Voting Against Self-Interest

A week out of the Federal election and it looks like Australia is increasingly enthusiastic to enrol wishful thinking for the top job. It’s easy to balk at the polls, as I have myself.

I mean, the environmental plan of a candidate shouldn’t be so overwhelmingly flawed, that simply adding up the necessary land would show just how unfeasible it actually is.

Equally, when a campaigner says they will lower tax AND federal debt at the same time, the voter should be wary of a bluff or read between the lines, noting that cuts to public services are the only other alternative.

The Australian economy and environment both are fundamental to future prosperity of Australia, so why are the majority of Australians seemingly willing to vote against their best interest?

This question is as old as the vote itself.

The answer is as unique to the situation in each case.

This election will not be a win for Abbott, in the very likely case that he should win. If we have a new PM on the other side on this election it is a vote of no confidence in the current management and one with a very bitter after taste.

Once time has removed the emotional reaction to the Gillard government, she will be remembered as an effective and strong leader within a very hostile environment. Gillard did well as the first female PM, in a hung parliament with a shadow party completely dedicated to a relentless negative campaign rather than illustrating any maturity with their significant power only marginally a runner up to the ALP.

In fact, one of the few things the Coalition fought for and won, they are now blaming the ALP for; Nauru.

This negativity since the fall of the last Coalition parliament (so bad was this fall that the PM, John Howard, even lost his electorate) is the one campaign that has worked in their favour, admittedly, but still it isn’t one in favour of the Coalition.

The voter isn’t really, knowingly, voting against their self-interest, but really voting for a sense of unity. The ALP have continually danced to the Coalition gun play and showed no confidence since being elected back in ’07.

It cost them a lot of power in ’10 and looks likely to lose them significantly more power to a party of spin, at the expense of any climate credibility, regional respect and public services. The one positive I can think of is that the Coalition will not have time to build ‘Rinehartvale’ in the north before we get to vote again, at massive taxpayer expense, and by then the bitter after taste will have taken effect.

At that time, hopefully both parties can select a better candidate – one on either side that will base the credibility of the invisible on empirical evidence, be it atmospheric chemistry and climate or magicians making women from ribs or turning them into salt.

Whoever wins at that point will need a good mop and bucket…

As it stands, Australians want it all – tax cuts, no federal debt and a leader who says that we have nothing to worry about with the environment. But none of this will last. Will the impact of this leadership? Time will tell, as scary as it is to say


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