It’s another election, so queue the assemblage of people ready to rush out and tell you to vote informally because there’s so little difference between the Liberal/National Coalition and the Labor party.
I know even 6 months ago I was frustrated enough with the political discourse in Australia that I finally realised why people might be driven to vote informally. As much as anything though, I now believe it’s apathy: apathy from laziness rather than something externally inflicted. An unwillingness to consider other choices because they seem ineffectual. Seem, not are.
There are a plethora of medium and minor parties out there – the apathy comes from the view that if you don’t vote Labor or Liberal/National, you’re just throwing your vote away. Yet this last parliament in Australia proved that in the right place at the right time, Independents can be powerful political figures, and we’ve had example after example in Australian politics that allowing minor parties to have the balance of power in the upper house keeps the bastards honest, no matter who is currently in that role.
Saying there’s no-choice in an Australian election is like walking into an ice-cream store, seeing 40 flavours lined up in front of you and thinking:
I don’t know whether I want chocolate or vanilla today. There’s no choice!
Well no, there’s 38 other choices in the ice cream store, and unless your electorate is extremely vanilla, there’s going to be more than two choices on the day of the election.
The solution in Australia isn’t to keep endlessly voting in either Labor or the Liberal/National Coalition, the solution is to keep giving votes to the minor parties and the independents based on conscience. It’s not just about whether the person you vote for has a chance to be the prime minister or a senior minister, it’s about whether the person you vote for is honourable and trustworthy. If more people voted along those lines, our parliaments would look substantially different.
And who’s to say that’s a bad thing?