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Australian Election 2016 - Bland vs Generic

Last Saturday (July 2nd) Australia voted for who they'd like to govern the country for the next four years. Apparently the eight week campaign leading up to polling day was one of the longest in Australian history. Media outlets complained of being tired of it but me, I barely noticed they were even campaigning.

I mean, I saw all the TV ads and watched segments on the news shows I still watch but all of it was little more than background noise after the first week. Neither party had anything interesting to hang their platforms from.


I'm sure Pauline Hanson would agree on the
Liberal's four point Power Point presentation too.
The Liberal Party and current PM, Malcolm Turnbull ran a campaign so generic you could have inserted almost any candidate - even their most left wing opponents - and they wouldn't look out of place.

The Liberal's four point plan was supposed to be, I guess, simple and easily understood but honestly, who doesn't want those things? Your average Aussie isn't interested in reading websites about 'Strong New Economies'. Heck I have more than a passing interest in politics and I never visited their campaign website once.

The Liberal Campaign had all the passion of a Power Point presentation for a meeting that no one wants to be at. I'm sure, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has been to many of those too.

The Liberals also had some other ads about a Tradie losing out somehow with his investment properties because that's a key issue for... struggling families who think a 15% GST is a good idea?

I'm pretty certain some advertising agency
has a template for this ad style.
Labor launched some kind of scare campaign about the Liberal's wanting to privatize Medicare. They even got former PM, Bob Hawke, speaking on their behalf.

They were probably right about Malcolm Turnbull being seriously out of touch with voters but they didn't have to resurrect the style of Liberal's anti Latham ads from 2004... get your own shade of black, white and yellow Labor! I suspect there's an ad agency somewhere with an 'out of touch' template because I'm sure I've seen this style of ads back in the 1990s.

Backing that up the Labor party had the '100 Positive Policies' slogan and website... yeah, didn't visit that website either. Partly because I didn't know about it until I wrote this article, but it looked good on a bus.

As opposed to everyone else who probably only
have 99 positive policies.

I'm sure Bill Shorten is a nice guy but so is Malcolm Turnbull. Bill kept banging on about how Medicare is a key issue in this election. It was only key because he said it was. The Liberal's barely acknowledged it and no one else really seemed to care. Maybe I would've listened if he'd said we'll fix Medicare so it covers more stuff, like it used to.

Just like the Liberals you could've put any candidate into their advertising and it would work. I mean who doesn't want to put people first and stand for health, jobs and education?

These guys are fighting for the
balance of power.
It's worth mentioning Australia has a bunch of minor parties, the largest of which is probably The Greens, who are kind of like Labor but with a bigger emphasis on environmental issues. They always put out nice, straight forward ads, that you can sleep through comfortably because, at best, they may hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.

What's interesting is that Australia voted and... it's looking like a hung parliament - with no clear winner at the time I'm writing this.

This is where voters like me go 'Yes! Those F**kers are going to have to work for the next four years to make anything happen.'

Back in the day we used to have elections where one side would win in a landslide, after Australia had decided the Government of the day was looking tired. Then voters would all bitch about the sweeping changes that they didn't realise they voted for but are easy to implement because of the landslide victory.

These days the country is so split down the middle that the last three or four federal elections have been pretty close (well nothing that I reckon could be defined as a 'landslide' anyway).

When you have a hung parliament the major parties have to negotiate with all the successful minor parties and independents to join them and form a majority government. In exchange those people will see their pet issues getting a look in during the term of that government. It means, whoever forms government, has to work pretty hard to keep those people on side.

Personally, in the present time, where we have a sea of bland politicians doing their best to make themselves agreeable to the most amount of people, they deserve to have to make every decision by committee.

I suspect the days of landslide victories are long gone and we probably won't see them again until we get people who know how to lead their parties instead of being figure heads. People who know what their own parties are about and have no trouble telling their own members when they're stepping out of line.

People don't want to vote for parties that change leaders at the first whiff of unpopularity. Strong parties back their leaders through everything. It's when they don't that things start to fall apart. That's when parties look weak.

When both parties look weak, the alternative is minor parties and independents.

These days, that's who I give my vote to first. I don't expect they'll win but some of them would make really good local representatives and should be encouraged. I figure it's as good a tactic as any since Australia has a preferential voting system. My vote will eventually trickle down to my preferred major party if my first preferences don't win.

With the lack of an immediate result, I'd suggest many people are doing the same.

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