- Background: how Australian government works (sort of)
Every three years, a bunch of politicians get together and everyone kind of yells at each other and says the same three words for ages. Then elections are held and whoever wins a seat is rounded up into a big paddock we generally refer to as ‘Canberra’. Then they continue to yell at each other.
We have preferential voting in Australia, which means that people develop the useful mindset of voting for the parties they least hate first, and the ones that hate most last, in a numbered list of candidates. Here’s a webcomic of this is in action featuring a sentient koala.
To win an election, a party has to win the most seats, and either form government in its own right or form a coalition minority government. We do not directly elect the Prime Minister of Australia but the party who wins government decides this by ritual of skolling schooners of beer. Therefore by extrapolation of data our best PM ever was Bob Hawke, once a world record holder for such talent.
The 2013 election
One of these two men will be PM come Sept 7. Here’s a quick summary of them from our most trusted news provider ABC23:
- The two main parties:
The Liberal Party and Tony Abbott
The center-right Liberal Party is led by Tony Abbott, who is usually accused of being stuck in the 1950s. The official slogan of the Liberals is ‘Stop the Boats’ because Abbott came to Australia on a boat and didn’t have a good time, so now seeks revenge on all things boating. Especially boats carrying people seeking better fortunes in a far-away land like Abbott’s parents did.
Abbott is notorious for fucking up in front of the media and is usually seen as a public liability for the party, like this time where he couldn’t answer a question and just sort of nodded for a while. Or when he recently said he was not the “suppository of all wisdom”, when discussing the Liberal’s tendency to rectally extract policies.
The Liberal Party is officially owned by Rupert Murdoch and recently celebrated the first successful cloning of Tony Abbott:
Abbott is against gay marriage but has a lesbian sister who is vocally in favour of gay marriage. This would be really ironic in anywhere but Australia as you will soon find out below.
Labor and Kevin Rudd
Labor is the centre-left party traditionally aligned with trade unions, most notably the Union of Piano Tuners. Kevin Rudd was our PM under Labor, then Julia Gillard took over from him. Then Rudd took over again two months ago, after Rudd was forced to take direct action when his attempts to have her assassinated via vegemite sandwich didn’t quite work out. This fun game has officially ended and Rudd is now the PM, at least for the next 2 weeks anyway.
Labor are broadly criticised by the media for not being the Liberal Party and for failing to follow up on promises they make about budgets and delivering policy objectives to the millisecond. They also stand accused of being a zombie party for resurrecting former Labor Premiers (state leaders) back into the party after retirement. Rumour has it that they may have at least another 5 in cryogenic storage on standby for thawing at any moment.
The election slogan of the Labor Party is “Anything but Abbott” which is heavily in the party’s favour. However polling suggests Labor are likely to lose the election.
Kevin Rudd is a pioneer of the ‘daggy selfie’ and is also a pretty good swearer, a true hallmark of Australian people. Kevin Rudd is in favour of gay marriage but has a homophobic christian sister against gay marriage. It sounds like I’m making this shit up but its true. She even once ‘accidentally’ dated a gay man, whoops.
- And some more parties:
The Greens are an environmentalist and social democracy party led by Christine Milne. Hating the Greens is a favourite pastime of other political parties, and is in fact so popular that there is actually a minor party called Stop the Greens. Despite this the Greens are the third most popular party in Australia in terms of votes.
The Greens basically want to convert Australia into a socialist utopia and harness the vast, untapped renewable energy resource of the heat produced by angry right-wing critics like Alan Jones:
Look at all that untapped potential.
They also are the only party that is allowed to have emotions and to be a leader of the party you have to have been jailed for environmental activism. ( True: both the former leader Bob Brown and current leader Milne have been jailed).
Essentially a country branch of the Liberal Party, no one really cares about the National Party. They are in formal coalition with the Liberals which means they just fill up seats probably and help them win elections. If you have heard of any National it’s probably Barnaby Joyce, whose name is an anagram of “ban car, bye joy.” They have a catchy jingle though. I lived in a Nationals safe-sear electorate for 19 years and all I remember is the (now retired) MP took really scary press photos.
[image best viewed in conjunction with this video with the sound turned right up]
Katter’s Australian Party
Bob Katter was once part of the National Party (to reiterate: that no one cares about) but became an independent, and now has set up a party in his own name. Oh and this is what he looks like most of the time:
He doesn’t really like gay marriage which is funny, because continuing the pattern from above he has a gay half-brother who has spoken out for gay marriage. Australia is weird like that. He also dislikes foreign ownership and hats that are less than 3.6 kilometres in diameter.
Palmer United Party
Clive Palmer is an eccentric mining billionaire who has commissioned the Titanic II and some weird Jurassic Park golf club. I’m not even kidding:
Oh and then started a political party. No one really knows for sure what he plans to do if he has gets elected but based on this precedent, more real-world re-enactments of blockbuster 90s movies will likely follow.
The Sex Party
Statistically speaking, the Sex Party is Australia’s sexiest political party, as the words of their party name consists of 33% the word ‘sex’. Found on the left of the political spectrum, the Sex Party’s ideological nemesis is The Tupperware Party.
Patten pictured with a traditional form of Australian cartography.
The Sex Party’s leader is Fiona Patten, whose main electoral pledge centres on a new piece of employment relations legislation concerning the ‘fucko’. Currently Australians enjoy short breaks called ‘smokos’ where they may have a cigarette or coffee. A ‘fucko’ would allow an employee to pop out of the office for a quickie before returning afresh.
Pauline Hanson is a political zombiething that keeps forgetting her irrelevance. In the late 90s she rose to infamy over her fear-mongering of the upcoming ‘ASIAN INVASION’, which has truly destroyed Australia from the profusion of delicious Asian restaurants everywhere to people speaking English WITH AN ACCENT to my Asian migrant boyfriend. Anyway her party One Nation won’t go away and now Hanson is running for Senate again.
You may have heard of One Nation thanks to its star candidate Stephanie Banister, whose illustrious political career spanned an entire 48hrs. In that time, she expressed concerns over the country of Islam, and how Jews follow the teachings of Jesus christ. This earned her the well-deserved title of ‘Australia’s Sarah Palin’.
Christian Democrat Party
This party is led by serial bible thumper named Fred Nile, who believes being gay is a choice and abortion should be outlawed. Hilariously he has been saying for ages that gay marriage is wrong because the aim of ‘traditional’ marriage is to produce children. Hilarious, because this almost-octogenarian is engaged to a 50-something woman and their marriage couldn’t possibly produce children without divine intervention.
Nile has been voted ‘Killjoy of the Year’ a record 7 times now and is also that guy who always ruins a game of monopoly.
Pictured: ‘Traditional’ marriage.
There are others parties, but I’m sure you get the point. Australian politics is a weird, weird place. You probably had a difficult time distinguishing fact from fiction in this piece. Ooops.
Anyway, wish us luck as the election rolls around.