Tagged: australian politics

Explaining Aussie Politics

Yesterday was a tough tense day. First, for some unknown ungodly reason, I skipped my morning coffe. Secondly, I’ve been torturing myself this week with early morning gym sessions in the hope that my ‘summer body’ will magically turn up there at 7:30am and I can slip right into that skinny tanned skin. Weirdly, it hasn’t worked yet!! Then, checking Twitter mildly on the U-Bahn to work, this happened….

And before my eyes, the whole political landscape was shifting, Australia’s first female Prime Minister set herself up for a literal poitical death-match against her arch-nemisis, Kevin Rudd. Or for those who remember it – Kevin ’07. As in, gained success in 2007, Kevin ‘fair shake of the sauce bottle’ Rudd:

If none of the above words make any sense to you – well, then you are now on the same page as my fellow work colleagues and friends here in Austria!! I was inadvertently thrust into the position of ‘political correspondent’ to try and explain the intricacies and attitudes of Australian Politics. 

This is….interesting to translate. How to describe a political landscape where the party in power devour their own, for the second time!! 

A quick refresher for you: Kevin Rudd came to power as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party in 2007. When things started looking bad in the Polls for the Labour party, Julia Gillard, backed by some powerful party members, called a ballot and ousted K Rudd as leader of his party, and therefore as Prime Minister of the country. It was, at the time, quite shocking and unheard of in Aussie Politics. I still remember Rudd’s emotional farewell speech:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5kUwpeNUtY

The family standing behind him, the tears. Terrible. At the time. In 2007. Other things that happened in 2007 – the last Harry Potter came out, Anna Nicole Smith died, the iPhone was first released.  Point being it was a LOOOONNNGG time ago. For me anyway, and I think, in the minds of the Australian Public.

Kevin Rudd held onto this, played the party game for a few years and then yesterday, exacted his long held and burning revenge. Outing Julia Gillard in the same spectacular and backstabbing surprise inter-party ballot that felled him. All over Twitter there was comparisons to the Game of Thrones – like brutality of this. Rudd even had the nickname amongst other Pollies of ‘Kingslayer’. The circus of Australian Politics made headlines around the world. And to try and explain this, to other nationalities, from a far off viewpoint is….almost heartbreaking. To experience it here, watching the drama unfold over Twitter, tensely following like a football match the ultimate denoument was almost unbearable.  

 

The head on Cersei’s body is K-Rudd, the other guys are Opposition leaders!

 
Its heartbreaking because of the rightful disillusionment in politics across the board in Australian society this kind of behaviour engenders. When antics like this occur, 3 months out from a federal election, you can’t help but feel that politicians are all just egomaniacal, petty, power fiends. That’s how I feel, now, on the other side of the world, thousands of kilometers away. I’m not even there, where the decisions these politicans make will impact my everyday life. The decisions will however, impact my decisions to move back – decisions on Visas for immigration in particular. Decisions left to a bunch of power players with no loyalty. That’s what leaves you feeling hollow inside. Compared to moments like these, that leave your spirit soaring, and reminds you why politicians matter:
 
 
 On the world stage Julia Gillard will be best remembered for her Misogyny speech and rightly so. It rang out to women everywhere for its honesty and emotional truth. She copped it hard in her time as PM. For most of her time in power I was overseas, so experienced a filtered version of her kind of leadership. I can’t say who should lead Australia, I can only say I hope its not Tony Abbott, a man known for his archaiac views on women:
 
 
Because if that happens, I may lose all hope and faith in the way Australia is headed. And that would truly break my heart. 
 
The takeaway lessons? Coffee is necessary, always and everyday to get through troubled times.  And politics? Well today I’m seeing politics the same as those early morning gym sessions – a difficult, ugly, sweaty, mess of a thing. Sometimes it hurts, but in the end its just as necessary to try and make the future better. 
 
I’m now going to step down off that soapbox (oh god political speeches full of cliche’s are contagious!!) and want to know what you think. How does Australian politics translate to you? What would you like to see happen? Is it all madness? Are all politicians the same? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!!
 
And for extra insight from people much more articulate than I, check out the following articles:
 
 
 
This one may make you tear up if you know the background: 
 
 
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