For years I’ve emphatically said that I don’t understand how any one could deliberately do an informal (i.e., invalid) vote in an election.
Now as we approach an election year, I’m starting to see why people reach that point.
At the primary party level – ALP and Liberal/National Coalition – we have the choice between two parties who have resolutely and evilly acted against basic human rights. The abhorrent asylum seeker detention process now being run by the ALP is the exact same process that the ALP (when it still had a shred of conscience) had rejected when proposed by the LNP. In Report Reveals Hell on Nauru:
Hunger strikes and suicide attempts by asylum seekers on Nauru won’t get asylum seekers ”anywhere”, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Monday.
Her comments came after revelations from Fairfax that suicide attempts began after just a month of asylum seekers being sent to Nauru.
They are at odds with Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor, who on Saturday told Fairfax, through a spokeswoman, that: ”No one wants to see incidents of this kind, which is why the Gillard government is moving people into community detention where appropriate.”
Ms Gillard on Monday took a harder line. ”Unfortunately, people sometimes take that step,” she said in Canberra.
”It doesn’t get you anywhere. The only thing that happens for people in our asylum-seeker facilities is there is a proper assessment of whether or not they are a genuine refugee.”
Bianca Hall, The Age, February 25, 2013.
The ALP has long promoted itself as being a greater champion of rights than the Liberal party – this dehumanising act in one fell swoop washes away those credentials.
Yet the LNP is in a race to the bottom of this fetid cesspit of barbarism, with Tony Abbott’s oft-claimed cowardly intent of having the navy drag asylum seeker boats back to Indonesian waters. (Cowardly? Well, much as he’ll figuratively hump the leg of anyone in Australia willing to report or talk about it in an appeal to their fear and bigotry, when he met the president of Indonesia he was silent on the matter.)
Equally, neither party has behaved with any shred of progressive human rights towards the same-sex marriage debate. Labor passed a non-binding resolution to support same sex marriage, which effectively neutered the discussion – particularly with the prime minister remaining opposed to it. (Indeed, when the matter went to a conscience vote in parliament last year, the much-touted alternative Labor leader, former prime minister Kevin Rudd also voted against it.)
From a human rights perspective, neither of the major parties shine.
The next significant party, the Greens, may have more honourable intentions towards human rights on both aspects of the debate, but they have no chance of winning a majority to govern, and as is always the case, the balance of power in the senate is meaningless unless the major parties are in disagreement.
This is a grim, dark time for Australia’s national conscience. Both major parties are determined to use and abuse minorities and the persecuted for their own causes, and none of the other political players have been able to temper in any tangible form it in this current parliament.
Hell, it’s no wonder some people vote informal.