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Elections Down Under

Well, I can certainly say that political elections are pretty different down here than they are in the US. Of course there are many (often unwelcome) similarities, such as negative attack ads, but on the whole things are quite different.

Perhaps I should start a month or so ago. After making several decisions that seemed out of touch with the public (and probably more importantly, out of touch with a majority of the Labor Party), Kevin Rudd was essentially ousted by his own party from his role as Prime Minister. It was quite an interesting and sudden event, and a strange thing for Australia, particularly because the person who replaced him as leader of the Labor Party and as Australia’s PM is Julia Gillard, a woman. It was probably not how the country expected to get their first female PM.

Anyways, Julia Gillard realized she needed to call an election sometime soon so that people could have the chance to officially elect her as PM (or Tony Abbott, the opposition leader). Because the party in power has the privilege of setting an election whenever they see fit (as long as it’s within the term time limit), political campaigns are thankfully much shorter here than in the US. In addition to this, I believe that politicians here are limited to either 6 or 4 weeks of campaigning, so the whole thing happens really quickly.

I imagine that this means much less money is spent on campaigning, and also, the public does not have to listen to terrible attach ads for months and months in anticipation of an election, both of which seem good to me.

Anyways, I’m sharing all of this because Julia Gillard and Labor have called an election, to be held August 21. The one and only PM debate was last night (it was re-scheduled so that it wouldn’t conflict with the Grand Final of Master Chef Australia). I’ll have to post soon on climate change, and how it’s featuring in this current election. But, for now, it’s pretty neat to see that Australia might actually elect their first female PM ever. Although it may not seem like quite a big deal, I would say that on the whole, Australia is not as far along as the US in terms of gender equality. So, if Australia elects a female PM before the US elects a female president, that will certainly be something to talk about.

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