I was horrified watching the election count last night. I'd had such faith in the Australian people - faith that they could finally see that their Prime Minister is a liar and a thief with no integrity. To be so incredibly wrong about that leaves me hurt, disgusted, and very confused.
I can pinpoint a few reasons why off the top of my head - first, the scare campaign run by the Coalition regarding interest rates. And that's absolutely what it was - a scare tactic, and nothing more. According to financial analysts, interest rates will go up sometime towards the end of 2005 no matter who is in charge. No less than 14 experts refuted the Coalition's claim, but when you've got the media on-side, who's listening?
Speaking of the media, there's the second reason. The media bias towards Howard has been nothing short of breathtakingly obvious during this campaign, so far as I can see. As I said to jessindistress, this is because our media is owned by very few people, and these few want the media ownership laws changed (so they can own both a newspaper and a television station, for instance). John Howard is far more likely to tweak the laws in their favour than Labor is, and you can do the math from there. And to think the ABC gets criticised for having a Labor bias...
The third reason I can think of is general ignorance. Something I've noticed in this campaign is a general misunderstanding of how governments work and how elections are decided, and I've had more conversations explaining these things lately than ever before. For instance, the State government here in New South Wales is a Labor one, and they're doing a deeply appalling job. I've had to explain that a Federal election has no bearing on State issues or State government, and that a vote for Labor federally isn't an endorsement of State Labor. I've also disabused several people of false notions about Greens or Labor policy (and my, hasn't this campaign been nasty?), and had to explain the preferences system and how it works to my own mother, who is 44 years old and should know this by now.
The thing is, people just don't care. About politics, about foreign policy, about anything except what affects them directly, and while I can't bring myself to blame people for putting themselves first, not nearly enough people see the bigger picture. Why do so many find voting a chore? Where's the appreciation for democracy? And why, oh why, didn't more people see the disaster that is the current Coalition government, recognise their repeated and endless lies for what they are, and vote the bastards out?
::sigh:: I didn't mean to go on for so long - sorry. :-) But I will say thank you SO much, snapetoy, for creating this group. I live in a house full of dedicated Liberal voters, and it's damn nice to have a forum. I'm starting my letter tomorrow. :-)