Voting for Kevin Rudd makes me sick, but here’s why I’ll do it anyway

On the weekend, I shivered in the rain with a thousand other Melbournians to protest Kevin Rudd’s new plan to dump refugees boat-bound for Australia onto Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea is still struggling to fight the consequences of colonialism; corruption and poverty have created conditions in which minorities have to face ongoing violence and hardship; its own government is struggling to prosecute people who torture women for witchcraft. The Australian government’s own travel advisory website cautions Australians that sexual assaults, including gang rapes targeting foreigners, can occur.

And so on election day, I shall be one of many who have Rudd’s moral betrayal in mind while their hand prepares to stab a first preference indication on their ballot paper. In my case, that 1 will be for the Greens — a vote executed, this time, with slightly more force than that with which Van Helsing stakes Dracula in a Hammer Horror movie.

Bizarrely, the Greens refugee policies are currently the most traditionally conservative of those on offer from the major parties in this election. They demand Australia simply accord to the UN refugee convention this country signed in 1951; to end offshore processing, meet humanitarian obligations and provide sanctuary to those fleeing persecution. Their policies seek to obey the rule of international law, and are founded on notions of family integrity and community inclusion.

Alternatively, the Rudd government’s radical, sudden, forced resettlement of vulnerable people has made me so angry I shall additionally preference the Australian Magical Moonbeam party, The Coalition for People Who Look Like Cats or the Australians For Putting Melons in Their Pants party — if their refugee policies are at all critical of Labor’s own. Such are both the promptings of my conscience, and the moral luxury of preferential voting.

But the curse of any voting system is that no matter who you vote for, someone has to get elected. And voting Greens hoping that their leader Christine Milne will be prime minister is comparable to convincing yourself that you’ve meaningfully moved on from a terrible high-school boyfriend because you’ve scribbled I HEART JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE!!! onto your maths textbook — via

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