conversation going on in the library yesterday. I was prowling through some books in the stacks (yes, we still have some books) when I overheard two people talking politics.
They were being quiet but I recognised both voices. I also happen to know they are both staunch supporters of the current government. They belong to "the party", go to meetings etc. One of them once stood for pre-selection and was the losing candidate at the election which followed.
They were discussing the latest internal polling figures.
"We can still turn them around...."
They then went on to discuss local tactics and who would be doing what. None of it came as any surprise. I could not help hearing what was being said and I was not the only person listening. If they had wanted the conversation to be private then they should have been talking somewhere else. The weather was fine enough. They could have gone outside.
Despite crying poor the party still has money to play with for this election - and the added support of the union movement. We are already getting what amounts to election material in our letter boxes. The election is not until September 14th but the present government is using government funds to "inform" people about programmes and policies. It is electioneering of course - and all sides of politics do as much of it as they can get away with. Incumbency allows it.
They also intend to do what they did last time - send out material critical of the opposition candidates without actually stating it comes from them. (Yes, that is legal - just. All you need to do is state it comes from X person with an address - and do it in the smallest possible font.) It is all part of political game playing - and all sides will do it. Politics is not a nice game.
Eventually they got on to the topic of the present Prime Minister. She is not popular. The previous Prime Minister is currently more popular than she is. He was ousted on the grounds that he would not be able to win the previous election. At the time his approval rating was higher than hers is now. If popularity is the grounds for dumping a Prime Minister then yes, she should probably go. The media is, once again, claiming that there are demands for her to go - but saying that the party says she has to step aside and allow the previous one to take her place. He could. It would probably cause a lift in the polls - it might not win the election outright but the result would almost certainly be much closer.
The two having the conversation were well aware of this.
"We need to put him back in until after the election."
"Good move - although it wouldn't be popular."
It does matter. Australians do not vote for their Prime Minister although many of them still believe they do. They still vote according to the person they believe is going to lead the country.
The idea that you might return a man to the top job simply for the short term tactic of trying to win an election and then dump him just goes to show how very dirty the political game is.
They say we get the government we deserve - but does anyone deserve this?