In the last federal House of Representatives election, the Coalition collectively got 42.04% of the first preference vote, Labor got 34.73% and the Greens got 10.23%.
If we had proportional representation, that would equate to 63 seats for the Coalition, 52 for Labor and 15 for the Greens, instead of which we got 76 for the Coalition, 69 for Labor and just 1 for the Greens.
Of particular note is the Nationals Party who, with just 4.61% of first preference votes, got 10 seats.
This disproportionate representation might go a long way towards explaining why we spend so much time talking about the plight of coal miners and irrigators rather than the catastrophic effects of climate change.
People who care about the environment are disparaged as virtue-signalling latte-sipping smashed-avocado-eating inner-city-dwelling dilettantes who don’t understand that milk comes from a cow and that coal is responsible for their prosperity.
This derision usually comes from people with an eye to their profits rather than long-term solutions for what is an increasingly urgent problem.
I do understand that, for some, it is genuine concern about their livelihood, but if your job puts at risk the livelihood of many others, and further, the actual health of the planet, then we need to find you a new job.
It is true that the Greens vote is somewhat inflated comparatively because they run candidates in every seat while the Nationals just target those they think they will win, but over 10% of the country voted for a party that was not going to form government which shows the wider concern in the community for environmental and social justice issues.
The way things are, we have two opponents with a winner-takes-all result. This makes them timid. They are too scared to ever open up an avenue for political attack. We can’t even say we want to help sick refugees without the hysterical hyperbole unleashing followed by ignominious backpedalling.
Tax cuts are used as sweeteners with both sides feeling they must outdo the other. Surpluses are presented as the Holy Grail. Responsible fiscal management is auctioned off.
They make announcements to appease certain voting groups rather than to prosecute good policy, with no guarantee then that they will follow through after the election. After promising to match Paul Keating on superannuation, it took John Howard less than 6 months to abandon that promise. Or Tony’s infamous “no cuts” election eve lie.
Richard Marles was very keen to assure everyone that Labor would match the Coalition promise to spend 2% of GDP on defence as well as committing to continue the massive spend on war machinery that will likely be obsolete before it ever arrives.
As pointed out today in the SMH, the future will be challenged by entirely new forms of war.
“Cyber, space and media conflicts are equally implicated in upending the established order.”
What use will our fighter jets and submarines and frigates and patrol boats be in defending us against the real dangers of the 21st century and the realities of modern warfare and influence peddling?
The only solution to this endless game of “me too” that I can see is if we have a multi-party executive that proportionally represents the community. Perhaps if we did that they might start working together to actually find solutions rather than telling lies, making false promises. and matching the other side in a race to the bottom just to pick up votes.
They might start being leaders rather than followers of popularity polls.
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