July 29, 2010

election campaign #1

Election fever has gripped  comatosed  the nation and the polling booth ninjas are working day and night to  decide who will become Australia's Next Top Model Prime Minister.  

Personally, I can think of no other election campaign that has come so close to making me want to gouge my own eyes out with an icepick, and halfway through the  debate the other night I almost did. 

It's not so much Tony Abbott or Julia Gillard themselves per se, that make me want to inflict harm upon myself, (well... actually it is Tony Abbott) but rather these disingenuous, unauthentic versions of themselves that they feel compelled to regurgitate to the nation. Throughout this election campaign, the public facade of Australian politics has become so garishly fake that you could forgive yourself  for mistaking it with an extended story from Today Tonight. 

So dominated is the current political landscape with analysts and advisors, that I doubt if even Ms Gillard is aware of her true intentions. Gone are the days of the rambunctious political slagging match, where you could gain some real insight into your pollies by the way they blew their stack.  
Now sadly, the atmosphere is akin to a valium haze, and jargon has replaced any semblance of truth and sincerity.  
On some level, I can understand the need for political tact and diplomacy,  after all we live in the age of compulsive media scrutiny, where the verbal faux pas can be immortalised in a 30 second soundbite and dangled like a poisonous carrot as political leverage. 

It is not surprising then, that catchphrases such as Gillard's Moving Forward and Abbotts Big New Tax have been used ad nauseam to frame every snippet of apocalyptically dreary footage. Every word is scripted within an inch of its life by a team of professional writers; its called evasive language, and as such nobody has the slightest idea what any of it actually means. 
Truth be told, I doubt even Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame could decode the verbal spin and rhetoric spewing forth from these politicians mouths, and if he tried he'd probably nod off or gouge his own eyes out in the process. 

The rules have certainly changed and despite the glaringly obvious differences between Abbott and Gillard, (she is not a mental patient) when it comes to their politics it is virtually impossible to distinguish one from the other.  

As a woman, a mother, an atheist, an advocate for refugees and a firm believer in climate change, I abhor everything that Tony Abbott stands for and yet, while I would love to say that Julia Gillard has secured my vote, unfortunately I haven't the slightest clue about where she is heading.  Gay Marriage - NOpe. Human rights for refugees -NOpe. Mental health funding - um...NOpe. An emissions trading scheme -  Not right now.  Any Climate Change Policy - Tell me exactly Julia how you plan to move us forward? 

All of the hope and the possibility that swept through the nation when Ms Gillard was elected have dissipated very quickly, and as the campaign gains momentum, both Gillard and her agenda keep moving further toward the conservative right. 

Suddenly, from where I am standing, Malcolm Turnball looks like Australia's answer to Barrack Obama. He is genuine, compassionate and as smart as a whip, but perhaps most importantly, he has tremendous strength in his convictions and the courage to defend them.  The fact that Gillard is a woman and an atheist count for very little in my book if she is not genuine and authentic. If the mark of a good leader is in fact 'leadership' then either way, we are screwed.  The only difference is the way in which they screw us. 


Barry Carozzi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Barry Carozzi said...

Hi again Misha
I wrote mt earlier email to you, then found your recent blogs, which I've just read. Yes, yes, yes. What I liked about Rudd, when he first bacme PM, was that he seemed to stand for something. His 'Sorry' speech is, in my view, the most moving public speech I have ever heard. And Labor immediately endorsed the Kyoto agreement. But then he began to hedge his bets - he ceased being "principled" and became "pragmatic" and in the end I figured: Sorry and Kyoto were just pragmatism too. Why won't Gillard take a stand on refugees. Yes - Australia's default position is 'We're white, you're foreign, go away!!'. But explained in clear language, saying 'We should behave in a way we can be proud of; we should show care for these people, and treat them with decency', she might just reignite dinity and decency in our country. I have voted Labor my whole life, as my dad for his whole life. I find Abbott's ocker-male stance, from his bike riding to his budgie smugglers to his infantile 'It's a great big tax' offensive in the extreme. [Couldn't the ad people get some 10 year old to talk like Abbott - 'It's a great big tax' and 'We're bigger than them - and we're smarter'. At least then Abbott's debating style would be seen for what it is!!
Enough ranting. In 1968, when Holt rode to victory on the slogan 'All the way with LBJ', I was depressed for days.I'm beginning to fear another bout of deep distress - 'a great big bad feeling' looming. For three years we didn't have to feel embarrassed that Howard was our spokesperson on the international stage, and I will say this for Rudd - I didn't feel ashamed to be Australian while he was PM. The future is looking bleak, I fear.

Barry Carozzi said...

Sorry for the multiple posts. Don't know what went wrong.

Tex Smith said...

I read with great interest your views...and...I am would appear that it is the same no matter where you go...the same retoric and the same double talk.
You have a very nice blog and I enjoyed your post very much. I look forward to the next one.