Over the past month, we've been having an election campaign, which has ended tonight with the Liberal party winning. For you Americans, "Liberal" is the equivalent of the Republicans, not the Democrats!
(In America, 'liberal' means socially progressive, elsewhere it means economically liberal, a la laissez faire capitalism)
The Liberals stand for deregulation of everything, cutting of public services, minimal government investment, selling of government assets, cutting of taxes on the rich and on business, no support for the poor or the working class, etc, etc...
What I've discovered over the past month, is that there's a huge geographical split in support for that ideology, with the less populated states and territories to the north being extremely socially conservative, religious, homophobic, racist, etc... And basically only the urban areas of Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide holding any widespread opposition to these views.
Me being from Melbourne and Sydney, I'm really feeling that we should secede from the federation!
Seriously, in my extended peer group, of friends, family, co-workers, friend-of-friends, etc... I know a few people who vote Liberal, but I don't know anyone at all who supports Tony Abbot. Everyone I've ever talked to is disgusted, embarrassed and creeped out by the guy. Not only do most of the people in my area disagree with his party's ideologies, we also just despise the man himself.
Here's a list of reasons why: http://www.scribd.com/doc/133134121/Tony-Abbott-Gaffes
Or the short version of policy comparison: http://dontbeafuckingidiot.com/
Anyway, I just had to vent. I've never experienced this kind of divide before. I've seen people in the US with their Obama-is-the-anti-christ, or Bush-carried-out-911, or I'm-gonna-shoot-JFK, type levels of hatred, but this is new to me.
I was ideologically against the previous Liberal leader, John Howard, but he was at least a decent statesman, came off as respectable, and was a brilliant politician... I could understand why people might vote for him. But this. This I just can't comprehend. I don't even know how this guy got to be the opposition leader, let alone get votes!
This guy is now the Prime Minister:
In other election news:
This eccentric billionaire made it into the house of reps, with his own self-titled party, and is likely to win some senate seats too:
(Yes, he's really building giant replicas of both the titanic and dinosaurs)
Australia's most famous xenophobe might have won a seat:
And the great homophobic cowboy: