Just about the stupidest thing about our electoral system is that the date of any given federal election is not fixed. Instead, it’s run like some big bloody surprise party where only the prime minister knows the date and rest of us get to walk around in ignorance until he decides to jump out from behind the lounge and spring it on us. Real democratic.
The worst of it is that it encourages the media to play these endless cat-and-mouse games, second-guessing the PM, staking out Government House, filling up column-inches with various theories about why it would be better to go at the end of August rather than the beginning of September. Meanwhile the opposition, of whatever political persuasion, has to be all coy about its policies, refusing to offer any details for fear that either the government will steal them or that they will announce them too early and thus allow us to, you know, investigate them.
Anyway, it was kinda with this in mind, the sense of debate in abeyance, that I thought I’d ask readers at my blog for their opinion on whom they would vote for (and why), and in particular, whether Mark Latham had convinced them that he is a viable prime minister. The response has been fantastic, and is a real credit to all those who left comments. Thoughtful, intelligent responses which, on the whole I think, show Mark Latham still has some work to do. Go read, and feel free to leave your own remarks.
A bunch of other bloggers also picked up on the theme and ran with it. Check outTubagooba, Living in Australia, Troppo Armadillo, John Abercrombie, John Quiggin, Bilby’s Blog and last but not least, Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony, who says, “It’s not Mark Latham’s virtues that might cause me to vote Labor in the coming election. It’s definitely ABH (anyone but Howard).”
Since I’m plugging the wise readers of my blog, I should also mention the great responses to this post about the Australia-US alliance and what it means for both countries. Again, read what others have said and leave your own comments too.
There was the sudden outburst of bad Midnight Oil puns inspired by the news that Mark Latham had let it be known that he’d like to parachute Peter Garrett into the safe Labor seat vacated by the retiring (and demure) Laurie Brereton. Chief amongst the cheer squadders, and first amongst equals in the punning department, was Christoper Sheil, who does a lot of updating here and here. Be sure to read the long comments thread too.
And then there was the righterwing reaction. Tim Blair went into convulsions of confected “battler” outrage, objecting strenuously to the concept of a self-made millionaire with something like a conscience and no hair having any role whatsoever in our democracy. Yes, heaven help us. We only want cynical millionaires running for parliament. Alan Anderson suggests the “ALP’s attempt to recruit Peter Garrett is as misguided as it is opportunistic,” and really doesn’t like Garrett’s dancing. Good point!
Meanwhile, Steve Edwards is “terrified” that Garrett might get the gig, saying it “would amount to the Margo Kingstonisation of the Labor Party”. James Russell, meanwhile, takes it more personally than most.
Two mummies are as good as one at Play School and Jason Soon buys into “the lesbian Play School brouhaha”. Apparently there’s more than a bear in there. His fellow blogger, Andrew Norton, finds some interesting results in the first gay marriage poll. And if you’re not reading William Burroughs’ Baboon, there’s a very good chance you haven’t read this.
“Every critic and blamer, every detractor and accuser, who continues to make the case (in whatever form, be it as a critic of foreign policy, or Australia’s participation in the war on terror, or be it arselicking the Yanks) that our status as a target of terrorists is the fault of the Australian government must read this judgement.” So says Gareth Parker. Meanwhile, Alexander Downer is “tactily permitting what most people would consider to be torture,” according to Gary Sauer-Thompson.
Speaking of torture, a hot topic since George W. Bush became president, Southerly Busterconsiders the involvement of Australia.
Meg Lees also asks some very good questions. Devika Hovell tries to provide some answers. And Billmon says, “Praise the Lord and Pass the Thumbscrews,” and proceeds with the gentle art of exposition by juxtaposition.
Ronald Reagan died and I would’ve liked former Czech citizen, Jozef Imrich, to say a bit more about his opinion of the former US president. You kind of get a sense of his feelings from this brief post. But give us some more, Jozef. Another former Mitteleuropean also comments.
Helen Irving believes that Peter Costello’s comments about Australia and Christianity “are not only offensive to the many decent and honourable Australians who are either non-religious or follow another faith,” but that they also “distort our history and disturb our carefully-wrought constitutional settlement.” Hear bloody hear.
Over at Argus online, Bill O’Loughlin has an encounter with fundamentalism.
Finally, The Living Room has a piece up on the spirituality of food, while elsewhere, Yobbo has some advice for parents of children who are getting unhealthy eating too much McDonald’s. (Yobbo obviously doesn’t have any kids, judging by his advice.) But Gianna does and always writeswonderful pieces about being a new mum.