It is not a protest vote

Warning: rant ahead. 

I am a voter in the electorate of Higgins. Higgins, a (possibly formerly) safe Liberal seat, in previous terms boasting most recently an Assistant Treasurer (Kelly O’Dwyer) and formerly a Treasurer who would never be PM (Peter Costello).

In a shocking development for the LNP, Higgins has been polling strongly for the Greens. Obviously worried, the LNP have been bombarding the electorate. I have received, in the last week, letters from the state representative, Ms O’Dwyer and now Peter Costello.


I’m not really thrilled to be contacted by a former member (by 7 years, the better part of a decade, though Greg tells me that it is legal). However really got my goat in this letter was suggesting that not voting for the Liberals was a “protest vote”.

Let me make this clear for my member and for the Liberal Party, and any other party talking about “protest votes”: anyone in this electorate, or any other, choosing to vote for whoever they feel best represents their view is not casting a protest vote.

They are highly dissatisfied with (undifferentiated) two-party politics.

They are mortified by state-sanctioned cruelty.

They are unhappy that businesses, often overseas enterprises, are being represented before they are.

They are dissatisfied with their representatives appealing to the lowest common denominator and the rise of anti-intellectualism.

They have had it with elected officials outright lying and abusing their privileges at the cost to every Australian, with no one willing to take on a corrupt entitlement system that ultimately benefits them.

They are sick of having money wasted on non-issues, like a plebiscite on who consenting adults can marry, which the government will not regard as binding.

They are disgusted that money keeps being stripped from services that ensure safety, health and wellbeing for everyone.

They are destroyed that politicians seem to think that economic survival can only come at the destruction of our unique, natural wonders and not in innovation.

Not voting for Labor or Liberal in this election is not a “protest vote“. It’s the death knell of the two-party preferred system, at the hands of a public who would like to actually be represented by people who aren’t ok with corruption and don’t want to take away everything that makes Australia great.

And talking down to your highly educated, highly literate electorate is not doing you any favours.

Cleverman: reflections on Australia

Containment, a new episode of Cleverman, dystopian indigenous superhero science fiction series premiered in Australia tonight. Ryan Griffen and the Cleverman team are certainly making sure that we will remember the show.

“But you have to decide who it is you want to be,”  Virgil (Lynette Curran) says to Latani (Rarriwuy Hick) and sets up the whole episode.

Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) has manifestations of his new powers, complete with disturbing visions of his partners and the woman in his head. Waruu (Rob Collins) has been screwed over once again by the people of the Zone, and his treading of the thin black is making no one happy, least of all himself. Deborah Mailman appears as Aunty Linda, and I hope her appearance won’t be as short as tonight’s exposition suggests.

There’s some very powerful messages to an Australian public, to the world, about dehumanisation. Strip a person of their identity, their name, their language, the markings of their people for a message. Make a race of person a whipping boy, punish them for being different, create an outsider. Refer to them as lesser forms of life: sub-human, monkey. See our country’s actions, both past and present, and find them displayed on the screen before you.

As Australians we don’t even need to look too deeply; this show is a reflective surface of our own record of the treatment of our indigenous peoples, of refugees. “People don’t give a sh*t. We’re not like them so they don’t care,” Harry says, and sums up White Australia’s monocular vision since arrival.

If Cleverman can keep this up, it is exactly the show I was hoping it would be, the show that was promised in the build-up to its release. The elaborate workings of science fiction shining a spotlight on the troubles and inequities of the world today.

Within the first two episodes, Cleverman has delivered compelling narrative, a diverse cast and reclaimed the Dreaming. Let the women lead more of the storytelling and this will be the best (not-so) speculative fiction this country has ever produced. If you aren’t all ready watching this show, you should start now.

Australian stories: a superhero rises in Cleverman

I’m chomping at the bit tonight to see the debut of the new Australian superhero, Cleverman.

On ABC2 we will get to not only get an Australian story, but one lovingly cultivated from Indigenous Australian stories, telling those stories with their own voices.

Well received at Sundance Film Festival, this new series premieres with a notable excitement in the speculative fiction community in Australia.

Creator Ryan Griffen talks about the creation of Cleverman for his son and in consultation with elders, asking permission to tell their stories.

Join me and other excited Australians watching on the ABC at 9:30 tonight!