I have been asked by an American friend, “are you happy with this election?” His email message line is the title of this post. This is what I wrote:
Thank you for the question because I am really happy to be able to answer. We have just ended six years of the worst government in Australian history with a landslide win to the conservative side of politics. Almost anything would have been better, but this government has all the markings of one that could be special. The new Prime Minister is a solid liberal-conservative in the nineteenth century meaning of the words, a deeply religious Christian and a moral and ethical man leading a sensible, moderate and pragmatic party. They are not libertarian but they are a nice mix of Rand Paul and Mitt Romney, my two favourite American politicians. He is also the Prime Minister and not the President which makes an enormous difference. Here the Prime Minister is similar to being the Majority Leader in your House of Representatives. The Prime Minister therefore cannot be aloof from day-to-day politics in the way an American president can. The Leader of the Opposition can quiz the Prime Minister on every sitting day of the Parliament and all members of the cabinet are on call to answer questions put to them. Lying to the House can almost instantly end a political career if someone is genuinely caught out trying to mislead but will anyway cause serious problems.
Tony Abbott, who has become Prime Minister, was considered unelectable by the previous government but they couldn’t evade him and there he was asking the questions that needed to be asked and becoming better known to the country as he grew ever more confident in his role. Romney, alas, had to go through a wearing and grinding series of preliminaries where he was criticised day after day by people on his own side of the fence before he became the nominee. It makes it harder to get to the top and then have to deal with a sitting president who just has to wait until the other side’s candidates have knocked each other out. Even then Romney almost won but here is the difference. Romney has completely disappeared from all political involvement. He’s gone and even though I recently saw an article, “Was Mitt Romney Right About Everything?” what difference does it make? As it happens he was near enough right about everything but so what? He is now gone and there is no platform for him to continue stalking Obama for all of the President’s errors and stupidities. Our new PM, however, led his side of politics into the election in 2010, almost won and now has won big time. A different system that has allowed us to fix a mistake. And with only three year Parliaments, even though the three years seemed a long, long time it has finally ended sooner than it might otherwise have done.
My expectation is that although the new government has been left a legacy of serious problems created by the previous government over the past six years, and even though I expect the international economy to sour over the next three years before getting better, they have the ingredients to be one of our best governments ever. The times will try them but I expect they will be up to it. But we shall see. The euphoria of seeing Tony Abbott as Prime MInister has not worn off. Will keep you posted.
Kindest best wishes