Bleats

How To Deal When Your Political Side Loses And No It's Not Attacking People On The Socials

Hot tip: oh god, stay off Twitter.

So let’s just say that there’s been a large scale national vote of some kind, and the result is not what you expected or wanted. And you’re feeling sad and angry and terrified.

Here’s a really bad thing to do: go onto social media and, say, blame Queensland. Or old people. Or the less educated. Or respond to people smugly telling you that it’s your fault for living in a lefty bubble and that if you don’t like it you should move to New Zealand.

But what do you do instead? Glad you asked! Here’s some tips:

1. Do not go on Twitter.

2. Feel your feelings. Just feel the hell out of them. Look, they’re going to demand to be felt anyway so you may as well stop trying to outrun them.

3. Go for a walk. Somewhere nice in nature. Breathe in and get some of that ozone in your lungs. Maybe this time be a little mindful of avoiding walks near enticing cliffs and deep-water pools. Somewhere flat and landlocked, ideally.

4. Do not go on Twitter.

5. Friends are good. Express your feels to your similarly suffering buds. Then once those feels are expressed, be a bit quiet about them because your friends are not your mum and don’t have to put up with your complaints beyond a certain threshold. Speaking of which, Mum doesn’t want to hear you sob about how the terrible the future looks for the ABC either.

And speaking of friends…

6. Change your default privacy setting on Facebook to Friends Only. And also log out of there. There is nothing that will make you feel better. Honest to god, there is nothing there. NOTHING.

7. Also, do not go on Twitter.

8. Do not post on Instagram, and if you do have to spend time there do not look at anything that isn’t a picture of a cat. If that cat looks even slightly political, log out.

9. What do you have more of, time or money? Put some of it to something that will make a difference in whatever small way – donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre or join a political party or sign onto volunteering with the Climate Council or something similar. The macro stuff is out of your hands for the time being, so focus down on the achievable.

10. Oh hell, seriously, do NOT go on Twitter.

11. Be patient. In a few weeks time clear eyes and cool heads will look at what happened and have some answers which are not going to appear now, when everyone is either devastated and lashing out or provocatively smug and lashing out. You can make plans and action then.

12. Focus on something else for a bit. Say, that Game of Thrones show sounds popular, maybe you should watch tha… oh, really? What happened? Ah. OK, bad example.

13. Be nice to yourself. You’ve taken a beating. You’re going to need to heal for a bit. Or hell, take the rest of the week!

So, Who's Going To Take Up The Thankless Task Of Leading Labor Now?

Whoever's got the gig will have a hell of a slog ahead.

On paper the job of being the new leader of the Labor Party should be a joy. After years of in-fighting the party are united and focussed, it enjoyed a lower swing against it that its major rivals, the Coalition, and its been polling brilliantly for years!

Of course, the party did just lose the supposedly unlosable election, a full-court press of the party and the union movement for a fairer Australia was rejected by the voters over a government who barely unveiled a policy, and they’re in a worse electoral position than they were before the election.

Also, we’ve learned that Australian polling is garbage.

The party are gutshot and disillusioned. So, who wants to jump up and be the new boss?

ANTHONY ALBANESE

He’s recognisable, he’s got that Bob Hawke working class larrikin charm about him and a Keating-esque turn of phrase which would likely be given full flight in parliament.

And, significantly, he’s always been seen as Shorten’s rival and therefore has less of the stink of failure about him right now.

TANYA PLIBERSEK

Why? Long time Labor deputy leader, well liked in the electorate, articulate and capable and endorsed by both Shorten and Julia Gillard. That alone… look, it doesn’t feel like it would be a plus with the electorate right at this moment. Not least because you can easily imagine the other parties dusting off their old anti-Gillard memes and updating the names.

Also, not that you asked, but it’s worth noting that an Albanese/Plibersek leadership team isn’t going to happen: both are Labor Left and are in neighbouring inner-city NSW electorates. Labor’s leadership team traditionally splits on factional and geographical lines, and in recent years on gender lines too (Hence: Shorten right-faction from Melbourne, Plibersek left-faction from Sydney).

So who else is in the running?

CHRIS BOWEN

The current shadow treasurer is another party stalwart and… look, who’d recognise him in a police line up? Also, as the man behind so many of the policies which got the party thumped in the polls he’d have a target written on his face from the second he nominated.

TONY BURKE

He’s articulate, he’s outspoken, he’s quick with a quip and if you squint he looks a bit like Tony Slattery from Mad Men. He was another of Shorten’s key advisors, but he still has an anonymity about him which might mean he comes across as a cleanskin – but again, who’d recognise him?

JIM CHALMERS

He’s not well known, which might actually be a plus on the current environment, and he’s from Queensland – the state in which Labor need to dramatically improve their appeal. Then again, he’s also pretty new and while Rankin is a historically safe seat it’s gotten more marginal after this election.

PENNY WONG

Not possible, because she’s in the senate and since the government is formed in the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister has always been the leader of the party in the lower house. Fun fact: there’s no Constitutional reason that a PM can’t be in the senate, it’s just incredibly impractical.

Thus she’d realistically need to quit the senate and run for election in a lower seat electorate – presumably in a by election – and then there’s another issue: typically parties like their leaders to come from one of the big eastern states because there’s a perception that they have a local influence that can sway a bunch of seats. Wong is from SA, which has a mere ten electorates. Not. Happening.

Anyway, we think there’s only one realistic option:

THE GHOST OF BOB HAWKE

It’d be an unconventional choice, sure, but at least we know he’s loved by the public. Also, presumably he could physically campaign by just drifting into people’s houses, which would make for a hell of a ground game.

Things To Not Do With Your Election Ballot

Vote once, and vote right!

DON’T vote informal

Read the instructions – they’re very straightforward – and fill in all the boxes that you need to (all of the boxes on the green House of Representatives ballot, at least six boxes “above the line” in the white Senate ballot. Informal votes don’t count, and then you’ll have lined up for nothing. NOTHING.

DON’T donkey vote

That’s when you just go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc along the ballot. That’s childish. Grow the hell up. Those ballots actually get counted, you know.

DON’T try to “send a message” by writing stuff on the ballot paper

You might be tempted to show those fat cats in Canberra that you’re not their puppet, man, by drawing a dick on the paper or writing some impassioned screed, but you’d have a similar level of influence by yelling from a moving bus: all that will happen is that a very tired scrutineer will look at your ballot paper, go “ok, this is invalid” and put it aside.

No, they don’t forward on the best dicks to the Archibald judges or anything.

DON’T tell the staff that none of the parties represent you so you’re not casting a ballot

At the risk of making you feel less special than you clearly are, you’re not obliged to vote for the party that best captures your unique precious values: you’re obliged to vote for the parties of your choice from those available to you.

DON’T not vote

You’ll be fined, for one thing. But also, voting is important – and, with 151 electorates with many held on sub-two per cent margins, the chances of your vote making a difference is surprisingly high.

Whether you love or hate the government of the day, surely it’s worth making that point?

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