Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Lost for words

I thought of any number of things I wanted to say about the result of last Saturday's general election, but I've been at a loss of words. I certainly did not expect the most conservative government we've had since Menzies to be returned with an increased majority. Various things came to mind. I even tried to begin a few lines, but gave up: I struggled for the words to make sense of what's happened, or to even express my anger or frustration.

I thought Howard's re-election in 2001 in the wake of the xenophobic scare campaign against refugees (children overboard, the Tampa, SIEV X) was bad enough. This time, without the racist overtones of the last scare campaign, I didn't expect an increased return – but was fervently hoping the Coalition would be removed.

As the election results unfurled before me on television, I
exchanged text messages with a friend. What she text me while Howard gave his victory speech best encapsulates what I feel and think at the moment: "Howard is truly awful." Oh, and then she said:
History really is riddled with very ugly small men. So much meanness & bigotry in one person. If only we could lock him up in the desert.

But the other thing that left me speechless was how the small, fundamentalist Christian/right-wing party Family First has succeeded to getting so much attention and votes in its first ever election! And, more frighteningly, that FFP could have one Senator for Victoria and possibly hold the balance of power in the upper house! All because Labor and the Democrats sold out on their supposed progressive
ideals to give preferences to Family First AHEAD of the Greens! For SHAME!! Personally, I hold Kim Carr, leading ALP 'left' Victorian Senator, for allowing this to happen!! The Democrats have just shown that they will return to the conservative politics from which they came, or to oblivion!

Since I've had time to stew over the many things about this election's results that I've been angry and frustrated about, I have remembered that if I remain lost for words, then the conservatives' victory would be truly dark. The conservatives must not be allowed the victory of silencing those who dissent, even if the silence is only from being bamboozled or shocked into muteness. So must we all refuse to be silent. Blog on!


At October 13, 2004 10:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most conservative Prime Minister since Menzies? Menzies was clearly conservative, but made some pretence at being 'liberal', a pretence long since dropped by Howard. I suspect that history is more likely to compare Howard to Bruce - a popularist conservative who failed to show any true leadership for the Nation, which was left up the creek when a longer than average cycle of global economic growth came to its end.

At October 14, 2004 10:34 am, Blogger Mark Lawrence said...

Speaking of economic downturns, now Costello is predicting a major downturn for the Australian economy, and contradicting the Treasury forcasts. I find it hard to believe that 1) Costello can come up with those figures or 'predictions' so quickly after the election (3 days), so he must have known before the election, or 2) he is beginning a scare campaign of a downturn to justify the Coalition's plans to attack the unions or cut the spending promises they made in the election campaign. More 'non-core promises'.


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