I watched hour after hour of the election night coverage on Saturday night, eager to see what my fellow Australians would do. Whether the Liberal government of the past 11 years would be returned, or whether Australians would vote for change.
They voted for change, with a huge swing away from the sitting government.
We now have a new Labor government. It just goes to show, you can beat the drum on money and the economy all you want, but you cannot forget a strong social agenda. Record low unemployment and a strong economy (partly due to the current mining and resources boom) is not enough if people think their rights are not being respected, if schools and hospitals are being underfunded, if the disadvanteged are not being given a voice, and if long term issues like climate change or not being addressed.
It seems to me it was as much an anti-Liberal vote as anything else. Especially given the fact that John Howard appears to also be only the second Prime Minister ever to also lose his position as the local member for his own electorate. It will be close, and postal votes need to still be finalised, but it seems like it's not just the party that has been given the thumbs down by Australia, but the man himself.