Skip navigation

Has anyone else noticed that when there’s an election in the air, everything takes on a new fragrance? I usually avoid political issues, but those who know me know I am an intensely political animal, so I’m in the mood to say a few things this evening.

West Papua

Lucius and I were watching TV last night (he loves Tuesdays because he watches Roman Mysteries, the Simpsons, Time Team, Futurama and then two more episodes of the Simpsons in one elongated binge) and there were ads on that I hadn’t seen before. They were for the Free West Papua movement. I’m not sure (having just returned to Rome) if these are shown everywhere, or if they’ve been on for a while. If you haven’t seen them, they are contrasting the situation in West Papua now with that of the East Timorese. I guess because most Australians agreed with the East Timorese push for independence, and the ads are saying that the West Papuans are in a similar situation, oppressed by the Indonesian military. Personally, I am in favour of the West Papuans, but there’s not much I can do about their plight. But it seems that a businessman (Ian Melrose) is putting his own cash behind promoting this cause.
Normally, this would cause my cynicism to surface and I’d suspect that Melrose was doing this out of self-interest. Understandable if he was head of a mining company that might exploit a free West Papua. But no, he sells eye-glasses. So I look to see where the self-interest is and I can’t find it. Maybe he’s doing it to promote his optical stores, but you’d think if he were, he’d just advertise glasses? Or is this a case of a true philanthropist putting his cash behind a noble cause? Anyone know? But why run the ads now? Maybe the cynic in me sees that we have a government keen on any issue where they can leap onto a bandwagon. And Melrose sees an opportunity to push his barrow?

Housing Affordability

One of the latest catch-phrases of this election year. But when an election looms (or they want to distract the voters) this is a great red herring to drag out. Because the reality is that no politician in their right mind is going to do fuck all about it. Why? Quite simple if you stop and think about it.
Making it easier for new home buyers to purchase a house would require interfering in the housing market. And such interference would be at the detriment to existing home-owners. Simple running the numbers will tell you that there are a metric shit-load more people paying off mortgages or who already own their homes than the small numbers who want to get into the home-ownership game. And no politician who wants to have any chance at winning will do something to advantage a small number at the significant detriment of a great many more people.
So if you see a politician carrying on about this issue, you can be assured they’re weeping crocodile tears – they don’t give a fuck. There’s more votes in not fixing it.

Important Election Issues 

Note there I said Important Election Issues. Not Important Issues. There’s a difference.
I had a debate a couple of months back with someone in the blogging world. Like all bloggers, she thought she knew everything about everything, and didn’t like her opinion being questioned. The question we disagreed on was whether the environmental issues like climate change would be significant in the upcoming election. Simple answer: no. But the silly bint I was debating with seemed to think me saying this made me a right-wing anti-environmentalist. Which a simple perusing of my writings (especially recently) proves quite wrong.
The difference between an important issue and an important election issue is whether it will cause large numbers of people will change their vote. In reality, the Coalition government could come out tomorrow and announce they were banning trees and making it compulsory to poison the rivers and they wouldn’t lose any votes. Because if you care about that stuff, you aren’t going to vote for them anyway. It’s not a vote-switcher issue. This year, some things probably are. The Workchoices laws? Probably. Today’s interest rate rise? Maybe. But the green issues aren’t gunna matter a great deal in this year’s election.



  1. Aurelius – what it comes down to is simple. When voters are handed their ballots, they think “Is everything generally ok?” If yes, they stick with the status quo. If no, they vote for someone else.

    That’s the trouble with having compulsory voting in this country – so many people who really couldn’t care as long as they’re all right jack are the ones making the votes.

    In the US I would suggest the next elections will see record numbers of people going out to vote. They’re generally not happy and they’ve got the power to make a change, and I think they will.


  2. The housing affordability thing shits me off. I am one of those out of the game (most likely for good). That in itself doesn’t bother me, there are oodles of things I can’t be or won’t have in my lifetime, and there are other things to be more concerned about.

    No, what shits me off more is the attitude I receive about it. I must be a slacking off Gen Y-er, blowing all my pay on plasma TVs and cars that go vroooom. Even if I had a 40% deposit on the cheapest place here, I would be unable to get a loan to cover the rest. I just won’t have the repaying ability. That is at today’s prices as well, so by the time I’d have this deposit, things would be just as unaffordable. Then I get told to downgrade my expectations, how do you downgrade from the cheapest possible place in the metropolitan area?

    But I agree, I will be fed lip service on this issue. In all actuality, there is very little the government can do to buy a vote from an unmarryable, childless, male, who will be working a below median wage paying job. I am much easier to ignore and hope I don’t complain.

  3. Aurelius – I’ve overlooked numerous linguistic and grammatical ‘nuances’ under the auspice of poetic license, but when you use the word ‘gunna’- I have to draw the line there as it almost moves into Russell Coight territory :p

    I like your points about housing affordability being a load of hot air, and that the environment isn’t really going to be a big issue unless Labor can find a clever way to make it a wedge issue. They cannot however make it rain or move the earth’s orbit a little further from the sun to offset the whole global warming thing.

    Interest rates won’t rate a mention three months down the track unless there’s another rise thereafter. What Labor should be focusing on is the blowout in our national debt since 1996, but then would anybody really care?

  4. Agree with sclozza – The median value of a house in my suburb is $1.2 million which is insanity. I would never spend $100,000 on a car (even if I were rich) and I will never spend a million dollars on a standard three bedroom house on a quarter-acre block.

    But I’m quite comfortable with the concept of not being tied down by a mortgage. I won’t have equity at the end of the day, but you can’t take it with you. My guess is we’ll move into a more European style housing economy where most people rent and leases are for 5-10 years. Renting is dead money, but I much prefer stressing over paying next weeks’ rent than stressing over having my house repossessed in the next 30 years.

    Slightly OT…..sorry 🙂

  5. Being a single mum who, for the foreseeable future, is surviving on a single income, I have accepted the fact that I will not own (or have a mortgage on) my own home. Stiff shit. I can survive in the rental market. If I have some spare money, I’ll invest it in something else. I don’t understand why some people say that renting is dead money. It’s money you pay to put a roof over your head.

    I am not defined by what I own.

    As for the whole interest rate rise, didn’t people factor that in when they bought their homes. So they’ll eat less vintage cheese, have to cut back on the Cab Sav, and maybe buy one less cappu-frappa-latte.

  6. Snoskred: I think voters pick parties like footy teams, but that’s a whole other post! On a side issue about compulsory voting: Aotearoa doesn’t have compulsory voting, and their participation is *higher* than Australia. Go figure!

    Sclozza: Everything shits you off mate 🙂 I have chosen to never be part of the mortgaged masses, but that’s a whole other post too! 🙂

    Marquis: You & I have had the ‘interest rate speculation’ discussion before. And if you want my solution for you and your new girl: move to Rome 🙂

    Crab: You’re only a single mum until you accept my marriage proposal 🙂

  7. Have to say that the two biggest stories every day in the newspapers are interest rates and petrol prices.

    Being someone who chooses not to mortgage and got rid of my car years ago….it’s nice to not care in the least about these things and avoid the rollercoaster ride entailed therein.

    Arelius: As for moving to Rome…….I’d have us down in Melbournia in a flash were it not for the fact that her daughter is still at school. I miss Mexico so much…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: