Sunday, November 11, 2007

While You're Giving Away Money...

We are now just a few weeks from the Australian election. Compared to American politics, the whole campaign season here is very short (technically, just six weeks this year). Because Aussies elect local MPs, who in turn elect the Prime Minister based on the size of the winning coalition of parties, there is much more emphasis on the power of local seats. Right now the candidates are zipping around their districts, standing outside of shopping centres or at street corners, passing out pamphlets next to a sign prominently displaying their face. I read in today's Sunday Mail that yesterday, our local MP, whose mother is Asian and father is European, faced strong racial harassment while campaigning outside the Toowong shopping centre. The protagonists were a couple of drunks who probably wandered over from the Royal Exchange Hotel (an enormous pub). They kept up their barrage of racist remarks for nearly an hour...starting at 11:30 in the morning! The situation got so out of hand that the cops were called, but the cowards were gone by the time the police arrived.

One noteworthy feature of Aussie politicians, however, is that they are quite fond of announcing every other day a huge financial project to win votes. Whether it's for a billion dollars road-works project or a package to help farmers in the bush or a new funding scheme for hospitals, there seems to be something for everyone, regardless of who wins the election. Today's announcement by PM John Howard that the government will be giving $500,000 for Orangutan conservation (although Australia has been fairly ineffective in stopping the destruction of the forests in Borneo) is a fine example of this great money giveaway. Do I hear, "Bingo!"? As you can see in the following video, Howard's new initiative seems to have been solely inspired by a chance encounter with a young boy with cerebral palsy. Now, if I could just find a way to get the politicians to throw some money toward my own interests...

4 comments:

Mooselet said...

Whichever party can promise to erase my not insubstantial debt has my vote, and it won't even cost them as much as it will to save wildlife in Indonesia! Might as well make it very personal...

Dobbs said...

I can't wait until the campaign is over because I'm tired of the commercials and endless polls on the news. However, I do have to say I prefer the shorter campaign season in Australia compared to the US where it seems like the presidential campaign never ends.

The Prof said...

It's hard to believe it will be over next month, and the primaries haven't even started back in the States yet!

Tors said...

I don't know about y'all down south, but the campaign ads we get up here are hooo-key! I'm talkin' jingles. No joke. Pretty amusing though. I find myself humming, "Green Action!" every time I see Bob Brown on TV.

Anyway, I want my debt erased too! But wait, I'm not eligible to vote. Guess I'm screwed.