On Tuesday September 7, 2010, seventeen days after the election on 21 August, Australia finally had a new government.
I was in India for the International Mathematical Congress in Hyderabad (and before that a satellite meeting in Pondicherry followed by the General Assembly of the IMU in Bangalore) and had voted early before I left Australia on 07 August. On the night of 21 August, I was frantically trying to check the ABC Elections website, face book, twitter, … anything to get some news of the election results. I had gotten too used to being able to get fairly definitive results by midnight on election day in Australia. Little did I know it would take another 17 days!
What a tumultous period of time it turned out to be. The media were running around chasing any small, faint scent trails it could. The independents, Katter, Oakeshott, Wilkie, Windsor, turned out to be wonderful. They truly were speaking from the heart and working for the issues they held dear to the heart, rather than relying on spin as our major parties had come to do. I only wish I had had the occasion to meet them to let them know more about the downtrodden, bedraggled state of mathematics education we had come to in our country.
Australia now has a minority government composed of the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Greens, and three independents (Oakeshott, Wilkie, Windsor). Many parliamentary processes, including question time, have been changed. Voting pairs have been introduced in the House of Representatives. I am looking forward to a term of goverment with truly engaged members of parliament who are persuasive deep thinkers, who will champion and speak up about major issues. Ok, I’m probably dreaming!