Thursday, June 26, 2008

Unexpected Labor country

We used to live in Beaumaris not far from our new place in Black Rock, a bayside suburb of Melbourne. I was a member of the Beaumaris ALP* in the Liberal* blue ribbon State seat of Sandringham and safe Goldstein Federal electorate. Those two things haven't changed but the good news is that Black Rock has Labor State Upper House members because of the multi-member Proportional Representation electoral system. Evan Thornley is a co-founder of Getup and a leading Fabian. John Lenders is the Victorian Government Treasurer.

Local political life will be different though. My last two ALP State lower house members are aboriginal women: Marion Scrymgour in the Northern Territory and Carol Martin in Western Australia. Seems to be a male affair around here.

*For non-Australian readers: The Australian Labor Party (ALP) is a Centre Left or social democratic party similar to the British Labour Party and in many ways to the US Democrats. Many observers would put these parties on the Centre Right. Traditional links to the labour movement are a common factor. The Liberal Party (LP) is a misnomer as it is closer to the British Conservatives or US Republicans. No one questions whether they are on the Right. For clarity Australians talk of small "l" liberals when referring to progressives. Here endeth the lesson. Might touch on the PR system another time as it has major implications for the Australian Senate.

It follows that the overwhelming majority of ALP members will be supporting Barack Obama. Just as George W. Bush publicly supported Liberal Prime Minister John Howard's unsuccessful bid for re-election last year.

I hope to interview ALP members about their perceptions of the US election. Volunteers are most welcome.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back Home in Melbourne

After 6 weeks and 9500 kms, we are back in Melbourne to live. Our new residence is in Black Rock, a bayside suburb, hence the new name. For 4 weeks we didn't watch any TV and only checked the email. We didn't miss much. Obama's candidacy was already a forgone conclusion. Australian ploitical media coverage is still dominated by sideshows such as Belinda Neal.

For lovers of the outback, a few photos and a video or two are in the pipeline.

Welcome to Bayside views.

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