It is fair to say this whole election thing just didn’t work out.
With bogus campaigns from the major parties, minute policy differences, two often intolerable leaders, minimal gaffe hilarity (there’s only so such Barnaby Joyce can do) and an endless stream of so-what political scuttlebutt, is there any wonder the Australian public scratched their heads as they stumbled towards the ballot box?
Is there any wonder why the good people of this ‘ere land down under (plus Family First voters) awoke last Sunday, heads fuzzy and minds ground into pulp, to hear the news that big fat nobody had been elected as Prime Minister and not even super-powered ABC election analyst Antony “put his head in a jar when he dies because when he’s gone by god we’ll miss him” Green knew what was going on.
Now mainstream media are tracking the exploits of a small group of “kingmaker” men who 99% of the public didn’t even know existed until now – particularly the “three amigo” independents Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, all of whom are former members of the National Party.
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Much to the chagrin of Tony Abbott, the three amigos haven’t automatically cast their allegiance to their former party – far from it. As discussed in yesterday’s media wrap, they requested (read: demanded) Treasury costings from both the major parties. Gillard happily obliged and threw in a few complimentary bottles of Chivas but Mr Stop the Boats wasn’t having a bar of it.
So in short: Australian politics is in a dilly of a pickle, hanging in suspended animation until somebody grabs the remote and presses the “play” button. What to do and how to get out of his muck?
Sections of the commentariat have suggested – gasp! – that it may be time to reset the clock, expunge our memories of the last week and head to the polls once more, as if this schemozzle never happened. Is that answer? Another federal election? More late nights for the already sleep deprived Crikey team?
Here’s what the pundits are saying:
Bridig Delaney: Time for introspection
The public is not adverse to some introspection. Now that the smoke and spin is clearing they want to go back to the polls. Just over half of those who responded to a ninemsn poll yesterday — more than 100,000 of you — would like to see another federal election. Maybe we want to go back to the polls because finally the spin machine is winding down.
Mahir Ali: Thumbs down for politics-as-usual
It appears unlikely that the political disarray into which Australia has stumbled in the wake of last Saturday’s election can satisfactorily be resolved without going to another poll. That is not going to happen very quickly.
Sydney Morning Herald
Tony Abbott is hedging his bets for another election. The Opposition Leader is an uber-competitor – not the type to baulk at the finish line. But there is a view in parts of the Coalition – depending on how the final seats fall – that it might be in the interests of conservative politics to play a longer game…
Richard Ackland: Cut the big parties down to size and reform can blossom
Relax. We’ve been here before – plenty of times. The history of hung parliaments with independents doing a lot of tail wagging is hardly a novelty.
David Penberthy: The NEW! improved low-fi el cheapo election campaign
After the style of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, the leaders will spruik their major policies on a series of hand-written cardboard flashcards. There will be no money for focus group testing. Each side will have just enough money to screen their advertisements a dozen times between the hours of midnight and 5am….
Michelle Grattan: This tiptoe along the precipice has an awful lot of downsides
It’s not a good sign when the best way out may be a fresh election. This is a painful thought. If a government can only be formed by a deal with the three country independents, it may be that a new election would be the best way out of our federal political imbroglio.
A key player in negotiations for a minority government has warned another election might be needed if agreement can’t be reached between one of the major parties and the crossbench. The horse trading has begun in earnest for a minority government in Australia’s first hung Parliament in 70 years.
Andrew Bolt: Real danger of the bush trio is a flouting of their voters’ wishes
If you’re stunned that a normal election that’s merely produced a tighter result should degenerate into this carnival in which three men from the bush issue imperious demands, float wild proposals, and mull over ways to make politicians less accountable, be not surprised.