The Labor-Green coalition got the support of the two true independents, so they win! Climate change denialist / homophobe Tony Abbott has been shut out of power for the time being. Julia Gillard wins a fragile 76-74 majority and remains prime minister.
The WSJ story has a major factor in the independents' decision being Labor's support for a AUS$43 billion national high-speed internet network. Given that the Australian population is 21 million people, we're talking about nearly $2000 per person, which is pretty serious money. One of my Australian colleagues down the hall pointed out that the independents came from rural districts with bad internet access, so this was a big deal for them.
He also said that this was the best possible outcome on internet censorship grounds. Labor wanted some internet censorship measures that the Liberal Party didn't want (apparently it's an issue of the Liberal Party being in the pocket of ISPs, who are on the right side of this for purely self-interested reasons). Apparently it's less likely that these censorship measures will go through now with the current state of coalition politics.
On another note, I take Australia to have retained the best-looking head of state in the world. Obviously I'm not the best evaluator of male politician attractiveness, so female readers are invited to offer their thoughts on that score.
Just FYI. Julia Gillard is not Head of State. She is Head of Government. Queen Elizabeth II is our Head of State. Sux to be a Constitutional Monarchy :(
It is only because of the quirkiness of Australian democracy that Gillard became the Prime Minister.
Gillard's Labor Party got less votes than the Liberal Party and the Coalition.
Others see the installation of Gillard as a subversion of democracy, of popular votes.
I don't know what you mean, Oz reader.
Abbott said although the Coalition ''won the election'' with more seats and a higher primary vote, the public was not interested in listening to complaints that the system was unfair.
'' 'We wuz robbed' would be precisely the wrong reaction,'' Mr Abbott writes. The Coalition won almost 700,000 more primary votes than Labor. But Labor won 50.12 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, putting it ahead of the Coalition by a wafer-thin 30,000-vote margin.
''An opposition that's only a couple of byelections or two independents' change of heart away from government has to be more than just a critic,'' he said.
Please read on preferential voting to understand Oz electoral syste.
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