labor - using the 'least worst is best' scenario - then the major parties might eventually understand that they could be doing better. And as others have noted, a vote for the Greens helps them.

    As you know, I am no longer allowed to vote in Australian elections and it pisses me off no-end. As a foreigner living in Japan, I am unable to vote here either. I have always believed in and exercised my right to vote and it greatly distresses me that I am denied this right in both the country of my nationality and the country of my residence. The system is far from perfect but it's the only one currently available. Your vote is imporant; don't throw it. V.

  20. Ok Vik. Your passionate argument has convinced me to make sure I know how to vote in a manner to work for me. Will you ever be able to vote in Japan? Is there an anti Japanese whaling party? Otherwise, perhaps you too will have to choose between the lesser evil.

  21. "Japanese anti-whaling party" bwah ha haaaaaaaaaaaa

    at the TKY Maccas they probably have Whale McMobys

  22. Anonymous11:56 pm

    To my knowledge, the only way I could vote in Japan is if I were to become a Japanese citizen. Since I have no plans to rescind my Australian nationality, it's unlikely I will ever vote here... But if there was an anti-whaling party, it might be worth it! V.

  23. Angel makes some very good points about voting Greens, but I think most of us who would be voting Labor will preference them and use the Green vote as a protest. I would like to take Brumby by the neck and shake the living daylights out of him. What I would do to Madden is illegal in most countries.

  24. Damn you Stacks, a whale McMoby!
    Cranberry juice doesn't half hurt snorted through one's snoz.

  25. Jahteh, Angel wants to protect her patch, and why shouldn't she. But it is not sustainable long term. Eventually more income comes from protecting the environment.

  26. Anonymous11:37 am

    Am like you Andrew was always a Labour Party voter. But have been disallusioned with them since the right faction has taken control, you can't distinguish them from the Liberals these days. Hence have voted Greens and Independants lately and will do so in future - there is no going back for me.

    I think the past Federal election showed the peeps were revulting against both parties.

  27. Yet funnily Anon, Gillard is from the left. Seems the left has moved right too.

  28. Sorry to hear this Andrew. I hoped that I had been a good local member for you over the last 3 years. I too believe that we need to defend the heritage buildings in our district. I founded St Kilda Heritage Watch in my previous life. I have delivered a number of state funded projects that have restored and enhanced a number of historic buildings - in fact today I joined the Premier to announce funds to restore St Kilda's Junction Oval grand stands as a community cricket centre. Sometimes your vote should be decided on the local work of the MP as well as well as based on the sort of government he or she represents.

    Keep up the good blogging - I have read your articles occasionally.

  29. Martin, you had big shoes to step into after Thwaites. By responding, may well get you ahead of the Libs for me and I know you have a union background too. Junction Oval will always be Junction Oval to me, as will be Spencer Street Station. These are simple and light things, but they get under my skin. I would be seriously impressed by you and Brumby standing side by side as you announced the move of the GP to an appropriate place, rather than our local park. I know Madden is the fall guy for this election, but I am determined to make sure he is and the Labor Party will learn a lesson. I have no issue with you Martin, but in the words of the US military, you are collateral damage. However, if it is any consolation, and I am sure you aware, you have a good margin. Again thanks for the response. It is only a blog and I don't flatter myself that it is influential, but it is how I feel.

  30. what a succinct reply dear Highriser.
    I am enrolled in the electorate that requires the biggest swing to unseat the party which has always held it. Polling day is an empty experience for me. Let us contemplate, on this eve of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi who once wrote
    "Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it."

    Her party won 82% of SEATS in 1990 so the corrupt military which runs Burma, just flung her into imprisonment. no mail, no visits no nothing.
    I'd like our lot (hello UN-Justin Maddening) to think about that
    , while I pray she really is free after 20 years.

  31. She is one of the bravest politicians in the world Ann. I hope her sons can follow in her footsteps.