Googling the Australian Federal Election
September 16, 2007 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Google launches a site dedicated to the upcoming Australian Federal Election with Youtube channels from each party, electoral boundaries integrated into Google Maps, a search engine to allow you to view what each candidate has said on a range of issues, from immigration to interest rates, news from your electorate, and graphs of media activity on candidates and issues. Australians have been lacking a comprehensive political resource like the UK's The Work For You, and Google has brought it one step closer. Unfortunately, many of the resources are in the form of gadgets you add to your iGoogle homepage, rather than standalone applications.
posted by Jimbob (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:59 PM on September 16, 2007

Being in Elmer Rudd's electorate, I've already had a gutful of the policies, propaganda, and generalised crap of this not-yet-campaign - not to mention several years of that idiot trying to ingratiate himself with his electorate by trying to hype non-issues into issues. I mean, I hope the doofus wins - if only so we can get away from the incumbent's tactics of putting fear into the "aspirational"* class - but I won't be helping him get the job.

(* This little aspirational - who had his job sold out from underneath him, and now finds himself being actively hindered in his attempts to further educate himself - will be voting for the mob who a) puts the least crap in his letterbox, and b) isn't actually crazy**. Which means I'll probably end up voting Communist or something...)

(** I mean, I'd like to vote for the guy who thinks we're headed for armageddon, as evidenced by barcodes and RFIDs as the Mark of the Beast (and his poorly photoshopped pictures of IC's implanted on a cat's forehead), but the best I can do is put him ahead of the Liberal party...)

posted by Pinback at 8:19 PM on September 16, 2007

I am going to be *so* glad to see the back of John Howard. There is no invective strong enough to convey my contempt for him and his gang of thugs, pricks and idiots.

Unfortunately, it looks to me like Rudd is pretty much Howard Lite.

My primary votes will all be going toward the only team in the race that is not absolutely, totally and *obviously* full of shit. Rudd & co can have sloppy seconds.
posted by flabdablet at 8:29 PM on September 16, 2007

Yeah I've seen the view expressed that we all need to vote Labor in because Rudd's "Howard-lite" tactics are just that... a tactic...and once they're elected Australia will be instantly converted to a liberal socialist paradise where workers hold hands and dance down the street beneath the shade of still-standing old growth forests.

I don't believe it for a second, although I do sincerely hope Peter Garrett grows some bollocks if he makes it to Environment Minister.

So you're left with holding your nose and voting for the lesser of two evils. I have always supported The Greens, but now that I live in the Northern Territory, where we only get two senators, even that seems pretty futile.

The ideological differences between Labor and Liberal can still come through, though. We've received pamphlets in our letterbox from the current CLP member, and the Labor candidate.

To paraphrase the Liberal pamphlet: Isn't is so wonderful how John Howard has made your house price increase so much? Don't you feel so much wealthier now?

The Labor pamphlet: Rents in Darwin are increasing at 15 to 20% a year, and we want to do something about it.

Being a renter, not an owner, the later pamphlet stole my little heart.
posted by Jimbob at 8:38 PM on September 16, 2007

I came here to comment on the link, but as I suspected, it's a none-too-clever disguise to have yet another I Hate John Howard circle jerk.

As you were, gents.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:17 PM on September 16, 2007

posted by Jimbob at 9:29 PM on September 16, 2007

You do realise, uncanny, that there was nothing in my original post about Hating John Howard, and that it's generally a rule around here that posters shouldn't try to moderate their threads, right?

And you do see that, in fact, all the comments are pretty down on ol' Rudd as well?

Oh well, looks like you missed your opportunity to get the post back on track in any case.
posted by Jimbob at 9:32 PM on September 16, 2007

Now the time to redeem this shoddy merkin, this threadbare pubic rug of an excuse for Howard hating is past, might I mention my utter contempt for and loathing of John Winston and his axis of weevils?
posted by Wolof at 9:40 PM on September 16, 2007

Your first reply was the correct one, Jimbob. Do not feed the trolls.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:42 PM on September 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Google Election is all well and good, but does it show you Kath & Kim's take on Workchoices? Or the (previously linked to by yours truly) McLeod's Daughters video on the same piece of terrible legislation? Does it link to the hilarious remixed 'Know Your Where You Stand' ad?

The answers (as near as I can tell) is no, so in that sense Google Election is probably far less useful than the standard Google search engine itself would probably find these things and Google Election would probably not.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:18 PM on September 16, 2007

* kisses uncanny hengeman sweetly *

One of the problems I see with Google's effort is...since when have Australian's given a shit about the opinions and statements of their local members?

Labor candidates are pretty well tied to their party's policies; they just get to pick and choose which ones they spruik to their local constituents based on relevance. The Liberal party has been tending towards the same attitude for the last decade or so.

They might as well replace the big drop-down list of candidates with Liberal / National / Labor / Greens / Democrats / Family First. We all know local members aren't allowed to have their own opinions on things. That's such an American idea.
posted by Jimbob at 10:37 PM on September 16, 2007

I hope you are not suggesting Nicole Cornes (who aspires to represent me in the Parliament) is not spectacularly full of ideas. She ran her own fairy shop, for Heaven's sake! She wrote a dippy little column in the Sunday Mail! If these are not qualifications for high office, I would like to know what are!
posted by Wolof at 11:10 PM on September 16, 2007

Rudd may be Howard-lite, but a Labor victory will be a huge shot in the arm for the Australian left, both inside and outside the ALP. And you know how satisfying it has been to see Howard looking scared these past few weeks? Imagine the precious treasure that will be his reaction on election day - and the LNP leadership feeding frenzy that will follow. Australian politics will maybe get a tiny bit better following an ALP win, but more importantly, the gang of vampires will be disgraced and humiliated, and Costello's greatest ambition and dearest dream will be made forever impossible, and it will be a great thing to witness.

And: good post. This seems oddly thoughtful of Google. They should add another channel, though, for the Business Council ads - "GONE OUT OF BUSINESS BECAUSE OF UNION BOSSES" etc.
posted by stammer at 11:16 PM on September 16, 2007

not to have an I Hate John Howard circlejerk but personally I'm hoping they call Bennelong for Maxine Mckew before they call the election as a whole for Labor on election night. A man can only dream...

* click's Wolof's link *...WTF they're running Graham Cornes' daughter? Fucking hell. Run Graham Cornes, maybe, that might pick up some votes down at the bay...but his daughter?
posted by Jimbob at 11:29 PM on September 16, 2007

There is a distinct lack of Anthony Green.

Cool post.

If Howard goes, who will the Left hate? Won't it leave a terrible hole for people's spite. There will no doubt be a good deal of soul searching amongst Brunswick's political graffiti artists.
posted by sien at 11:34 PM on September 16, 2007

They are scared. Look what just floated up from Joe Hockey: "OMGZORS! LOOK! DOLE BLUDGERS!"

A few days ago they spat out this bit of vileness: taking children away from drug addicts for the mere fact of drug addiction, without regard to the family living conditions, or the best interests of ... well, anyone, really.

I'm glad Howard has been too stubborn and proud to resign. It will make the humiliation of losing his own seat sting all the harder.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:36 PM on September 16, 2007

WTF they're running Graham Cornes' daughter?

That's his wife, mate.
posted by Wolof at 11:37 PM on September 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Okay, I quit.
posted by Jimbob at 11:43 PM on September 16, 2007

If Howard goes, who will the Left hate?

Howard. He will be the Whitlam of the Right.

Won't it leave a terrible hole for people's spite. There will no doubt be a good deal of soul searching amongst Brunswick's political graffiti artists.

Neither of these prospects strike me as a bad thing.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:45 PM on September 16, 2007

I haven't yet voted in an election that resulted in a change of government at any level. I'll believe it when I see it.

Also: my local Greens candidate runs "recreational pole dancing studios". If I wasn't already going to vote for her, that'd probably .. not make much difference, really.
posted by plant at 11:46 PM on September 16, 2007

If Howard goes, who will the Left hate?

More interestingly, if Howard goes, who will the Right love?

With every state and territory having a Labor government, and with a federal Labor government too, the "silent majority" of the conservatives would start to look a bit ridiculous... how are Andrew Bolt and Piers Ackerman and Alan Jones going to claim an agenda is being driven by a noisy shrill minority of Leftists?
posted by Jimbob at 11:48 PM on September 16, 2007

The Australian Right may fight immediately to defend Howard's image and avoid the mistake the ALP made by not distancing themselves from Paul Keating.

The Bolthead, Ackerman and the Parrot will be in Heaven. Now everything that goes wrong can be blamed on the Left. Their audience will probably grow substantially. Their position has some similarities to that of a Brunswick graffiti artist while Kennet and Howard were in power.

Hating can be more energizing in politics. Just look at how the US left is energized by Bush bashing.

Winning the Australian election could be a bit of a poisoned chalice. Andrew Charlton had an interesting opinion piece where he pointed out that the upcoming US recession may affect Australia, and an incoming ALP government might wind up copping the blame.
posted by sien at 12:09 AM on September 17, 2007

Good points!

So if your side is in power, you can claim the mandate of the majority, and deride all alternatives as extremists and noisy "minorities".

But if your side isn't in power, you instantly gain the ability to blame all problems on the government.

I like it.
posted by Jimbob at 12:18 AM on September 17, 2007

Rudd may well be Howard Lite, but that's the joy of instant runoff voting, isn't it? You can vote 1 your local loony pinko, without stressing that you've wasted a vote. The big question is who you put last.

I've left my choice for last as an exercise for the reader*.

* Actually, don't you hate it when you get some nutbag in your seat who's actually worse than the libs? It really ruins my day.
posted by pompomtom at 1:34 AM on September 17, 2007

Jimbob: More interestingly, if Howard goes, who will the Right love?

They would love the most senior Liberal left standing in the country; Brisbane mayor Campbell Newman.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:28 AM on September 17, 2007

don't you hate it when you get some nutbag in your seat who's actually worse than the libs?

Isn't there always a nutbag who's worse than the libs, though? I enjoy putting One Nation / National Action / Family First / Citizens Electoral Council last. Particularly in the senate. My wife is more pragmatic, and always puts Liberal last, and thinks I'm stupid for being creative.
posted by Jimbob at 5:30 AM on September 17, 2007

I think this is a good occasion to look at the finger instead of commenting on the moon it's pointing at.

Shouldn't the newsmedia be doing this? With this kind of sites, Google is eating their lunch. After sites like ate their breakfast. There is no reason why Google couldn't be giving this coverage to the elections in other nations too (Not China, though, but this is another story), thus making the news organisations obsolete in yet another field, as craigslist made them in personal ads, as yahoo! and schwab made them in financial news.

Sure, some news organisations will be responsive, and manage to base their analyses and news stories on this type of Google resources... and even then they will be competing with the bloggers and the news aggregators. But don't count on it: the New York Times has just announced, which is like circa 1997, minus the attempt to become useful via search.

Meanwhile, Murdoch wants to buy the WSJ. Short-term, it's not a bad brand, and it may have some nice profit in it. Synergy. Prestige. In the longer term, he can pin that brooch on his suit's lapel, when they lower him down in a pine box.
posted by kandinski at 7:07 AM on September 17, 2007

posted by Effigy2000 at 1:06 PM on September 17, 2007

As an aside, can anyone tell me why the Australia Labor Party spells "labor" without the "u"? As an American who recently moved who is trying to get my s's and u's in the proper place, it irks me.

No Aussie I've talked to knows the answer...
posted by philoye at 5:28 PM on October 14, 2007

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