Australia is having an unusual double dissolution election, where every member of both houses of the Federal Parliament is up for re-election. Usually, only half the Senate is contested at a federal election. So, this one could be interesting.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived back in Australia from the USA on Monday, and watched the TV coverage in the lounge at Melbourne airport while waiting for my connection, was the difference in the tone of the campaign being waged here.
After listening to the candidates fighting it out in the presidential primaries in the US, it was refreshing to hear what, by comparison, seemed almost polite conversation, even when opposing politicians were bagging each other.
Hopefully, if we ever get around to becoming a republic, Australia will go with the Constitutional President model, similar to the Irish, and stay well clear of the Executive President model used in the USA.
I suspect the Australian Labor Party will come to regret Kevin Rudd’s parting gift: their leadership election process. From my perspective, the rules of their new leadership process look a lot like the rules of the process the Democrats use to select their presidential candidate. Facing the membership to gather delegates from a round of voting and then dealing with the super delegates – the elected members and the party machine. Bernie Sanders will tell you it’s rigged. Hilary Clinton will tell you it’s the way things are.
Whether it’s rigged or not, it’s ugly, it’s public, and it takes a long time.
In past leaderships spills in the Australian Labor Party all was resolved in the party room. It took a matter of days.
If Labor fails to get up in July we will, no doubt, be treated to the spectacle of another leadership election contest, as they sort out who gets to replace Bill Shorten.
I’ll be tuning out.
Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia.