That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

Didn’t win? You need a coalition

She can’t be happy. But Australia’s Julia Gillard is able to concede something that Harper never would.

“It is clear that neither party has earned the right to government in its own right.”

Interestingly, the Globe didn’t include this phrase from Australian PM Julia Gillard in her post-election speech, though the BBC did. Political cultural chasms reflected in journalism?

It seems a minor point, perhaps, but this immediate concession from Gillard is quite telling. It seems that, in Australia, we have a country where the uncontroversial reaction after the election of a hung parliament is to concede that a plurality is not the same as “winning.” Effectively, everyone’s a loser. The UK’s David Cameron agrees with this, though Harper refuses to recognise his rightful place in their company.

Britain is governed by coalition. Israel is. We see coalitions in Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand – and overall, 10 of the world’s 16 Triple-A economies are run by coalitions.

When will Canada give up the fear and accept that government should represent a majority of the public? Even if that majority has to be achieved through bi- or even tri-partisan government? It’s too early to tell what kind of government Australia’s going to get – but to approach coalition as the first and the fairest of options is something to envy.

Political parties are not cults, not clans, not agents so righteous that any formal cooperation between them should be regarded is impure and immoral, if not illegal. For any one party to advocate such a view ought to be a clear signal of their failure to understand what the purpose of public representation really is.

Australia has its faults – but a country that can entertain full independence from Britain, as well as forging coalition government, has a leg up on Canada in some important regards.


Filed under: International, Politics, , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. I found your blog via a link on another blog (can’t recall which – someone on Progressive Bloggers). I quite like what you’re writing. I’m Canadian but so turned off by Canadian politics these days. It’s so depressing. However, i’m completely enthralled by the UK Coalition government, so probably read more UK media sources now than i do Canadian ones.

    • polygonic says:

      Thanks – Agreed, this isn’t Canada’s finest hour politically!

      I think that the UK’s coalition has been a great tool to contrast British and Canadian political cultures. It highlights some real differences in how our media outlets work, in how people engage in their politics, and what kind of language parties can get away with.

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August 2010
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