First entry on the road! Currently on the Eastern Seaboard!
Kevin Rudd resigned from Parliament last night.
“Why should I care, PIK? What does it mean? What will it change?!”
Firstly, there will be a By-election in the seat of Griffith, Queensland. A by-election is an out of term (Parliament is elected every 4 years) election for a single, or multiple electorates. Because we live in a Democracy and the institute of Parliament is a pretty important one, KRudd’s seat can’t be left vacant for 4 years. Just because one seat goes to an election doesn’t mean the whole state or country has to — unless you were the Gillard Government of 2010-2013(!)
By-elections are often non-events, they will happen very quietly and we’ll hear in a few weeks who replaces Kevin. The ALP are confident of holding the seat, which is likely. By-elections occur when an MP dies or retires; if electoral boundaries change, then that change usually affects the next election (informed well in advance), but never mid term.
Check out how the electoral boundaries of Griffith have changed!
The red is its current size, and the blue and green are its previous shapes. Electoral boundaries change according to population. I.e. if Griffith has 10,000 people who vote, then there is a big flood that sees 2,000 people leave — the the boundaries have to be redrawn to account for births, deaths, emigration and immigration, to keep it all as proportional as possible!
“Why isn’t the seat just given to the candidate who came second, PIK?”
That would be easier, logically. But it doesn’t account for the candidate who the ALP might want to put in the running for the seat, if it was given to say a Liberal National MP like Bill Glasson, who came second, then it doesn’t give John or Joan Smith (theoretical person) uwho was preselected by the ALP, a chance. So it is the ‘fairest’ way of determining a replacement, in theory.
In practice however, this isn’t necessarily the case — depends on how left wing you are. Karl Marx would probably argue the noble institution of Parliament has been corrupted by money. Not all candidates and parties have the same amount to campaign with. The ALP and LNP would be quite wealthy, compared the Greens, smaller parties and independents. Many of the smaller parties and Independents fund a majority of their campaign costs, with a cost per vote reimbursement by the Australian Electoral Commission. Running for Parliament is an expensive venture — it’s worth a thought next time you vote and you just toss your pamphlet on the round. Printer ink is more expensive than human blood.
So from a very left wing perspective, elections can be elitist, with the advantage being in how much money you have to campaign.
These people, if they choose/can afford to, will have to do it all again in Griffith:
Ha. Yeah, I might be online shopping as I blog. Multitasking.
Ladies, check out helloparry. Seriously. Sandy has amazing taste!
Bob Carr, former Foreign Minister also resigned his seat, a Senate Seat for NSW ( they only go by electorates in the HoR, in the Senate, all States have 6 Senators and 2 from each Territory, so you just say “Senator for NSW/WA” etc.) if you would like to know how Senate Vacancies work, give this a read:
Senators don’t go to by-elections, they simply get a member of the same party to ‘stand in’ for them for the remainder of the term. It’s tricky. Ask the Constitution. Haha!
How will KRudd be remembered?
That will vary, but at the end of the day, he was a Prime Minister of Australia who was elected with great enthusiasm but the Australian people in 2007. The various leadership ‘spills’ between 2010 and 2013 have clouded, nearly tarnished his (almost) term as PM. He did some good stuff like ratify the Kyoto Protocol (to reduce Australia’s emissions), started the NBN, and the apology to the Stolen Generation. Opinions vary on the Mining Tax, Internet filters and his approach to border security.
As an International Relations student, KRudd had good vision for Australia. He was keen to see Australia more involved economically, diplomatically and culturally with Asia, he saw a big role for forums like APEC, ASEAN and the East Asia Summit. He helped Australia get our seat on the Security Council and has made some interesting commentary on a nuclear future for Australia.
His vision distinguished him, and his party ‘killed’ him, in your author’s humble opinion!
He will be remembered, but not as he would have liked.
Is this significant, PIK?
Yes, because MPs don’t often resign after winning their seat back. But ultimately, this is just the wheel of Democracy turning. You leave, you get replaced, it’s just the nature of the beast.
It’s the end, hopefully, of all ALP infighting. No instigators are left. Australia will still remember this for a long time to come, it will eclipse the Primeministerships of Rudd and Gillard in our history. I hope the lesson is learnt from both sides and that some younger, newer Politicians cut their teeth this term. I’m looking forward to seeing how people get excited/angry/ vocal about Prime Minister Abbott and the 44th Parliament of Australia. Will be sad to see Quentin Bryce (Our Governor General) go when her term is up in March, just quietly.
As ever, I remain your well shod political optimist…..
…….and a bit of a (read: huge) Doctor Who fan(!)
I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing!