Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Higgins by-election: Strap yourself in and go for the ride

With all the political turmoil lately here in Australia, I almost missed this pearler of a story that is unfolding over the next few days. The inner-city Melbourne seat of Higgins (held by former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello since 1990) is going to the polls this saturday, and what a line-up of contenders they have!

The most brain-explodingly wierd of them is Clive Hamilton, the Green's candidate. This is a guy who recently went on record stating that climate deniers are worse than holocaust deniers because "only" 6 million people died in the holocaust and holocaust deniers didn't actually kill anyone personally. (As opposed to climate deniers, who presumably take breaks from clubbing baby seals to go and bludgeon grandmothers in third world nations, or something.)

Amost incidental to that show-stopper is that he is an advocate for internet filtering / censorship, thinks totalitarianism is an appropriate response to the fact that we are all going to die of climate by friday and that we should live ascetic lives of denial. Or else.

What I can't work out is why the Greens would plonk this guy down in an electorate that comprises:

1. The biggest Jewish community in Melbourne.
2. The biggest gay community in Melbourne.
3. And the wealthiest per capita demographic in Melbourne.

The mind just boggles.

Many years ago I lived in this neighbourhood - well, actually just down the road from there, in the heart of Jewish East St. Kilda. My downstairs neighbours were an older, HIV positive gay male couple who were very outspoken advocates for their lifestyle (and good fun to have a cuppa with). One day they had the sh*ts about something the former Prime Minister John Howard had done, I think it was something to do with same-sex marriages, and hung an enormous banner off of their front fence that read "John Howard = Nazi".

Later that day I was passing by and discovered an elderly Jewish lady with numbers tattooed on her wrist having an argument with them about their banner, she was very respectfully, politely and yet FIRMLY explaining to them that they had to take down the banner. She explained with quiet dignity that "the Nazis were a specific group of people who did some very horrible things to me and my family" and that she understood the gist of what they were trying to say, but that it was not appropriate to compare anyone with the Nazis. Ever. They existed in a place and time, and to compare anybody to them was to trivialise that specific story. I always remembered this, and if there is one thing I have learnt about Judaism, it is that almost nothing is worse than the Shoah. Don't even go there. Especially to draw a parallel with something that has not, and probably will not, ever happen. The Shoah happened, already. Anthropogenic global warming, we're not so sure.

Those old Yiddish ladies have talons of steel when it comes to giving a loaf of bread an exploratory squeeze, I hope they use that coordination to take a dreidl to the side of Clive Hamilton's head. Failing that, maybe one of the "doctor's wives" of the richie set could take him out in a Toorak Tractor.

If you thought this post was getting too maudlin, then fear not, because Higgins has the liveliest list of potential candidates I've seen in awhile, and Yes! Theres a doctor!

Everyone, meet Joseph Toscano, medical doctor and anarchist who is running as an independent. (Well, duh). Although never having enrolled to vote, Dr. Toscano can still run due to a legislative loop hole. Given that he has previously run with a platform of "Vote informal / don't vote", I'm not sure how he plans to win, or what he would do if he did.

If that wasn't enough, we also have Fiona Patten running for the Australian Sex Party, who has been described as a "pole-dancing lawyer" and want's to kick the backside of the religious right. Not that it even matters, because as Mr. Paua pointed out when he wandered past a minute ago, he'd vote for them just for the name. Mind you, Mr. Paua is the type of guy who when filling out forms, writes "Yes, Please" in the line after "Sex".

And just to round out the ticket, there is also Stephen Murphy, computer programmer, polyglot and climate sceptic. He is affiliated with the climate sceptic party, but since they aren't actually a party yet, he is running as an "independent climate sceptic".

Then theres the Liberal candidate for Higgins. (Meh. Boring.) A bunch of other add ons, and no Labour candidate.

Stay tuned, this might get interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be moderated, so don't worry if they don't show up immediately. All comments (and offers of funding from Big Pharma or it's cousin Big Oil) are appreciated. Nigerian banks need not apply.