It’s time to help cut through the swarm of three word slogans so you can figure out what on earth to do when you’re handed a metre long paper on September 7 and ushered into a cardboard booth for the nation’s biggest Father’s Day Greed Contest ever known to the people: which geek dad will father our prosperous country for the next three years? But first, acquaint yourself firstly with the Grotsky Byotches of Parliament (with the now-outdated Julia Gillard as Cady Herron, now she just doesn’t even go here).
THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES
To make things relatively easy, in Australia we’ve been bestowed with two parties that boast similar levels of questionable ethics, intra-Party double crossing and popularity poll-hungry people who take pleasure from yelling at each other across a fancy room in Canberra. In the red corner we’ve got the Australian Labor Party and in the blue tie corner there’s the Liberal Party of Australia. Essentially, your biggest decision on Saturday September 7 boils down to this: which party do you hate less? We still haven’t figured that one out, but we can give you a round up of what, essentially, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party of Australia stand for.
First off, we have our current government – albeit formed by a minority seeing as nobody really knew what to do last election in 2010 – the kind of Left wing party, the ALP.
The ALP, as you’re well aware, is headed up by this man (refer below) who likes to think he is a 19 year old living in a fifty year old body and bears a striking resemblance to a Lego man with hair that, like most Lego men, may or may not be detachable (still unconfirmed). Has a preference for using a hand gesture known as boob-grab claw:
Mr Rudd’s favourite game at the Labor Party’s parties is musical (federal) chairs. He attempted to pull the ‘old switcheroo’ of the leader seat with former PM Julia Gillard without anyone noticing (they did), a move he was forced to play after Alan Jones was unsuccessful in elbowing Ms Gillard out of the leadership spot by using his go-to tactic of being as awful as possible. No amount of sandwiches or headlines by The Age worked either, so it was time to #spill.
The ALP’s hand to the throne (Deputy PM) is Anthony “Albo” Albanese; its
treasurer resident badass is Penny Wong, who would do well in being the first non white (and openly gay) prime minister of Australia, but obviously that won’t be happening any time soon, because there are a lot of people out there who call this country #straya without a hint of irony. But of course, Australian politics aren’t about people, heavens no, it’s all about policies. But we’ll get to that later.
THE LIBERAL NATIONAL PARTY
Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott is the kind of person that likes to prove he isn’t a misogynist by confirming that he has seen a woman in real life and one time had a conversation with one, and has also led his party through a relatively tumultuous-free (in comparison to the ALP) four years since he began leading the party in 2009. While Mr Abbott obviously loses youth points in the election run up for not having quite the taste for selfies as Kevin Rudd does, Mr Abbott likes to remind the nation that he is just as lame a dad as Mr Rudd by bringing his daughters along to the recent Coalition launch.
The Deputy leader of the Liberal party is Julie “Eye Twitch” Bishop, who has presumably decided—since her recent tirade – to give up her day job and fruitlessly pursue a career in comedy. Good on you, Julie, follow your dreams, gurl:
Anyway, the Liberal Party has a pretty strong recent history with winning elections in Australia, seeing as you’ll probably remember the eleven years of your life when the country was run by this DJ:
THE OTHER PARTIES
Forming a government, isn’t, as you may be lulled into thinking during episodes of Q&A, a popularity contest between two dads. A government is in fact created by winning the majority of seats on election day, and the Prime Minister is chosen internally whenever the party decides that they haven’t had a spill party in a while and it was really fun last time, so why not give it another shot? While the minor parties certainly have no chance of winning the majority of seats, they do have some chance in winning select seats, which comes in handy when there’s a hung parliament, like we’ve been dealing with for the last three years. The biggest players in the minor parties are:
THE GREENS PARTY
The Greens party are the third largest party in the nation, and a lot of people like to default to voting for them because both Labor and Liberal seem kind of awful, and green energy and paying attention to climate change seems like a zen thing to do or, as some people would describe it, “hippie bullshit”. The Greens make the best ads in the election campaign and are headed by Christine Milne. Like every political party, a bunch of people hate them with vitriol, too, so you know they’re legit. Here is a rare portrait of former Greens leader, Bob Brown:
THE NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA
Nobody except the Liberal Party, Barnaby Joyce and country folk care about these guys. They’re a centre-right party that bargain for everything outside of the pesky capital cities that house, oh, 89% of us. They also once made up a word “countymindedness” to use as their slogan, and tradition has it that the leader of the Nationals becomes Deputy Prime Minister if the coalition is elected, which means Warren Truss could very well be our new Anthony Albanese.
THE WIKILEAKS PARTY
A newcomer to the political spectrum, the WikiLeaks party touts itself as the “transparency” party, and is headed by Julian Assange, who tends to deny that his involvement isn’t just a shot at using his potential election to get out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which is no doubt far too smelly and brimming with far too many secrets for it to be a healthy living arrangement. Julian Assange said that “The party will be incorruptible and ideologically united” which may come across as sounding a bit rich, considering that last week the WikiLeaks party seemed to make like Bill Shorten and mercilessly backstab by providing a bizarre preferencing system that basically forgot that the Greens Party exists and is their biggest supporter: throwing them way down the preference list, behind the Nationals and pretty much every other party ever.
PALMER UNITED PARTY
Clive Palmer is the sort of person that you have to preface by saying “you can’t make this shit up”, because being a multimillionaire mining mogul means that he has so much money, his body literally expelled the brain from his skull to make room for some cash, using his head as an emergency piggy bank. This has led Palmer to construct the Titanic II, build a dinosaur theme park, forget the names of his own members and appear on a show that was blatantly mocking him. He generally looks like this which really says it all, in regards to their policies, which I can only assume start and end with “dinosaurs”:
KATTER’S AUSTRALIAN PARTY
Underneath the inconceivably large hat walks a human named Bob Katter. As Clive Palmer has duly proved, any party that is named after the loon that runs the joint is destined for a spectacular failure, with added gaffe-induced controversies to brighten up their woeful existence. One of the headlining goals of the party is to allow Australians “To fish freely and boil a billy without a permit” AND SO WE SHOULD, AUSTRALIA. BLESS YOU, BOB KATTER, for making our nation’s billy-boiling rights a priority. I salute you. This is just an IRL photo of Katter’s crotch, creepy portrait hangings phone and gun collection, no biggie or anything:
The One Nation party provided us with the brief high-profile political career of “Australia’s Sarah Palin” Stephanie Bannister which was amazing fun while it lasted before she stepped down, for glaringly obvious reasons. The One Nation Party was founded by Pauline Hanson, which would make it seem fitting that the party be renamed “Whiteys Rule, OK!”, but they opted for the slicker togetherness of “One Nation”. Anyway, Pauline Hanson once recorded a video that begins, “If you are seeing me now, it means I have been murdered” which you can watch below, and know full well that Pauline Hanson has not, and probably never will be, murdered. But this basically says it all. To also be filed under: you can’t make this shit up.
ENOUGH WITH THE PARTIES, WHAT WILL THESE SUITS ACTUALLY DO, AND WHAT IS LESS OFFENSIVE THAN THE OTHERS?
Alright, so now we’ve cleared up the who’s who of #auspol parties, let’s take a look at the major buzz-worthy policies and issues, and separate the tangle of spin, and see who gets shit done:
– Kevin Rudd took to his blog to express that he decided marriage equality is totally cool, and proudly announced that he would commence changing legislature in the ALP’s first 100 days of parliament, if elected. Despite having an outspoken, homophobic Christian sister, Rudd is being the cool older brother and ignoring her like any younger sibling should be.
– Tony Abbot, who should probably consider switching siblings with Kevin Rudd for the sake of convenience, has an openly gay sister who supports gay marriage. Abbott denied a conscience vote in parliament on the issue which supports his views that he has been shying away from publicly expressing for the sake of damage control, that marriage should be between a man and a woman. When asked at the leader’s debate what his party would do on the issue if elected, he said it wouldn’t be their “priority.”
– Bob Katter, continuing the trend of pesky siblings who don’t align with their views, has a gay half-brother (have I mentioned that I can’t make this shit up?), despite publicly expressing that he’s essentially much prefer to marry his rifle (which every Australian should be allowed to own) at a ceremony staged by a billy, than allow same-sex couples to have the right of getting married and maybe one day seeking a divorce.
– The Greens support marriage equality.
– The ALP has enjoyed a good growth rate of 2.5% in the 2013-2014 period; Kevin Rudd likes to remind everyone that, under his rule, the government managed to cruise Australia away from recession during the global financial crisis, has experienced relatively low debt by their standards, is claiming to provide $1 billion towards new jobs, had the lowest cash rate—2.75%—in 50 years, hopes to cut the company tax from 30% to 28% and plans to tax high income earners of above $100,000 at 15%.
– The Liberal Party touts that it wants the country to “live within its means” and makes cutting back on debt a priority; claims that the RBA cash rate cut by the ALP was “beyond emergency levels”, plans to create 1 million jobs over the next five years (claiming the ALP has caused a rise in unemployment), promises personal income tax cuts, will introduce a paid parental scheme that will pay mothers half their salary for six months during their maternity leave, and will bin the carbon tax.
While neither of the major parties are currently playing Captain Planet and parliament unfortunately is not an elaborate analogy for the powers of the Planeteers, both major parties do have some sort of semblance of climate change policies, even despite Tony Abbott often doubting the legitimacy of Climate Change (LOL). The ALP and the Liberal Party both have committed between 5-25pc reduction of emissions on 2000 levels (aka, the worldwide bare minimum) by 2020, however the ALP have committed to following that reduction up with an 80pc reduction by 2050; the Liberal Party have decided a review “in light of international direction” to happen in 2015. Both parties have committed to a 20pc Renewable Energy target by 2020, ALP will review this in 2016, the Liberal Party in 2014.
The ALP recognises that downloading Game of Thrones at a lightning rate, and allowing country folk to do the same, is a divine right, and
have been playing their National Broadband Network as a significant game
changer in their policies. It will cost the ALP around $44 billion to
have fibre optic cables deliver the internet to homes nation wide, will
take about ten years, provides a download speed between 100mps to 1gbps,
will create a monopoly on the network (telcos like Optus and Telstra
won’t be able to compete) and will outlaw the flimsy technology of
copper cables that have been the bane of everyone’s existence for a
while now. The Greens support the ALP’s NBN plan.
Coalition‘s scheme for a broadband network would cost much less (around
$29 billion), would be delivered a few years sooner, would allow telcos
to compete but would ultimately provide slower download speeds and would
keep, to a certain extent, the copper wiring which is the whole point
of the broadband network—to get rid of them—by having fibre optic cables
delivered to an eyesore of a “node”, which would then have copper
wiring sprouting from it, straight to your porn machine, like it always
– ALP has introduced the Gonski reforms to improve schooling, funding education on a per student basis and hoping to have Australia listed in the top 5 education systems by 2025. The Gonski reforms ironically take funds from tertiary education to fund their $15 billion plan. They also want to keep the National Curriculum and the MySchool website, comparing NAPLAN results.
– The Liberal Party has released a bunch of ideas regarding education (Better Schools policy, students learning Asian languages boost), but is yet to discuss their costing for any of their policies, making everything fairly moot.
Oh dear. Basically all you need to know is that neither of the major parties is really doing the Asylum Seeker situation right. On one hand you’ve got the ALP, advertising the apparent paradise of PNG where everyone arriving to the country by boat will be sent on a holiday to the country that isn’t really a paradise, and where women are likely to encounter domestic violence; on the other hand you’ve got the Liberal Party, who claim the solution is simple: just turn back the boats. What definitely wasn’t an ingenious idea to begin with gets complicated by the fact that the inevitable situation of asylum seekers jumping aboard a neighboring vessel and potentially drowning means that by marine law, the nearest boat would have to save them (which obviously would be an Australian authority) which kind of makes things more complicated than they were in the first place. Hm.
HEALTH, HOSPITALS, DISABILITY SCHEMES
The ALP has been recently having a circle jerk about their National Disability Insurance Scheme, and being the party that introduced Medicare, they’ve got a few more health-related plans for the upcoming election too. The ALP has promised a boost in funding of $14 billion to hospital funding between 2014-2020. They have a significant mental health scheme valued at $2.2 billion, will give low income earning families access to discounted dental care and will be steadily increasing funding to medical research.
The Liberal Party won’t be increasing funding to hospitals, but want to create community-based hospital control boards, give $35 million to finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes, improve and repair dental services through medicare and broaden Seniors Card holder’s access to discounted medicines. They will also scrap the private health insurance rebate means test as soon as possible.
OK. WHAT ABOUT THIS PREFERENTIAL VOTING CRAP?
You might think that voting for a minor party, like so many of you are wont to do in support of Clive Palmer, is a total waste of time. However, seeing as preferential voting means that you vote for your favourite political babe first, and your most hated political mongrel last, in a series of numbered preferences, there’s leeway for how the minority votes are dispersed to the other parties. I could go in to this further, however a Koala has summed up this for me nicely, go have a look at the easily digestible comic here.
Okay, so if there’s anyone still here after this tl;dr monster of a post, you’re probably feeling quite conflicted about this whole election thing, it’s a truly bizarre landscape and we share our sympathies. Don’t be afraid if you feel like this:
It’s important to realise that on September 7 you exercise your right to vote with careful, considered caution and think about what it means before you either donkey vote, don’t show up, or just blindly copy the “how to vote guide” someone from the Sex Party handed to you outside the polling booth. More Importantly, now JG has truly gone from politics, and the battle is between the parties behind Tony and Kevin, it’s about time we petition to make this biopic (starring Julia Morris as Julia Gillard?!?) happen, in all its hyperbolic glory…