2019 Federal Election Virtual Drinking Game

I had so many good intentions for this blog in 2019.  For example, I intended to do a proper write up of who wound up in the Victorian  Legislative Council, and indeed, I have started that post, and even continued that post… I just haven’t finished that post.  It’s been that sort of year.  I hope that I will do so soon, but I think I’d better not make any more promises on that score.

Anyway, with the Federal Election looming, it looks likely that we will be seeing some really ugly and stupid politics playing out over the next few months.  Which… will make the next few months not all that different from the last few months.

I was going to create a bingo game to solace us all in the toxic lead-up to this election, but when I shared some of my ideas for a bingo card with a friend he said “That’s not bingo, because all of those things are guaranteed to happen.”

And, while I don’t think he is *quite* right, there is a seed of truth in his remark.

(Certainly, at least one thing I planned to put on the bingo card has happened in the two days between me coming up with this idea and today.  So while I originally planned not to write this silly post until I had been good and finished my Victorian Election post, I’m putting this up now regardless, before every single thing on it has a chance to happen.)

Which is why I’m turning this into a drinking game.  Or rather, a virtual drinking game, because I don’t want to encourage irresponsible drinking and I think we will all be thoroughly potted if we follow the game plan below.  Mix up the virtual cocktail of your choice and start playing!

Alternatively, if you’d like this game to have some more meaning than our politics currently does, pick a charity – or indeed, a political party – that stands for something you hold dear, and pick a dollar or cent amount for sips, swigs and sculls.  Every time one of the items on the list comes up, put the appropriate amount into a piggy bank, and when the time is right, donate the amount you have raised.  Everyone wins!

(Well, except the Coalition, I hope.  And yes, this drinking game is just as partisan as everything else I write.)

Continue reading

National Holiday

I was born and live on Wurundjeri land.

That probably tells you everything you need to know about my views on Australia Day and whether we should change the date, but when did that ever stop me from writing a blog post?

I don’t actually know a lot about the history of this country before European settlers arrived (which was not, incidentally, on January 26, 1788.  Though apparently that *was* the date the French arrived at Botany Bay, so we should probably be putting snails, not snags, on the barbie, if barbecues are our thing…).

Continue reading

Apology to subscribers

Hi all,

I gather that whenever I add an old book review post to this site, you guys are getting an email.  I’ve checked with wordpress, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to switch this off from my end.  And I’m afraid I’m not even halfway through yet, so there is going to be a lot more Cate Speaks spam coming through your inbox in the next few days.

My best suggestion, if this is driving you mad, is that you unsubscribe for the next week or so, by which time I truly hope I will be done (I truly hope I will be done by the end of this week, frankly), or just keep an eye out for a post here wrapping up the Victorian Election, because that will be the sign that I’m done with adding historical book review posts.

Apologies for the inconvenience, I can imagine that this is very frustrating.

There ought to be a link in the bottom of your email that takes you to where you can unsubscribe – I’m not sure if you will find yourself subscribed to catespeaks.com or to catespeaks.wordpress.com, so if you can’t find your subscription to the first, check the second.

Edited to add: OK, I’m done for now.  At some later date, I’ll incorporate my Goodreads reviews, but there are far fewer of them, and I’ll give you a heads-up before I get started!  Thank you for your patience.

Another year over, and an announcement

Let’s start with the big announcement – Cate Speaks now has its own web address!  I have registered www.catespeaks.com as a domain, and have also bought a WordPress Plan which should make the ads on this website disappear.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and it has been made possible by your support through my Ko-fi.com account, so thank you for that.  You might want to update your bookmarks, but don’t worry too much if you don’t remember to do so – the domain maps from the WordPress site, so going to the old site should bring you straight here.

I’ll be making one other change to this website, and that is to start adding book reviews, mostly retrospectively, but you can expect to hear a lot from me on this score in the months leading up to the Hugo Awards.  The reason for this addition is that I’ve been reviewing books in a number of different locations for a while, and felt like it would be a good idea to consolidate everything in the one spot.  (Nobody needs five separate blogs, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and a Goodreads account.  It’s ridiculous.)  You might get a bit more silly poetry around here, too.  I seem to be in that sort of mood.  I’ll keep tagging everything as appropriate, so if you are just here for the politics, you can easily avoid the frivolity and lowbrow literary choices.

And that’s enough of that – let’s take a look at 2018.

Continue reading

Santa Claus is Coming to Nicaea

Remember how the subtitle for this blog is ‘Politics and Poetry’?  And it’s basically all politics?  Well, this is not really *good* poetry, but what is a girl to do when someone complains about the lack of Christmas Carols celebrating Saint Nicholas (that’s Santa Claus to you) punching Arius (the heretic) at the Council of Nicaea?

I admit, the scansion is less than perfect.  It’s difficult to fit any really sound theology into lines of 5 or 7 syllables.  (And unsound theology has similar numbers of syllables to good theology, as it turns out.)  Also, technically, the bit about the Creed is ahistorical, because that happened *because* of Arius, not before him.  But I suspect that anyone who cares enough to nitpick… is exactly the right audience for this.

(I promise I’ll get back to the Victorian State Election results soon.)

Continue reading

Victorian State Election 2018: Post-mortem Part 1

So it looks like Labor won that one, then.  Which is good, because the main narrative I’ve seen floating around the place has been that Victorians rejected the politics of fear and racism, and that Andrews won by being strong on policy and infrastructure (and, it must be said, on the back of four years of actually achieving a fair bit of what he set out to do).

Is this narrative true?  Well, partially, at least.  I’m sure the mess in Canberra didn’t help Matthew Guy any, though amusingly neither side of politics really wants to admit that – Labor, because it takes away from their victory, and the Liberals because then they’d have to admit to getting that wrong (which Mary Wooldridge very nearly did, in fact). But, while I’d love to think that my fellow Victorians are all highly-evolved individuals who are too intelligent to fall for a fear campaign and too kind to be motivated by racism, I suspect that this is not wholly the case.

Still, true or not, it’s a good narrative, and one that I hope will take root.  “Fear campaigns don’t win in this country” is an idea that I would like to become true.  I mean, wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone in politics went, right, OK, fear campaigns don’t work, let’s make the Federal election about policy instead of about racism and being mean to LGBTQI people.

Continue reading

Victorian State Election 2018: Election Eve

And so, here we are.   Tomorrow, millions of Victorians will get up, locate their nearest polling booth, and vote.  We will collect (or reject) How to Vote cards from the major parties and whatever random sprinkling of minor parties come our way; we will investigate the cake stall and secretly regret that we are too old and too heavy for the jumping castle; we will complain about the length of the lines and the ridiculous size of the ballot paper; and on the way out, we will probably succumb to the lure of the Democracy Sausage, or at least the veggie sausage or the egg and bacon roll.  (And woe betide the rebel who puts the onion on top of his sausage!)

And then we will go home, secure in the knowledge that we have voted and that our vote will be counted.

Here are three things I want you to remember tomorrow.

Continue reading

Victorian State Election 2018: Worth a thousand words?

Well, if I actually go back and count up everything I’ve written over the last few weeks, this election is clearly worth more like 83,000 words to me…

Which is a lot of writing – and also a lot of reading.

If you have been following me on this long, and sometimes disturbing, journey through Victoria’s political psyche, with its egos, ids, and superegos, I think you deserve a reward.

I’ve commented a few times over the course of these posts that it would be interesting to create wordclouds for some of these political parties.  Well, it turns out that http://www.wordclouds.com lets me do just that – and it even lets me choose the colours and shapes so that they can be themed with the parties in question!  So, herewith, for your delectation and delight, the political parties contesting the Victorian State Election – in pictorial form!

Continue reading

Victorian State Election 2018: Some useful links and resources

We’re getting to the pointy end of the election, and if you are just joining the fun, you probably don’t have time to read every single one of my posts!

So here are some other resources that should take you less time to read, and might entertain you.

Official Resources

Other resources on small parties

  • Antony Green tells you how to vote, provides some fairly scary senate calculators based on the group voting tickets and recommends voting below the line.
  • Jill Stark on Twitter gives a brief rundown of political parties with misleading or confusing names
  • André Brett on Twitter has a tweet for every party on the ballot.
  • André also has an excellent Tumblr Blog called Blatantly Partisan Party Reviews (close inspection will reveal that he and I have something of a mutual admiration society happening – the world of tiny political party bloggers is small…), which gives you a paragraph or two on each party if you want more detail than Twitter can provide, but don’t have all day.  He also researched the independents for Brunswick.
  • Matt Hrkac has nice, concise summaries of each party contesting the election.  (I’d recommend this as an article to take into the polling booth, because it’s brief and covers the basics enough to remind you who everyone is)
  • Daniel Bowen has a useful article about the election, with information on voting, small parties, energy and the environment, and local Bentleigh issues.
  • The New Daily have put up a post on microparties.  It’s interesting to see what stands out for them.
  • If climate change is your priority, then Precarious Climate has analysed all the parties from a climate change policy perspective.
  • If homelessness is your chief concern, Everybody’s Home has profiled Labor, the Coalition, the Greens and Fiona Patten’s Reason Party on this issue.
  • If racism is something you are worried about, Colour Code has rated a number of major and minor parties, and provided short profiles on their policies in this area.
  • First Dog on the Moon doesn’t talk about minor parties, but as usual, he is on the money with the majors.

Democracy Sausage

  • Democracysausage.org is an interactive map that tells you which of your local polling booths are having sausage sizzles, which are having cake stalls, and so forth.  I have not yet figured out what all the icons mean, but they are numerous and varied.  For booths which have not yet been filled in, the site predicts the likeliness of a sausage sizzle based on past elections.  This is probably your most important link on election day…

And that’s about it!  Don’t forget to vote, and make sure your friends vote, too – and for heaven’s sake, vote below the line.  Your vote is too important to leave to other people to decide.

If you have spotted a useful round up of tiny political parties that I haven’t included here, please let me know!  I’m aware that those linked above are largely as left-leaning as I am, which is mostly because those are the blogs that link to me or that Google offers me, despite my now extremely dubious search history.  (On the bright side, Googling so many political candidates has apparently made Facebook’s and Twitter’s algorithms start sending me recruiting ads for ASIO, which I find hilarious.  I’m pretty sure ASIO would not take me as a gift.)  (But then, that’s probably what I would be saying if I *was* working for ASIO, isn’t it…?)

The One and Only Cate Speaks Endorsed How to Vote Card!

So, we have reached the end of my explorations into the psyches of our various tiny political parties, and it is time to answer the all-important question: who should I vote for?

I must admit, I’m having a harder time with this than usual. In most previous elections, there has been at least one party or independent who I have been truly excited about. And this makes all the other parties more palatable – essentially, I still know, deep down, that I’m compromising, but I don’t actually have to admit it out loud because the person who is number one on my ticket is genuinely awesome.

This time… well, I’m excited by Chawla and Lee, but they aren’t actually on the ballot in my region, so I’m out of luck.

Beyond that… I like the Socialists, but they are a bit flaky (which is not unexpected, but there were a couple of elections where they were looking unexpectedly sane and I enjoyed that); I want to like Reason, but I’m not entirely sold on it; both the Greens and Labor are fine, but let’s face it, having just spent two weeks analysing all the minor parties it feels like a bit of cop-out if I then vote for one of the majors.   I mean, I will if that’s how it pans out, but it’s a bit depressing!

So I’m going to start at the bottom of the ticket, where things may be ugly, but at least they are clear, and work my way up from there. Who knows where this journey will end? (Truly – not me. I’m hoping that inspiration will strike in the course of writing this.)  I’ve divided parties into categories.  Much like Cyclones, you really want to avoid a Category 4 or 5, but a Category 2 or 3 is basically survivable.  (My metaphor breaks down at Category 1, unless you really, really like storms or are really not fully delighted by any of these political parties.  Hmm… maybe it’s not such a bad metaphor after all…)

Incidentally, I’m using the numbers and names appropriate to Northern Metropolitan Region.  Since we do, in fact, have representatives from every party except the Nationals, this is pretty easily adapted to your are.

Having said that… while this is approximately how I intend to vote (I invariably change my mind about *someone* between here and the ballot box), and I’m including it because I know some people find it useful, my true How to Vote card is simply this: Vote below the line, numbering at least five squares, but ideally all of them (there is much satisfaction to be had in putting terrible people at the bottom of your ticket).

Who you vote for is important, don’t get me wrong, and I ABSOLUTELY have opinions on that (you may have noticed this…).  But I truly believe that the best thing you can do as a citizen is inform yourself about who is on the ballot and vote for the things you care about.  Vote with your brain, vote with your heart, and don’t let anyone else decide where your vote should go – not your party, not Glenn Druery, and not me.

Continue reading