Interesting to look at what the BBC’s man covering the Australian elections has to say about the themes of the election campaign.
“If you’re interested, here are the some possible themes to have emerged this time round.
• The obvious importance of green issues, and their impact, crucially, as vote-shifters. John Howard’s salutary policy announcement during the televised debate focussed on climate change. The all-important seat of Wentworth has almost become a referendum on green issues.
• Housing affordability. Targeting first-time buyers and possibly the parents who are still providing a roof over their heads, Kevin Rudd kicked off his campaign on this very issue.
• Broadband speed is looming larger as a political issue (which is not surprising in Australia, the land of the sluggish internet connection).
• Ditto the availability of hi-tech teaching materials to schoolchildren, like lap-tops (or the “tool box of the future”, as Kevin Rudd calls it).
• Water shortages have featured, but, in this drought-ridden country, not as much as you might have thought.
• This election has been less about big ideas than managerialism: essentially, who is most capable of running the economy, and, arguably, finding practical solutions to meet the challenge of climate change.
• Does Kevin Rudd’s fluency in Mandarin herald the day much later in this century, or perhaps the next, when it’s a much more common diplomatic language?
• This is not Australia’s first internet election but it is its first YouTube election. Is the reason we are seeing politicians ambushed so frequently now because within a few minutes the material can be uploaded onto the web? Political performance art is here to stay.
I am sure there are others, but I had better go. I missed the debate the other day between Treasurer Peter Costello and Labor’s deputy leader Julia Gillard, and I’m hoping to catch the re-run. Honest.”