Gedalia Returns and John Leaves

After a week away its time to catch up with some blogging by Gedalia.A few post election thoughts, but with all the “excitement” out of the way there is little left to say.

Both the poll and lead up to the poll were bizarre. Over east, where I was able to watch coverage after Shabbat as the result became apparent, it was a different scene. The sentiment supporting change was far stronger than it was in WA, and the results reflected this. Particularly I noticed that the Jewish community was far more split across both parties than it is in Perth. Due in no small part to the Jewish candidates, and particularly the popularity of Michael Danby in Melbourne Ports. My conclusions from election night are as follows:

1 – Democracy is alive and well, and Australia has to be the worlds best example of this. We have a Labor Government, and the sky will not fall in. There will be a change of economic direction, in my opinion to the detriment of the workplace, however across the mainstay of Liberal voters the outcome will be respected. As I mentioned previously, modern day reality is that it is economy that drives the Government and not vice versa.

2 – The election night show was bizarre. The feeble attempt of the networks to transform their coverage into an entertaining spectacle was not effective. I watched mainly channel seven, where Jeff Kennett showed up Peter Beattie and proved why he was a better Premier.

3 – The Libs haven’t imploded, but they did show us how to see right through their seemingly unified campaign. Firstly, in his address Peter Costello did not acknowledge John Howard. Then convention was surpassed when normally well choreographed sequences of speeches were not well stage managed. John Howard cut right across Costello. He then endorsed him publicly, something that he would not have done had he known that Costello would be standing down too.

4 -Two days after the election we don’t know whether John Howard will hold his seat. Nobody cares either. It is an unfortunate end to a great career. Whilst the former PM was gracious in defeat, he gave the distinct impression that he knew his tenure had passed some weeks ago. Alexander Downer confirmed this the following day by making the stupid statement that the Liberals were aware they couldn’t win. The reality is that 45% of Australians still supported them with their vote. Although the Parliamentary majority of seats is significant for Labour (about 22 seats in the lower house), the first party preference vote indicates the election was closer than this.

5 – Less gracious in victory was Maxine McKew whose speech will not go down as a great Australian political epiphany. It will be a long honeymoon for the incoming administration, but when it wears off the real fun will start. History will show 11.5 years of Liberal Government to be prosperous, but Labor won this campaign simply on the back of the feeling that it was time for a change. Labor can either build on their predecessors success or wind it back. If they do the former, then it will be an extended generation of voters who have never experienced economic recession. If they do the latter then the electorate will be unforgiving. So that’s it for Jewgle from the election 2007. We congratulate Kevin HaMaccabee. We farewell Lazarus who did not make it through his quadruple bypass.

Now its back to regular programming. Coming up over the next week, some thoughts about how Jewish life in Perth compares to Jewish life in Melbourne. Fasten your seatbelts.