I'm not going to write too much about the switch in leadership of the Federal Labor party and the return of K-Rudd to the prime minister-ship. For myself I see the act of voting to be largely a pragmatic act rather than an emotive one; the leader of the party matters little to me as I don't in most cases get to vote for them directly. What I care about is the policy direction that the parties will take and their relative likelihood of winning seats in our two houses of Parliament. The wonderful thing about Australia is that we have a preferential (or instant Runoff) voting system that allows us to in fact do both, protest and still lodge a pragmatic voting choice.
What do I mean? I don't necessarily agree with a chunk of the Federal Labor platform for example, but I agree with them much more than I do the Coalition. Now in many countries I could vote for a 3rd party, but if that party were to have a very low chance of winning by comparison I would effectively give the winning party I didn't like half a vote by denying their opponents one. In Australia however I can do both, vote in protest for a 3rd party and place a preference with the major party I prefer. Whats the use of this? Primary vote is a factor that people watch and should shifts happen Parties will often adjust their platforms to compensate. The primary vote is a measure of where the Overton window sits and as such is a useful tool in moving it without throwing half votes towards the major party you really don't like...
So even if you have some disagreements with them but don't want a LNP government; VOTE 2 ALP!
(The senate is different, may go into that one day. I just really get annoyed that we have a great election system in this country that most people don't know how to use...)
It is ultimately sad that Julia Gillard was forced out, she did not get a far shake from the media or the public and her term exposed some still very ugly strains within out culture. With luck her term will make it easier for the female prime ministers that will come after her.
But there are a couple of net positives from last nights events...The loss of Steven Conroy as Senate leader brought me no small amount of delight. Also it has shown Tony Abbott's total lack of balls, he is no longer as eager for a vote of no confidence now he has a parliamentary opponent who is both popular and relatively unbattered by the Murdoch puditocracy.
Tomorrow is another day...