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How to Vote Progressive in Australia: Labor…

How to Vote Progressive in Australia: Labor or Green?

by Dennis Altman

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It’s Sunday morning in Australia and we went to bed at midnight last night not knowing the results of yesterday’s election. Ironically, given that the election was called to rein in some fractious independents in the upper house, it looks like we may end up with a hung parliament along with a senate even more fractious than the last. Interesting times…

I borrowed How to Vote Progressive in Australia from the library because I was puzzled by the results I got on the ABC’s Vote Compass survey. For the last two elections, ABC Online has offered a survey where voters respond to questions about their policy beliefs – and Vote Compass aligns those beliefs with the policy positions of the three main parties and tells the voter which party best represents their point of view. Both times I’ve done this I’ve ended up with a party I didn’t want to vote for. Both times I rejected the results.

The title of this collection of essays is a bit misleading: How to Vote Progressive in Australia doesn’t really help to answer the question. But what it does do is to clarify the situation for the bemused voter who doesn’t understand why the Greens and Labor are at each other’s throats, it charts the rise of the Greens and in an especially cogent essay by Carmen Lawrence it clarifies what we might mean by ‘progressive’ anyway.

In politics, including in Australia, the much over-used word ‘progressive’ has come to describe people’s positions on a cluster of issues, the precise composition of which depends on who’s doing the talking. But it appears to be used as shorthand for a vaguely left-wing way of looking at the world, based on the premise that it is possible to change society for the better. It’s certainly not a revolutionary agenda. (p. 78)

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/07/03/how-to-vote-progressive-in-australia-edited-by-dennis-altman-and-sean-scalmer/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Jul 14, 2016 |
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