While surveys from recent months suggest Australians care about health and education more than tax and terror, this week’s polls point to the real, hard truth -“ Australians care about interest rates. As long as our ball and chain mortgages don’t become any more of a 30-year financial noose, we don’t seem to give a shit, -” Pitch Bitch, SSO 729, 20 September 2004.

Never have I taken less delight in saying, I told you so. Like many SSO readers I woke up Saturday morning with mixed feelings -“ hope, that middle Australia wasn’t as dumb as everyone said it was, and fear. Fear that the silent majority was, actually, even dumber. On Sunday morning I woke up with a headache and a sick feeling. Change had come, all right, in the form of a fully conservative Senate.

It’s a shame that, in the middle of such an awful time internationally, the Aussie election became so internalised, to the point where a huge number of people voted on a lie about whether their houses would cost more to pay off under a different government. Increased HECS fees, hospitals, poor public schools, indigenous health, continued political-bashing of same-sex couples, the image of Australia in Asia and an unjust and messy war did not sway voters. This is a shame for the liar, and a shame for Labor who did not counter the lie hard enough.

Anyway, those who asked for our votes got them. Sydney’s Tanya Plibersek and Grayndler’s Anthony Albanese will have a hard time getting any legislation that will make our lives easier through the new-look parliament, but we will hold them to their promise to try. In a last-minute response to the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, the Liberal Party promised to respect gay and lesbian rights and we will have to try to hold them to that, too. The Greens put gays at the top of their policy list, and we’ll have to wait and see if they hold true to us. The Democrats will have a hard time doing anything, but we will continue to expect them to support us. In a country where money means so much more than human rights, it’s going to be hard to get our voices heard.

Oh, and by the way, economists all seem to agree interest rates will go up early next year.

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