In a seamless transition from one sporting event to another, we have endured the two-week marathon of the Olympics and fallen head first into the great election race.
For a political person working within the boundaries of an inherently political community -“ a community in which our relationships, our love, and even our dance parties can be seen as political acts -“ it’s exciting to watch the election process unfold. While it’s not quite the multi-billion dollar, many months-long party that the Americans are currently enjoying, there’s nothing like an election campaign to dredge up the dirt from the bottom of the Australian gene pond.
This year it’s all about trust and truth, apparently. It’s not about war, poverty, health care, tax, education, gays, refugees, families, terror or infidelity.
That’s all well and good, but the truth is becoming seriously confusing. 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.
Another truth: We haven’t heard the last of gay marriage. Whatever you think of him, John Howard is a brilliant political tactician. There is no way he would have rushed anti-gay marriage legislation through at the very last minute just to prevent a couple of couples taking their overseas marriage to court. If that was the real reason, he could have easily waited until after the campaign. Yes, he might have fixed up a few votes from bigots who wouldn’t have voted for anyone else anyway, but you have to wonder where it’s going next. It’s safe to predict at least one more assault on our families and relationships is on its way.
That’s if Parramatta’s family values expert Ross Cameron doesn’t steal too much of our thunder. It’s hard to campaign on the evils of non-heterosexual families (you know, the gays are just so promiscuous) when one of your own moralist pin-up boys is admitting to out-of-marriage affairs.
But Cameron’s hypocrisy or the recent bipartisan support for winding back gay and lesbian rights is not what this election’s about. It’s about trust.
At least it doesn’t interfere with Sleaze.