August 4, 2013

August already

The year may be flying by, but there have to be some serious changes before we get to that time when supermarkets stock festive foods far too early and idiots counting down shopping days.

Firstly, I have chosen to move. As the nightmare on Lamington Street begins, I wonder why I'm putting myself through this when it wasn't absolutely necessary. It is difficult to co-ordinate the date you leave a rented property in order not to incur additional extortionate costs by breaking lease, with the availability of a house-you-like whose owner 'needs' to let long before you're free to move in, and this in a world that cares little for the tenant yet fully protects the landlord. Less than a month before I have to vacate, I have no idea where I'll be moving to, so I can't book removalists – I vowed I'd never use that word – or arrange the many aspects of cleaning the place that have to be done professionally and with proof, on pain of substantial loss of your bond. And what is fair wear and tear exactly?

Secondly, there will be the second Federal election since I moved to Australia, although no one knows that date either. I have been away in Victoria and Sydney or otherwise preoccupied for the last couple of weeks and have rarely seen a news broadcast or read a paper. It's been rather a relief, since I have not felt comfortable with the reincarnated Kevin Rudd PM. I think he's been quite smart in his pre-election agenda. He's wasted no time in trying to steal the thunder of the potentially-disastrous-for-Australia Oppo leader Tony Abbott, who has become even more irritating than usual by saying everything three times, even more slowly. Carbon pricing will morph into an emissions trading scheme ahead of the original schedule; there's a stringent 'stop the boats' plan in place to deal with refugees and immigrants arriving dangerously and illegally; and Kev's carried on trying to convince the states to sign up to Labor's 'Gonski' school funding programme, forcing an LNP U-turn on its abolition.

However, Julia Gillard's treatment during the last three years, and the manner in which Rudd claimed back his position as Prime Minister, garnering a fraction of the opprobrium she did when she replaced him, has left something of a nasty taste in my mouth. I've lost my umph when it comes to Aussie politics. And once the election campaign gets underway, and the competitive out-and-out bribery of voters commences, I fear I may tune out altogether. I am not entitled to vote, either. I will probably just stand and stare, and inevitably despair.

Many people have said to me – and they were not people who counted themselves as Labor supporters necessarily – that they cannot bear the thought of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. Yet I haven't seen any concerted and co-ordinated effort to convince voters of the potential backward step this would represent in so many crucial areas – environmental protection, response to climate change, equality of opportunity, monitoring of big business and mining, and support of underprivileged minorities – by Labor, the Greens, lobby groups or activists, from Lock the Gate Alliance to Agforce.

While Rudd has been busy, Abbott has been, well, I'm not sure what he's been doing. Having failed to bring down Julia Gillard's minority government, yet still commanding a significant lead in the polls, he suddenly seems to be playing catch-up in the action. An LNP leadership spill before the election would certainly not help Labor – Malcolm Turnbull would almost certainly beat Kevin Rudd – but is there one in the offing?

Here's a nice cliff for lemmings – pollies or voters – to jump off if they wish. It's The Gap at South Head near Watsons Bay in Sydney.

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