This coming Saturday, 21st August 2010 will be my first opportunity to participate in Australian democracy. My citizenship came through a few months after the last election, had I’d been able to vote then I’d have cast my vote for Labour and against John Howard.
However, with the Australian Labour Party (ALP) lurching to the right on a number of issues such as immigration, continuing the failed intervention in the Northern Territory, failing to legitimise same-gender marriage, and their crazy idea of mandatory Internet censorship combined with a new do-nothing strategy on climate change (“let’s hold a citizens assembly to tell us what to do, just like we did in 2008!”) means my conscience does not permit me to give them my first preference. They at least have some vision with the NBN, but that’s about it.
As for the Coalition, well they’re just laughable. A leader who doesn’t understand science or technology, policies that promise to deliver half the current speeds of ADSL2+, obscene exaggeration and fear-mongering about refugees coming in by boat (here’s some much needed facts on the matter), wanting to make bible classes compulsory in schools (I suspect aimed at the even more right wing Family First to whom they are directing preferences) and even worse policies on climate change and greenhouse gases. Even more FAIL than Labour.
So, I’m voting Green because:
- They want to enshrine basic human rights in law (Australia is the only western democracy without legal protection of freedom of speech)
- They’re against the mandatory Internet censorship scheme
- They take the science of climate change seriously, and the challenges it poses
- They believe that people who love each other should be able to get married, irrespective of orientation
- They wish to treat refugees as people, not some mythical threat
- They understand free, open source software and use it themselves
Most importantly I’m voting Green because THEY WANT YOU TO THINK! Not just about their policies, or other parties policies, but to think about how you direct your preferences. Sure they have preference deals, but what most impressed me was when they were announced Bob Brown said:
I don’t like back room preference negotiations with other parties. In fact I’m sick of it. And I think that we should be very well aware here that voters can get misled into believing that they should put their preferences where the Labor party or the Liberal party or the Nation party or the Greens or somebody else says. No that’s not true. People have a right to put, and I think an obligation to think about it, and put their preferences where they want to. That’s what’s important.
Watch the video on that ABC news article to hear that, it’s sadly not in the text of the report. They also have the best election advert that never was – The Gruen Transfer has been getting two advertising agencies a week to do an advert each for a political party and this one won the week they did The Greens.
Now I’m not under any illusions that they’ll form the next government, but voting for them will send a signal that I’m not happy with either of the major parties, and they should (hopefully) get the balance of power in the Senate.