With the result of Australia’s 2016 federal election now known, we rousted our writers out of bed to give their thoughts. Warning: may contain traces of cynicism.
Sam Blacker: It feels like someone finally stopped the music in the weirdest ever game of musical chairs and the rich kid whose parents bought the chairs ended up being the one sitting down. Unfortunately for him, all the other kids have already started shaking the legs of the chair to try and make him fall off, because no-one knows what the fucking rules are.
Roger Pugh: Bill Shorten ran an extremely scary election campaign. There was great alarm that he was going to bash business and the banks, send the economy into a four-year debt spiral and run the country like a union possibly even the CFMEU.
Then he ran the scare campaign about Malcolm privatising Medicare that a lot of people actually took seriously.
But by far the scariest aspect of his campaign was the prospect that his years dedicated to culling Labor Prime Ministers would finally pay off by him becoming Australia’s sixth Prime Minister in six years.
Thankfully his concession today restored just a little stability and sanity to Australian politics.
Steven Barnes: (To Shorten) It doesn’t matter how you live or what you did wrong. As long as you’re on TV, people will respect you.
Mark Thompson: Tragically, I believe that the length of the election, and the drudgery of the count has rendered the result pointless. It has that feeling of pulling into the driveway after the long weekend trip back home. One of Thank god that’s over.
Chetna Prakash: This was the first Australian election I got to vote for. Here’s my take. When it comes to elections, Australia wins two competitions hands down in today’s world. First is the length of the ballot. Whoa! That monster started in Melbourne and ended in Sydney. No wonder, the senate is perennially hanging in the middle! The second is the civilness of the debate. I am totally with Bill Shorten that compared to what’s going on in other parts of the world, we should be happy that at the far end of the world our democracy is chugging along modestly. “Jobs and growth” may be the most boring political slogan ever, but I’d take that any day over the kind of madness that is taking over the US and the UK.
Pendlebury Wicks: Fortunate enough to bag the Bill Shorten trading card – shame that it now has no value whatsoever.
Lachlan Dale: So, this tiresome election has finally drawn to a close.
The Liberals have been returned to power with the slimmest of majorities in the lower house. Despite the victory, the party mood is far from jubilant. The conservative Right believe Turnbull’s election campaign to be a failure, and some have openly called for his scalp. Any chance that the mythical “Real Malcolm” might emerge in this new term seems more distant than ever.
With a minority in the Senate, the Liberals will likely be forced to negotiate with backbenchers to pass legislation. Let us hope the deals they strike with these sometimes fringe figures are not too destructive.
For his part, Shorten was gracious in defeat, offering to work with the government where he could rather than obstruct for mere political gain. Though many of us would welcome such maturity from our federal politicians, it remains to be seen what substance will accompany Shorten’s words.
It’s been an exhausting nine weeks. Take the chance to rest up and catch a breather, because this is going to be one hell of an electoral term.
Jessica Scully: A wild Prime Minister appears. What does he evolve into? A parliamentary pension?
Mike Welsh: Shut up and listen. You might just learn something.
I spent last week in the Northern Tasmanian seat of Bass where first time member Andrew Nikolic was savagely punted in a 10 percent swing against him. Punted for not listening, apparently.
Listening to the locals, I gathered that they had something very important to say but, stupidly the ambitious Tony Abbott loyalist Nikolic wasn’t prepared to listen. Apparently, the highly qualified and decorated soldier had something political advisors call “name recognition”.
In an electorate which since 1984 has swung like a barn door in a hurricane (eight different members), Nikolic seemed to be doing more “telling” than listening. Stupid or arrogant? Both possibly but purely academic now.
Mathew Mackie: Apathy wins.