Well, yesterday (Tuesday 7th September 2010) was an historic day, one you can tell your grandchildren about in years to come. After having a hung Parliament, a caretaker government for 17 days, at precisely 3.31pm, Australia has a Government.
On 21st August 2010, Australia went to the polls and the result was nothing short of a nightmare. With both major parties going neck and neck, and neither party having the required 76 seats to form government, the outcome was going to depend on which way the Greens candidate and four Independents would go.
The Greenie backed Labor as did Andrew Wilkie. The country watched, and waited to see which way the three stooges - Bob Katter, Tony Winslow and Rob Oakeshott - would go. After 17 days, that's right folks - 17 days! they gave their decision. Katter broke ranks about an hour earlier and said his vote would go to the Coalition. At 3.00PM Winslow gave a speech and said he was backing Labor, and then we had to listen to a 20 minute waffle from Oakeshott before he said "Labor". I mean, how long does it take to say I'm backing Labor? Methinks Mr. Oakeshott enjoys the limelight and he and the other two all like being big fish.
Tony Abbott, leader of the Opposition isn't best pleased - he so wanted to be our next PM. Why, even on election night, his speech sounded like a victory speech, but he, and his party are still in opposition. I'd not put it past him and his cronies to make things as difficult as possible for Our Julia and do all they can to cause a double dissolution thereby forcing an early election.
The Prime Minister has a difficult job ahead of her - she will have to be able to handle and pander to some big egos. Forming a minority government means treading very carefully, trying to appease the Greens and the Independent candidates.
Oakshott will face a backlash on returning to his electorate. A 74 year old retiree from Port Macquarie is seriously pissed off at what she says is a "betrayal" and said she'd never vote for Mr Oakeshott again. "He sold us out for 30 pieces of silver, what's wrong with remaining an independent? There are so many people up here who are really upset by what he has done."
What she, and others like her must remember is this - Rob Oakeshott is an Independent, and he formed and independent decision to give his vote to Labor and not the Coalition. He did what he thought was best in the interests of Australia. The retiree further went on to say "This is a conservative electorate, not Labor Party heartland" - in other words, they have money, it's not a community of struggling working class people living on a minimum wage. Although we have what we call "swinging" voters (sometimes they vote Labor, sometimes Liberal), basically those with money vote Liberal (Coalition), those who don't, vote Labor. Simple as that.
The Labor party is really going to have to work hard at making this government work, if they don't and we go back to the polls in 18 months, it'll be a very long time I think before they get re-elected again. They have to make it work - they need to make it work.
I don't envy Ms. Gillard her job - it certainly won't be an easy path to tread.
I should imagine Tony Abbott is no doubt rubbing his hands with glee hoping for a real battle between the gov, the greens and the independents and hoping they have a falling out.