Monday, July 26, 2010

A classy election

The Australian election is under way, our first female PM having called the election a few weeks after taking power.

The quality of the debate & the candidates and the tactics the parties stoop to never inspire confidence, and this time the bar's been set as low as ever from the outset.

It began with the handling of a TV debate between the leaders.

Demonstrating how seriously it was taken, the original 7.30pm broadcast time was changed to 6.30...so that it wouldn't clash with the cooking show Masterchef.

The choice: to watch the one and only TV debate between the contestants who will set the country's policy for the next few years or a 'reality' cooking show. It was obviously assumed that the electorate would choose the latter.

As for candidates, the Liberal (conservative) opposition party - led by a former trainee priest known popularly as the Mad Monk - put up in a Sydney constituency a 'conservative Christian' (don'tcha love euphemisms) to stand against a self professed "non-practising Muslim", Ed Husic.

Guess where the debate in that electorate was headed.

Fortunately the candidate has been making his views known on Facebook:

The NSW Liberals appear to have had something of a road to Damascus conversion in the lightning-fast decision to dump the conservative Christian, David Barker, as their candidate for the western Sydney seat of Chifley.

Questioned about Barker's anti-Muslim Facebook comments by Laurie Oakes on Channel Nine on Sunday, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey condemned Barker for "trying to use religion as some sort of tool in the election campaign"


Shock, horror! Bringing religion into the campaign!

Obviously it was purely coincidental that a Muslim candidate had a radical Christian put up against him.

Oh, but wait:

In 2004, the party chose another conservative Christian, the Hillsong Church member Louise Markus, as their candidate in the western Sydney seat of Greenway to go up against Husic. That campaign, too, was marred by allegations of religious scare-mongering.

Anyway, you'd be forgiven for thinking the choice of a radical Christian was deliberate, especially as the cat's out of the bag about a deal between Barker and the party powerbrokers to keep his extreme views out of the public arena. He'd agreed "to give the answers they had recommended".

There's still a month to go before polling day so the fun's only just started.

Oh, and some fun trivia. The Libs' leader, the Mad Monk, is Mr Abbott. And the candidate who's replaced the dumped radical Christian is Venus Priest.



Masterchef wins.

Religion & politics.

2 comments:

Duffy said...

This gives me hope. Maybe it's not just our political system that is a three ring circus.

Anonymous said...

The choice: to watch the one and only TV debate between the contestants who will set the country's policy for the next few years or a 'reality' cooking show. It was obviously assumed that the electorate would choose the latter.

I'm sure it's based on more than an assumption. The relevant channel(s) will be seeking to maximise its advertising revenue and would have scheduled the respective shows with that in mind.