ON SEPTEMBER 7, Australia will vote in a new government. And it is increasingly likely that it will be the current opposition that gets the chance to rule for the next three years.
The opposition, a coalition of the Liberal and National parties, is not leading in the opinions polls because it is in any way superior to the current Labor government.
On the other hand, in many respects it is worse.
But Labor has done plenty of damage to itself through its infighting, through its inefficiency, through its knifing of two prime ministers. It has done enough to make the people sick of it.
The populace in Australia is not particularly bright and thinks only of how it can benefit from a particular party being in power. Oh, and it has to like the party that it votes for; there is no rational basis for voting for this party or that.
Given this, it is not surprising that Labor itself concluded back in the 1980s that people are “basically ignorant and indifferent about politics. They vote on instinct for superficial, ill-informed and generally selfish reasons”.
But there is nothing that one can do about this. Western countries generally tend to behave in the same way. Politicians seek to take advantage of the lack of education and the lack of knowledge that prevails. They lie when needed, and then have no shame when they are exposed.
So, no matter who rules, the situation is more or less the same. Neither party is to the right or left; they both mass around the centre.
Hence, next week, while partisans will rejoice or go into mourning, for the vast majority of the people, it will be the status quo.