How good is it to wake up in a better Australia!? How great to see our democracy working so well. How fabulous to have decency restored.
On Saturday 21 May Australians demanded climate action. Australians demanded action on the Uluru Statement of the Heart. Australians demanded integrity in politics. Australians demanded an emphatic rejection of bigotry and transphobia. Australians demanded, and got, a decent, honest, values- and commitment-driven prime minister.
Australians demanded an end to the fuelling of division and hatred that has kept the coalition in power for a decade. We demanded, and got, the promise of decent bipartisan collaboration over power-hungry amoral politicking.
Australians demanded, and got, more women in power. And it was largely women who achieved all of the above. Inspiring women who’ve practically redefined politics in this country and who heroically despatched the stale old men who were doing so much damage on so many fronts.
On Saturday 21 May, Australians demanded, and got, a routing of the right-wing drift of the coalition begun by Howard, inflamed by Abbott and taken to Trump-esque by Morrison. Australians demanded, and got, an end to the two-party stranglehold that took the people for granted.
And Australians showed they wouldn’t be slave to the immoral Murdoch press, nor to the billions of a delusional Clive Palmer.
I would love to be generous in victory but let’s not forget just how bad a Prime Minister Scott Morrison was.
This was a prime minister who claimed credit for Australia’s performance in the pandemic despite this being achieved mostly by state premiers in direct conflict with him. Gladys and Andrews implemented successful policy despite Morrison, not because of him. He was a prime minister who did well with JobKeeper, but couldn’t resist poisoning the offering with a spiteful and ideological exclusion of the arts and universities. This was a man who diminished Australia’s reputation internationally by his treatment of refugees and his rejection of climate action. This was a prime minister who diminished Australian national security in our region and the world by inflaming tensions locally, losing support in the Pacific, and alienating allies such as France through his lack of principle and his dishonesty.
This was a prime minister who would divide his country to entrench his power. Who would happily foster hatred to entrench his privilege.
This is a man who hand-picked a rabid transphobic zealot to inflame the worst kind of bigotry, hoping that the resulting hatred would entrench his power.
Perversely, this is a man who claims to be associated with god. If we ever needed an argument against religion as espoused by the righteous, the judgemental and the intolerant, Scott Morrison was it. No one is more immoral than an immoral person who believes they have god on their side.
But despite a decade of power, despite a billion dollar media empire on his side, despite a climate of international uncertainty and conflict, on Saturday 21 May, Australians turned away from fear, xenophobia and bigotry and embraced hope, decency, honour, fairness, tolerance and integrity.
Closer to home, voters turned towards local legend Mandy but, alas, not quite strongly enough. What a tonic Mandy is and what a heroic effort she put in.
Of course there is much to do to usher in the fair, tolerant, caring, exciting Australia we all want to live in.
Still, how good to wake up in this new country, this amazing democracy, this vastly brighter and more hopeful future.