By Alyce Collett
Youth Journalism International
MELBOURNE, Australia – It’s almost Election Day here, and it’s been a very long campaign – eight weeks, to be precise. Now, Americans may think that two months is a short campaign, but it is long by Australian standards.
It is getting to the point in the campaign where the major parties are starting to talk less about their policy and are starting to attack each other more and more.
Before I begin, I would like to give a basic outline of the three biggest parties in Australia.
In Australia, we have two major parties (the Coalition and Labor) and a third party, the Greens, who aren’t as big as the other two, but are bigger than some of the much smaller parties that are vying for seats in this election.
The Greens have many policies based on improving the health of the environment, but a major difference between the Greens and the other two major parties is the Greens’ policy on asylum seekers.
While Labor and the Coalition both are in favour of offshore detention, the Greens are strongly opposed to it and want to shut down detention centers. In terms of policies and political beliefs, Labor can be compared to the Democrats in the United States, while the Coalition can be compared to the Republicans.
The Coalition is actually two parties, the Liberal Party and the National Party, who combine in parliament because they have similar political beliefs. The National Party draws from regional Australia while the Liberal Party members are more from the cities.
This election is unique because it is what’s called a double dissolution election. This means that unlike normal federal elections where all members of the lower house and half of the members of the upper house of the Australian Parliament go up for election, every member of each house of the Parliament goes up for election.
This was originally done by the current government to try to get rid of the members of the upper house who were members of smaller parties and were blocking pieces of legislation that the government was trying to pass through the Parliament. This plan may backfire as these members may get re-elected, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
The campaign has been going on for so long that many people are starting to get rather annoyed and bored with it. The Coalition and Labor both have a bad habit of employing irritating advertising campaigns on radio, TV and even through pre-recorded and live phone messages.
Some Australians have even started to question how Americans cope with an 18-month election season when they can’t even deal with a two-month campaign.
You may be asking, who’s likely to win? It’s hard to call at the moment. The polls are neck and neck, and so it won’t be easy to predict a winner before Saturday night, when all the votes are counted. The key for each of the major parties will be to pick up seats in the lower house from the other party.
When the election is over, we’ll learn what the results may mean for the future of Australia.
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