It is official the Australian Labor Party have won the 2010 Federal General election with the closest margin in Australian political history, by winning 76 seats to the coalition who managed to win 74 seats. Australia has been prevented from returning to the ballot box due to the closest federal general election in Australian political history.
Perhaps, this election is marked as a most auspicious occassion in Australian political history with the election of Australia’a first ever woman Prime Minister.
Australian federal politics has moved from one uncertainty level to another, from the past fortnight or so of who will form government, to the real problem, of governing Australia efficaciously, when government is formally sworn into office, and, the conduct of political government begins.
What can not be denied are the unprecedent nature of voting behaviour in Australia which has indicated the lacklustre appeal of the present political leaders whose economic and political fortunes were not determined by the present economic global trends, which seems to show a tentative upswimg from the long drawn recessions emanationg from America and the leading OECD economies. The changing face of the economic hegemony has seen the rise and rise of the Chinese economy closely followed by a nascent Indian economic behemouth. The American economic fortunes despite the paroxysms from the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae debacle, followed by the failures of GMH, the banking blowouts and the Congress passing of legislation for a trillion dollar bailout for the failed MNEs within the private sector which has reverted American macroeconomics back to an age of post-Keynesianism. Menawhile, whilst America catches a veritable cold the rest of the world sneezes, the dominoe effect of the economic fallout is felt globally, Australia is not immuned.
Australian political leaders are heckled by disgruntled citizens frightened by the uncertainties that was emanating from North America and Europe, emanating from the failed economies in places such as Greece, and elsewhere, in Europe, the riots which followed was indicative of the anarchic systemic failure, and entropic forces, especially in continental Europe, due to the failed banking sectors and the loss of confidence amongst investors. All the while, Australia, through its tyranny of distance, and regional sheltered enclave within the South East Asian region, had, on the whole, avoided the recessions of failed fiscal planning, which had affected the national economies of Spain and Greece. Australia, on the other hand, paradoxically, benefited from the emergent Chinese economy, particularly, with the trade deals within the Coal industry, and, the freeing up of tariffs allowed for the unfettered importation of cheaper goods and services from China. This in turn would stimulate a consumer fed economy at home.
Whilst, on the downside, this may have costed some domestic industries, especially within the manufacturing sectors, and, inadvertantly, some jobs, this changing of economic fortunes throughout the globe has allowed Australia, at least, in the short term, to benefit from the present dynamic global forces. As aforementioned, the primary industry has been bouyed by the Chinese economy, particularly, in their purchasing power within the primary sector within Australia. Therefore, just to reiterate, the trade off in local consumer confidence has allowed the domestic consumers a relatively incremental increase in the qualities of life of Australian citizens. Moreover, people were able to afford such, hitherto luxury goods such as computer hardware, and software, and allowing internet access. White goods were affordable at a much more competitive rate than previously envisaged, owed, principally, to the cheaper labour costs from Chinese manufacturing, arriving and stocked on the shelves in Australian stores at very afforable prices. Consumer confidence increases allowing for the rise of the retail industry, which stimulates employment and the trickling down effect of a consumer fed economy means, overall, a higher quality of life for ordinary Auistralians.
The local industries, needless to say, grew ever so slightly, and the Australian economic GDP grew by 3.3% in the last quarter leading up to the federal election. The voting public did not see the economic mis-mangement of the economy as a bigger issue. Instead, Climate Change; Emissions Trade Schemes; the boat people; recalling of the troops in Operation Enduring Freedom; and, the mining tax, became the bigger issues. Jobs and the economy seemed to have been placed to one side at least for the moment.
Australian politics is relatively stable with a higher quality of life which has been considered affordable by many world standards. This has meant that most Australians are relatively content with their way of life and this was reflected in their voting behaviour. Meanwhile conflicts and contentious local issues seemed unimportant to the public media at least. The indigenous issues was addressed and given some nominal acknowledgement with promises of important electoral funding as obligatory for any intending incumbent government. The educational stimulus package was addressed Pink Batts for home insulation were noted and played down by an effective deflective labor Public Relations task force. The coalition government were able to gather some political capital in the educational funding debacles, the maternity leave package by the ALP seemed to be an outrageous proposition by any auditing pundent to consider likened to the Pink Batts scheme in which a former Australian rock band megastar for The Midnight Oil, whom was then the incumbent Minister responsible for the insulation of Australian homes. This multi-billion dollar white elephant scheme failed the incumbent Minister Mr. Peter Garrett, ALP, MP, (formerly the lead singer of The Midnight Oils) had to fall on his sword as a result of this insulation debacle. Australians are great at placing the right people in the wrong places, or, the right places for the wrong people. Mr. Peter Garrett MP, seemed to be one of these type of people whose portfolio was ill suited for his singing talents. perhaps, if he were to remain in his actual portfolio he, may have been considered as much more suitable for dispensing of his ministerial duties. Instead, he had to stick his neck out for Pink Batts and the insulation of houses. As an environmental issue this may have been relavant to some extent, but, overall, this was a housing ministerial issue.
The Boat People issue was a forgone conclusion, since everyone agreed, there was a bi-partisan consensus. However, at issue was where to process the boat people which seemed rather comical from a geographers point of view. Nauru was proposed by the Coalition government all the while people were looking at the map of where Nauru was situated compared to the areas of capture of the boat people which were in Timor Sea, or The Arafura Sea, and, sometimes, as far as, The Indian Ocean. Nauru, on the other hand, is in the western region of the Pacifc Ocean.
The present government will select its new cabinet and front bench in the next few days. The role of the independents will be crucial the Speaker of the House incumbency will obviously be offered to one of the independents, perhaps, Mr. Oakeshott may be touted for the job?
What of the fate of the leader of the opposition? Malcom Turnbull will be waiting in the wings for his second lease at regaining the political leadership of the Coalition. In Queensland some longshots are waiting as well, namely Lawrence Springborg, if the Nationals faction of the LNP had their way, whom may be touted as a warm favourite as an appealling potential federal leader of the Coalition Party? Stranger things have happened in Australian politics.
Meanwhile, back in the ranch, unlike previous governments this incoming government will be treading on egg shells, insofar as, proposing and deliberating legislation. Why? because of the nature of the opposition veto. The opposition is very powerful with 74 members making life in government a living hell. The power of democracy will be sorely tested in the house of representatives and in the Senate. Australia will be in for some very good moot politicking in the coming years in federal parliament. It will be interesting to see how will this government govern this country and to which direction will Prime Minister Julia Gillard steer this country. It is this Welsh immigrants turn on the helm.
Good Luck Maam Prime Minister!
Mr. Tim Tufuga