I've never had such mixed feelings after a federal election. My whole adult voting life has been dominated by John Howard; this is the first election since I first put pen to ballot paper where the days after haven't been spent thinking "Oh, great. Another three years of this". But along with feelings of joy of finally seeing the back of Mr Howard, I've been feeling rather storm-tossed about the number of bitter Liberal voters who have already flooded talkback, online forums and feedback sections and letters to the editor with various predictions of skyrocketing interest rates, record unemployment and general doom - not to mention the personal slag-offs (just check out the right-wing nutbags commenting at news.com.au on an hourly basis; counting down the minutes until the inevitable Rudd-led Apocalypse).
I am very pleased to see a change of government. At the most basic, selfish end of things, it means a change of scene at work - with different politicians to question, different policies to contend with, different angles on stories. On a wider level, I want to see an Australia not quite so obsessed with personal financial gain as it currently is. Now this is not me yelling "Up the revolution and bring on the Great Socialist Experiment, Julia, you fiery-haired Marxist vixen!". On the contrary - I admire people who make money, who prove successful in their personal and business ventures, provide opportunities for others, and help build Australia's reputation as a land of innovators and hard workers.
But I don't want them to think they're superior human beings, and that's how I feel the Coalition government treated them. There are many reasons why I totally loathe some people (the ill-advised baby-name craze being number one), but our comparative wages is not one of them. There are some people who despite all the good intentions they might have, do not have the education, financial backing or support to make the big dollars. They are not any less valuable to our country than those running multi-million dollar businesses. At the end of the day, issues like peak oil, climate change and crime confront us all, and we'll need everybody pitching in to deal with them.
I can't quite express myself as elegantly as I'd like, so instead I'll point you in the direction of a couple of great articles that really sum up how I'm feeling at the end of our first week in the New Era:
"Why it's great to see him go" and "The party's over..."