Sometimes, I feel a bit sad for the National Party of Australia. As the smaller half of the Coalition – the country cousin, you might say – they do seem to get the short end of the stick in Government with the Liberal Party. While lip-service is paid by the Coalition to the needs of rural and regional Australians, it seems, at least to me, that the Nationals don’t tend to see many of their policies put into practice. I’m not entirely sure what is in this Coalition for them – but perhaps even minor influence is better than no influence at all?
As the Nationals are fairly well-known to the Australian public, I’ll keep this post short and sweet, and just focus on the policies they’ve highlighted for the coming election. I’ve talked about the Coalition’s preferences on my Liberal Party write-up, so rather than go through the same tickets again, I’ll simply note that yes, they really did put the Greens last, after Labor, and that the Coalition has tended to preference the religious right, the Shooters and Fishers, and the Country Alliance high on their ballot paper.
The Nationals’ Victorian website simply has the slogan “For Regional Victoria”, and the main thing you see on arrival is an invitation to join the party “If you’re passionate about the future of regional Victoria”.
Scrolling down, there are how to vote cards and information about the team, a link to ‘OUr Plan for a Better Victoria”, and then “Our Stories”, which appears to be the four major policy platforms for this election. And there is a bit ‘Get Involved’ banner, soliciting for members, volunteers and donations. I have to say, this banner makes me feel sad again – such eagerness for people to *care* is a hallmark of the smaller parties – and the Nationals seem to be falling back into that category.
Yes indeed, it’s time for the Liberal Party / National Party Coalition. I’m going to state two things up-front here. First, I don’t much like this lot, and I particularly dislike Tony Abbott, and am discinlined to believe anything he says. He reminds me too much of Howard. Secondly, the Coalition is not going to get the same in-depth analysis that the smaller parties got. This is partly because most people in Australia know exactly who the Coalition parties are and what they stand for, and partly because I still can’t get the Liberal site to load in any reasonable fashion and when it does, it slows down my whole computer to a dreadful degree (either at home or at work when I tried to do this in my lunchbreak). And I can’t get the policy PDFs to download at all. The National Party pages, on the other hand, do load, and they have all their policies in one downloadable PDF.
So I’m sorry, Liberal Party of Australia. Much as I don’t like to do this, I’m going to have to base all my Coalition policy notions on what the Nationals say in their statement, because after 48 hours of trying, I have been unable to access a single policy from your website… though, strangely, accessing press statements about how incompetent Labor is has been fairly easy. I will leave analysis of this to the reader. If you want more information on Coalition and, for that matter, Labor policies and politicking, I can strongly recommend The Conscience Vote, a blog that covers all the election stuff that I’m really bad at, so well worth looking at.
As is traditional, we’re going to start with Senate Preferences. And the Liberals give theirs straight to Family First and the DLP, followed by the Christian Democratic Party and the Shooters and Fishers. Which appalls me, actually – I knew that the Coalition had moved ridiculously to the right but this is worse than I had imagined. The Greens precede Labour just after the halfway point on the ticket, and the CEC and One Nation are last of all. Sorry, I just have to pause for a moment to assimilate the fact that one of our major parties put the DLP, the CDP and the Shooters and Fishers in their top 16. My God.