Last one to turn purple wins

The Hobart Mercury, 23 August 2010

Apart from the obvious bonanza for the Australian satire community, the glass half-full view is that a hung parliament will in some way lead to an improvement in democracy. While a bloody good kick in the pants may well get both major parties to stop picking their noses in public (though a restoration of majority will immediately restore bad habits), anyone who thinks the independents aren’t going to get what they can get while the getting is good is displaying a level of optimism commensurate with deciding the glass is made of diamonds and brimming with the Elixir of Eternal Youth*.

Having seen it all unfold after the Tasmanian election, I am happy to inform you that while you will be hearing quite a lot about the national interest, the only motive you can safely rely on is self interest and any resulting democracy is merely an inadvertent byproduct.

After the Tasmanian election, both major parties swore blind that they would not be doing any deals with the balance-of-power-holding Greens and the only surprise was when it turned out that Liberal leader Will Hodgman actually meant it, presumably in the hopes that he would get to be premier no strings attached because otherwise he was going to hold his breath until he went purple in the face and fell over.

The incumbent ALP Premier David Bartlett took the more pragmatic approach of realising that the hung parliament result meant that nobody believed a word any politician was saying anyway and cut a deal with the Greens all the while insisting that he wasn’t cutting a deal with the Greens in order to avoid confusing the public by acknowledging a self-evident truth and giving everyone some sort of false expectation that a hung parliament was going to lead to a sudden outbreak of honesty.

So if you’re holding your breath waiting for behaviour to improve, don’t, because this is going to take a while. You might as well just enjoy the theatre (you’re paying for it after all) and keep in mind Will’s hard-earned lesson that nobody cares if you turn purple and fall over anyway.

*Note, this may well be on Bob Katter’s list of demands.

Posted in political cartoons, The Mercury, Election Cartoons.

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