“Does Victoria Have a Government Yet?”

Almost. According to latest news tonight, the Coalition stands poised to claim Bentleigh. That will give them the 45 seats they need to form a government with a majority of two seats.

And you know what? Not a single Green or Independant among them (in the lower house, anyway). It’s all either Blue or Red, with no Green or Grey in between. So, who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, eh?

It might be a little early to let one’s defences down, however. I found it very instructive to peruse the counting so far published in The Age this morning. In general, the Greens polled lower than expected, but still consistently about double the percentage that voted for both “Christian” parties (DLP Catholic and Family First Protestant) thrown together. These broad preferences can be seen most clearly by looking at the upper house vote (which is generally by party rather than personality). The exceptions to this rule were the Southern Metropolitan Zone (inner city) which polled much higher to the Greens, and the South Eastern Metropolitan Zone (home to the Protestant Mega Churches) much higher to the Christian parties (but still not as many as to the Greens).

There were quite a few smaller parties trying to get a look in at this election. It was a very unusual voting experience for me. The first thing I had to decide was a question of principle: am I voting for a candidate or for a party? I didn’t quite answer that question. I was influenced by party, of course, but I was also influenced by the individual. My main concern was to vote for a party/candidate who stood for human dignity in life and death (ie. against abortion and euthanasia), and whose policies were supportive of families, ie. (and it is a mark of the current condition that I have to qualify this at all) a man and his wife and their children. Beyond that I really couldn’t care much about water, transport or other secondary issues. When we are talking about the fundamental meaning of what it is to be human, arguments about railway lines and pipe-lines seem a little trite.

All that being said, if you are interested (which you must be since you are reading this), I will let you know how I voted.

1. Democratic Labour Party (just to let them know I support their hard work and because most of the candidates are Catholics with a strong pro-life stance)
2. Family First (just to let them know I support their hard work and because most of the candidates are Protestants with a strong pro-life stance)
3. James Merlino. Nb. I emphatically did NOT vote for the Australian Labor Party. Never have, never will. The fact that James is a member of the Labor Party (and in fact a minister of the Brumby Government) was not a point in his favour. However, his voting record in Parliament AND his jolly good work in the area of Multicultural Affairs AND his good work in our electorate meant that I thought he deserved to be re-elected. It seems that he will be (on the back of preferences), but it is a bit touch and go.
4. Liberal Party. Don’t know Matt Mills from a bar of soap. I sent him my questionnaire on “Your Vote Your Values” and he asked me to send it to him electronically, which I did, but then I never heard from him again. Given that my vote would have ended up with no. 3 above (JM), it’s his loss. Perhaps. Or not. Maybe. Counting hasn’t finished yet.
5. Then the Country Alliance
6. Then the Independent (although he actually sent around a flyer saying that he opposed same sex marriage)
7. Then the Greens. Although to her credit, Jo Tenner was the most responsive to my questionnaire, and she extended an invitation to meet after the election, which I will do. I have said before, and I will say again, that I respect the Greens for the fact that they are the most ethically driven party in action today. They do what they do because they believe it. If sincerity alone was the point of the exercise, they would have my primary vote. But it isn’t. In the end it is a matter of what you believe in, what your ethics are, and what you are sincere about. I rather expect that Jo and I might agree on more than we care to admit to one another, but as I said above, nothing trumps the defence of true human dignity. Not even trees.

Probably by tomorrow night, we will know if Victoria has a government or not. I was rather appalled at the hybris of the Mr Brumby when he gave his speech last night. I could barely believe that he was speaking as if he really was going to continue as Premier in Government when his best hope (and a slim one at that) was for a perfectly hung parliament – 44 all. Barely a hope of even that now. I was also appalled at the ABC coverage. Usually a very intelligent conversation can be expected from their guests, but the two characters they had on last night were persistently goading one another, talking over one another and bickering. Virginia Trioli did nothing to help the situation. Why they brought her back from Sydney I don’t know. AND at one point they lost internet connection entirely and had not data to give us. Ah well…

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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8 Responses to “Does Victoria Have a Government Yet?”

  1. mike cliffson says:

    Dear Dave
    Fascinating. Any takes on pros and cons of the system for us uptop?

  2. Paul G says:

    Hi David, I’m afraid I don’t respect the Greens’ “principled behaviour” any more than their policies. I think they are often more devious and deceitful than the major parties. For example, could you ask your local Green whether she would like a law to compel adoption agencies to enforce gay adoption? Does she hope for state subsidised gay IVF? Would she condemn anyone who helped a teenager to commit suicide? If we ever implemented Green policies, would the population of the world have to go down? Is any of this discussed openly at the moment by the Greens?

    I suppose the important thing now for Victoria is whether Premier Bailleau is prepared to reject Green policies as well as Green voting deals.
    And another thing…….
    Speaking as a Sydneysider, please leave “our Virginia” alone. I thought she was the only sign of life in the ABC election broadcast on Saturday, among a very surly bunch of party hacks. I don’t agree with a lot of her opinions, but at least she clearly separates her opinions from reporting facts, and she avoids the journalistic cliches and has an agile brain. For example, on ABC Lateline on Friday night, up-and-coming Leigh Sales was reading the teleprompter at the start of the show and read out “the latest Newspoll shows a 2 party lead of 9 points to Labor”. There was no sign of a blink or a raised eyebrow when she read this nonsense, which was corrected later to a 2 point lead to the Coalition. Virginia Trioli would never have let that go without comment. She would have said it sounds remarkable and promised to double check the figures.

    The best comment on Saturday night was very early in the night and the reported in the ABC camp said “the PR spin doctors are all here and they say they are now looking for another job”. I hope they are at least truthful on their CV’s

  3. Louise says:

    sounds like you voted well, David, given your objectives.

  4. An Liaig says:

    My son had a conversation with the local Greens candidate and discovered that she had no idea of the content of the current abortion law or even her own party’s policies. She thought that abortion was banned after 24 weeks – it isn’t and this is not Greens policy. The candidate was a graduate law student!

    • Henrietta says:

      Yes, the dear old lady handing out how-to-vote cards at the polling booth that we were handing out for the DLP actually thought the Greens and the DLP were similiar! She had no idea :)

      We gave her a DLP how-to-vote card and she seemed genuinely interested. She was just helping her grand-daughter who was the candidate and was a Mass-going Catholic. I pray that next time she will be handing out how-to -vote cards for someone with values a little more aligned to hers!

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