Fortunately I was out of the country for the first week of the of the Election campaign. A blessing from two aspects.
Firstly, the sense of perspective: Australia doesn’t really rate in the rest of the world and the sense of our importance pales into insignificance with regards to world affairs. Have a look at the news channels and read some of the foreign papers and Australia vanishes from the information stream. Be thankful that Australian Network TV is attempting to raise our profile internationally.
Secondly, I was spared a week of misogyny, xenophobia, political opportunism, populism, misrepresentation, trivial distraction from the key issues and basically, bulls**t.
It was therefore with some trepidation that I challenged my opinion by viewing the political debate. So much for my optimism that we would actually see a real debate, and that the journalist panel would actually ask meaningful, relevant, probing questions and would hold both Gillard and Abbott to account. What a stage managed farce. Mr Abbot’s snide comment about families (ie he had one and Ms Gillard didn’t) directed at the Prime Minister set the tone for the next hour. What a waste of time. I applaud whoever decided that there would only be one of these as I certainly wouldn’t be watching any more.
Having ascertained that the rest of the pre-election period was going to be as painful, and largely unavoidable, I sought my usual relief in the ABC’s Wednesday night program suite of The Inventors, Spicks and Specks and the Gruen Transfer. The first two where, as usual, enjoyable, enlightening and fun. The Gruen Transfer, morphed into Gruen Nation for the election period, made it all seem worthwhile. Hilariously topical it placed this election exactly where it deserved to be, as something to be pilloried and joked about. It dissected with humour the crassness of both parties campaigns. It turned a joke of an election into some real humour. The two ads produced by contestants challenged to provide some defining advertisements for Gillard and Abbott are probably the only ads with real relevance that we will see during this campaign. Mr Hewson’s comment that signing slogans was basically “bulls**t” was an hilarious moment, and the recording of the debate between Mr Hewson and Mr Keating demonstrated what a “debate” actually was.
All in all fabulous fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the Gruen Nation. Yes We Canberra clinched the deal making Wednesday nights on ABC a viewing must for the rest of the campaign. All other material related to the election will be ignored or avoided wherever possible.