Congratulations to Australia!!!
Yesterday was a great day. It was my first opportunity as a new Australian citizen to vote. I have a thing about voting. I love it. It makes me feel powerful. It is such a concrete way of taking control of the conditions of one’s life. For someone who doesn’t pay as much attention to politics as she should, by voting I know I never reliquinish my power to determine my government to someone else. In fact, I hate that idea so much that I numbered all 68 boxes on my House of Reps form. I wasn’t about to let any party preference for me. And I was chuffed about voting in a system where I could preference and not waste my vote, as I had in a previous American election by voting for Nader. And I loved every minute of it, despite having little idea about who I was actually voting for most of the time…
I learned my lesson about that. Next time I’ll do my research first, but I was put off by an assignment being due and a very slow dial-up internet connection which makes finding information painful and time-consuming. I had a strategy, but it went to hell when I found out I could vote for a party called ‘What Women Want’. I figured there was a 50/50 change this would be a conservative anti-abortionist party, but since they had no chance of winning anything I figured I’d take the risk. I just couldn’t help myself. How could I not vote for a party called ‘What Women Want’? I subsequently had a look on their website, and while they seem to be a primarily rural and maternity focused party, they support are pro-choice and pro-RU486, so they can’t be too bad.
Anyway, in a way you could say I threw away my House votes by voting all the small Left parties in first (and female candidates first) before numbering Labour but I sent my message that what I voted on was wanting more women in Parliament. And Lefty ones.
I was so excited about voting that I asked a friend of mine if he would share the experience with me. I didn’t want to go through such a milestone experience by myself. I felt a bit silly asking, but he seemed pleased that I wanted to include him in my first Australian voting experience. He picked me up from home, took me to the polling place and after I slipped my envelope into the ballot box we chatted over a glass of white in the sun on Bridge Rd.
And the day just got better as the Labor landslide became clear. I haven’t been feeling very happy about the I’ve-never-been-a-Socialist and don’t-want-workers-to-strike Rudd but Tanya Plibersek’s joyous smile on the television made me feel great. I interviewed her for lip radio a couple years ago and I came away thinking she was the kind of politician you want all politicians to be: genuinely concerned about social justice for all people, especially for those that currently don’t have it but believing she could only implement that concern within the power-structure of a major party within she would have to work and compromise. She so clearly communicated her excitement about her Party finally being in office and able to implement what she believes are great policies. Dear Tanya, I hope you are right. I’m going to hold my hope out for you and your Party rather than Ruddy.
So here’s a cheers to everyone who has been waiting for a government change. Exciting times! I love not knowing what this new government will bring us. We just have to be alive and attuned to find out!