Why Australia is doomed: a case study of voting against self-interest

I’ve signed a couple petitions on Change.org and now get the odd email pointing to new petitions that may be of interest.

One that stood out asked for signatures to support the National Broad Band Network as was outlined by the ALP. It was created by Nike Paine, titled, “The Liberal Party of Australia: Reconsider your plan for a ‘FTTN’ NBN in favour of a superior ‘FTTH’ NBN”.

I signed it straight away. How could I not? The Coalition’s FTTN NBN is a joke, offsetting costs to another time to be fixed by a future government.

Yesterday, I received a follow up email regarding this petition, which has done pretty good, gaining 190,000 signees. A figure that the incoming minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has shrugged off. In the email, Turnbull is quoted as saying “wasn’t there an election recently…”

What struck me in this email was that Nick went on to write;


“I voted Liberal this time around, because I felt they would do a better job than Labor overall. I really want them to engage with people on this issue. It’s going to be a tough fight, but one we can win if all of us ensure the new government hear us.”


Ahhh… okay.

The Coalition’s FTTN NBN was far from a minor party platform. The Coalition have been ramping up their criticism of the ALP’s approach for the better part of a year and made their alternative plan one of the few genuine differences by which the voter could identify them… That’s how we got stuck with ‘Mr Internet’ and his dismissal of this petition.

It’s like me voting for Mr Abbott with the expectation that I might be able to sway him to Labour’s stance on, for interest stake, marriage equality or genuine climate change mitigation. I disagree with the Coalition on these two points, their NBN and a military response to refugees, hence why I chose not to vote for them.

It was nothing to do with a generic aligning to a particular party, I am very much a swinging voter (none are particularly likable), but entirely because these were the options. If the Coalition’s NBN plan was bad enough to motivate Nick to create such a petition, then it should have been important enough to vote against on election day.

On hearing that, my interest in this petition waned. Mr Internet has this one pegged.

Nick, you voted for the entire package, not parts of it. Surely you have childhood memories of a caregiver reminding you to eat your vegies as well. The same applies here.

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9 thoughts on “Why Australia is doomed: a case study of voting against self-interest

  1. I don’t think Australians really paid attention to what they were voting for. Even for die hard centre-right voters, I don’t think Abbott is a true centre-right politician. Certainly his costly parental leave scheme is more centre-left to my mind. But what I find most perplexing is that Australians have voted to ditch trains in favour of roads, because that is also what Abbott stands for. Why, oh why??? I am currently in the UK and the train network here is extensive and wonderful. It is also quick and much faster than trying to get anywhere by car.

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    1. Abbott is about as centre-right as Monckton (who claims as much). Both are off in the ether of deep conservatism.

      I think people weren’t voting for Abbott, merely against Labour. Now the reality of their choice is sinking in…

      Aust and the US, both with significant sprawling suburbia, will typically favour cars for many reasons. Efficient public transport just isn’t cool enough for most.

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    1. I’ve been saying same thing for a few weeks – since it’s seemed certain the LNP would win. The most important thing to note is that the LNP only started taking a massive lead when Abbott all but disappeared in the background and let his team do the talking.

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  2. I signed the same petition too , the liberals broadband policy has been know and pushed for three years so thanks Nick .
    People vote I gathered anecdotal on one issue that struck a cord for them for example stopping the boat or carbon tax or the supposed wasting of tax payers funds .
    The liberals gathered all of the peoples individual gripes and promised to stop,fix or remove them , so people I think voted for some aspect of the liberal party that spoke to their concern/perceived problem with the Labor Gov.
    As long as their concern is addressed they are not worried how others are affected by liberal policy .
    Its called self interest , and it seems to becoming a virtue to be admired.

    On another note , the hopeful for the post of minister of Science is a denier of climate warming even thought he is physicists and materials engineer . But then I meet a bioligist at work who is now a train driver who had doubts about Darwinian evolution , he some other idea about major events pushing evolution along .

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    1. spot on mate.

      People have forgotten why they vote and what a vote actually means.

      who’s this climate denier chap? It might make for some fun posts on NewAnthro.. Ms Haines style anti-science reply..

      I’ve come by a couple people wirh BSc that are against anthro climate change or evolution. It makes me wonder what they were being taught.

      About the best thing a budding science grad can be taught is how to critique ideas, not what to think, yet there are easy grades to be had in the latter…

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