Saturday, August 21, 2010

Australian Federal Election

And so the day begins with millions of Australians heading to the polls to vote. The media suggest that only 20% of voters know who they're going to vote for. I was amongst the 80% who for the first time in my life made the choice literally standing in the booth.

What has caused this confusion in my mind? I think there are a number of things. For the first time I'm voting as an openly gay man - does this really factor into who I vote for? Well, it seems to be largely irrelevant. Both of the major parties won't allow gay "marriage", so there's no benefit there for me on that issue regardless which party I vote for.

Should I vote on a single issue? I don't think so. Our election process has become very American in the way people think and the way the media present it. Australian's don't vote for the PM, the PM is appointed by the party who win with the majority of seats in the House of Representatives. 

With the ousting of Kevin Rudd, this should be very clear to people, the PM is a party decision not a decision for the people. However, people still say "I voted for Julia" or "I voted for Tony". Well, actually no, you didn't. You vote for your local member who belongs to a party and the party appoints the PM.

My own mother having voted Liberal her entire life, voted for "Julia" this time round because she can't stand "Tony". Voting is a personal thing and I applaud her for participating in the process and I'm in not place to appose her motivations, but I do disagree with that thought process.

Regardless of the outcome, same-sex couples will still be second class citizens as their relationships are seen as offering no value to the community. Until our relationships are on an equal footing with all Australians, there is work to do.

Is "Marriage" necessarily the right act or word to create such equality - I'm not sure. Does changing 80 Australian federal laws that almost bring equality for same-sex couples? I don't think so, it's a mockery, "almost equality" is not equality.

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