Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why I Am Not A Journalist

I didn't always want to be a journalist.

Around the age of 21, I became aware of the fact that I preferred to be an observer - I didn't fit into any particular clique, as I was always on the outside, and always a 'loner' when it came to society.

I felt it best to view the world from afar, and so in terms of a career, I found the best niche that fitted my general psyche was journalism.

Now, here at 29, I am here writing to you today as to why I am not a journalist, despite multiple opportunities to launch my career in either print or radio.

I present well; I've been told I have a great speaking voice by several professional broadcasters.

I can write well; I've been told my writing is 'shit' but it is 'high class shit' by a senior lecturer.

At 23 after completing a Diploma of Communications & Media from TAFE (the Australian equivalent of community college) I entered the university system, and studied a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism.

Coming from a lower socio-economic background (I am pains to call it disadvantaged, as everyone essentially has the same advantage on merit), I counted my blessings in being able to get into the higher education system without a formal year 12 qualification.

I soon learned however that I did not exactly fit in; I was unable to relate to many of the middle to upper class 'children' at university, or understand their motives and suave, cultural leanings.

I wasn't exactly an outcast, but I soon discovered that my place and personal ambitions could not be at the same level of those who came from more grounded, gifted backgrounds.

This wasn't to say I couldn't keep up with the work, and to the contrary, I was staying ahead of the pace and making my own way academically, and at the very least, passing all of my exams.

However, to this day, three years after formally graduating, the Australian government is yet to reclaim any of the HECS money it invested into myself and my education.

The employer at my very first job interview, a home insulation company who needed someone to write blurbs for their webpage (or at least something along those lines) told me in no indirect terms that he did not know 'whose cock' I would have to suck in order to get a job with my university degree.

Three years or so of work and toil amounted to this let down at my very first job interview that I had travelled four hours to get to.

Of course, between graduating and this unfortunate interview, I did engage in several internships - one at a newspaper, the other at two radio stations; a local station and a big metropolitan broadcaster.

I found myself more at home interviewing people for radio news and editing their sound grabs accordingly - I grew very fond of it, and it was a game for me to see how fast I could coax what I needed out of someone, I was very efficient at it.

At the newspaper however, I found most of the people there to be spiteful, sour, bitter, and poisonous - the very environment was spirit-crushing, and while I enjoyed writing my few articles and interviewing people,  I did not see this as a sustainable career.

And indeed, on occasion I was there, a facsimile came through from Fairfax announcing that they were cutting several hundred editorial jobs nationwide.

"They can't sack me... I'm in the union!" muttered one junior journalist.

Well, that sealed its fate for me as a career path.

Given that most Australians have a reading comprehension level below that of a year 8 high school student, coupled with our general dumbing down of the culture, there was little point in trying to enter a career that was most likely doomed to inevitable redundancy anyway.

To this day, despite attempted restructures, the print audience continues to shrink.

I formed the view that while it may well be a useless degree at this point, it was worth it because it might prove to employers that I could at least stick to something for this amount of time and see it through.

How mistaken I was there on that front as well - even the most menial of jobs, such as Telstra call centre work, came to exist in the realm of the impossible - earning a simple basic wage is now increasingly out of reach.

Even the job agencies themselves now inform me that office work is a 'woman's' jobs' and that males aren't generally desired in these types of work.

Hmm.

I suppose there is more and more young fodder spewing forth from all orifices of our education and training system, doe-eyed and ripe for the picking, and more relatively senior candidates such as myself have probably missed our boat.

But hark - what are we writing about - the autopsy of a seemingly failed and aborted career, or the dissection of a system gone wrong?

We'll start with university itself.

Charles Sturt University is the uni of choice for most rural and regional students - however, many inner city children are also sent there by their parents to somehow gain an advantage from the alternative cultural setting.

Being able to wear ugg boots to lectures is quite trendy.

I even came across several international students that probably somehow reached the conclusion that this was their best educational recourse of action because of its relative obscurity - compared to the big metropolitan options, such as UTS.

Of course it gets results, and of course people that go to them at least get something from it.

Everyone there was seemingly well-travelled.

During the summers breaks, I would be told stories of the fantastical adventures people had taken to India, Canada, America, England, or to China - I on the other hand had only stayed here and watched the cricket over the summer, which I personally didn't see as such of a bad option, especially coupled with some beers.

Quickly class divides opened up, either tangible or perceived, and my previous attempts at befriending these people was reaching dead ends, especially when many of them joked about public housing, which I was a resident of, and took pride in where I lived.

There was always this niggling feeling that somehow you are not living up to expectations, especially those from families of more conducive means to success.

None of them were really happy to be there - one girl I knew would gripe and complain about her faux employer from internship, but would later go on to develop a relatively good career from that employer.

What I took home from my experience at university was that the education system here is not about educating people, it is about enabling a new means to make a profit; the last thing this country needs is a large group of educated, well-informed citizenry, as it would challenge the established status quo.

The university itself makes a profit from providing the 'education' and the employers make a profit from the resultant fodder.

The average Australian is not concerned with academic pursuits, and so long as the mortgage is serviced and the children have McDonald's, there is really no other concern our public has.

At university, so long as the kiddies pass their exams and have a good time, there is really no other point to university, at least in the sense of the liberal arts side of things.

I've encountered many people who puff out their chests with pride with the fact that they are liberal arts students - so was I, youngling, so was I, but it's not something you should broadcast and wear as a badge of pride.

It's arts, arts, arts, so they must be seeing the world differently to the poor, down-trodden blue collar slobs.

Upon entering the real world, this falsity became all-too apparent, as what I initially thought was an important pursuit, studying for a university degree, was really just to pass the time in an artificial construct.

Besides which, most if not all graduates entering the news media field were female, and as a male, I was almost made to feel like an outcast for wanting to make my way in such a pursuit.

"You should be on the street holding a jackhammer," was one such quip from a female student.

Although, I cannot play the victim with it.

It's my own choice not to take myself any further with this nonsense.

While on my newspaper internships, I found I got on best with the photographers, who were the unsung heroes, and who were really the only ones that got off their butts on a daily basis and into where the news was happening.

Currently for the time being, I am satisfied with photographing 'pretty' things - whether or not it could reach the holy grail status of 'career' is a different matter.

I just like it for its beauty, and not its ability to turn a profit.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tony Abbott: Prime Minister

Oh boy, how did we get here.

I have not written on this blog in at least 4 or 5 months, just before election 2013 here in Australia launched into full swing - perhaps out of disgust, or perhaps out of frustration with guessing the result, I stopped writing.

Instead, I took macro photos of bugs and flowers, and ignored our election as much as possible.

But now we must face the fact that Tony Abbott, the most conservative right politician to grace our proverbial dinner plates, is Prime Minister.

A comeback from Kevin Rudd couldn't save us from this fate, and nor could various gaffes by Abbott and the Liberal Party themselves.

To add insult to injury, Joe Hockey is Treasurer, and three months into this 'new' (recycled) Coalition government, all of the panic about the economy and boat people has seemingly evaporated away into nothingness.

On the economic front, Big Joe actually handed over $8.8 billion to the Reserve Bank of Australia, apparently in some sort of insurance policy against global economic instability - all of a sudden, Joe Hockey acknowledges that the global economy even exists.

And raising Australia's debt limit from $300 billion to $500 billion in the process also must signal that the 'Budget emergency' that was touted by him before the election must be over.

Oh, joyous.

Since they've been returned to power, this government has held a grand total of about eight press conferences - and during a recent visit to Indonesia, only Australian media was allowed into a press conference by Tony Abbott himself; a highly unusual and downright odd state of affairs.

However, still and all, our young news media go-getters still swoon lovingly towards the new Prime Minister and his new (recycled) cabinet - the honeymoon is well underway.

The Coalition is taking a very softly-softly approach to the media, and it is at least refreshing not to be bombarded with political dramas and infighting, as was the case with Labor.

There is a feeling that everyone was just fed up with Labor - as I myself have previously written, they did not deserve to govern.

They had some really great policies and a glinting of good ideas, but they were unable to implement them, and their own dramas overshadowed any positive progress with the electorate.

Their message became lost in a cacophony of spite, especially after Rudd returned to the Labor leadership.

However it must said that Rudd did indeed save Labor from what appeared to be an inevitable bloodbath under Julia Gillard.

But it won't all be plain sailing for Mr Abbott.

He faces a very hostile Senate next year, which could stop him in his tracks in his promise to 'axe the tax', the fabled, evil carbon tax, which was really just a prelude to a full blown carbon trading scheme.

It would have been a free market answer to climate change, and it does bring this country straight back to square one on the issue.

Loud and proud mining magnate Clive Palmer is in the Senate by 50-something votes after a marathon recount in his seat of Fairfax, along with an unruly gang of motoring enthusiasts and pro-gun mavericks.

The Greens didn't fair as well as they expected, and as I had eluded to in previous posts, they have become less popular with the electorate.

Political pundits have criticised the Senate preferences system, as some minor and fringe parties have rode to their seats with only handfuls of votes - however, it does make the Senate more representative of the wider Australia, and it will at least be insanely interesting to watch how they work with Abbott.

Yes Virginia, there is a Tony Abbott.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

'Lower socio-economic' - Australian Media's Preface of Failure

Ahh, the good old 'lower socio-economic' preface on a news story about Australia's poor.

Australian TV journalists in their cosy warm studios must often arrive from their 'higher socio-economic' areas and get cheesy grins when a 'lower socio-economic' story graces their desks.

You see, all of Australian society's ills - obesity, fat kids, sexual abuse, alcoholism, divorce, drug abuse, unemployment, crime, pensioners rotting away in their flats unnoticed, and all manner of other horsemen of the apocalypse, all evidently only exist in 'lower socio-economic' areas.

And don't we just love the term.

It sounds oh-so very scientific, and lends a cheap press release more credence and legitimacy (well, more legitimacy than the children from 'lower socio-economic areas, am I right?!).

Take the latest 'news' story that graced our morning TV screens - that fat kids come from 'lower socio-economic' areas - and the story was discussed by a female mouthy report who started her spiel on the topic with "I once visited a lower socio-economic area..."

Wow! You poor thing, how did you ever survive? I hope she has recovered from her ordeal.

But to the contrary, I've known plenty of big fat people from upper class areas.

Just look at Gina Rinehart - Australia's richest woman, a billionaire, and with her fingers in all the pies, and obviously not just business pies.

However on our morning show, the topic is discussed as if obesity is limited to poor people; to the contrary, some of the fattest people I've known, and I mean REALLY fat people, have come from very, very well-off families.

Why? Because obesity doesn't discriminate - this society is absolutely swimming in cheap fast foods, and as a matter of fact, we waste billions of dollars worth of fresh foods every year.

Australians love to stuff their fat pie holes, whether they be old, young, poor, or rich; 60% of Australians are obese, and it's increasingly rare to come across a naturally thin woman - but that's OKAY, because we don't want to make them feel bad about their body image.

It's the same with all the other topics - I've mentioned before that our news is written purely by upper middle class kids out of university for upper middle class readers and viewers - and so the explanation for everything plaguing society falls into the 'lower socio-economic' preface.

Oh the poor, it's all their fault; why won't they just die?

Hopefully I won't have to pass these lower lifeforms on the street.

You see, the moment someone points out that Australia does indeed have a deeply ingrained social class system, they are immediately told that Australia is a 'classless' society, and that it's all one homogenous block of happy people.

Nothing could be more distant from the truth, and the media needs to stop ignoring it; I would go so far as to say that our class system borders on being that like the United Kingdom's.

But unlike the UK, our class system is far more simplistic: the very poor, and the very rich.

The ones who aren't so rich, but think they are rich, or have stars in their eyes about being wealthy, are what we call the 'aspirational middle class' - the people who are dangled a carrot in front of them, in the belief that they will be one day be kings and queens.

But they too are ridiculed, and they just simply do not realise it, or do not pay enough attention; there's many well-to-do inner city folk that just simply would not dare tread into Western Sydney, as they just see it as a wasteland of mortgages and babies.

I mean look at the big hoopla when Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott visited Penrith; an absolute media circus ensued, as if they were going to the lost ancient civilization of Machu Picchu.

Even a Labor MP poked fun at the people of Western Sydney.

And of course, the venerable members of our beleaguered media machine, such as the social commentator who once visited a 'lower socio-economic' area, are they themselves smack-bang in the middle of the aspirational middle classes.

Not only is that their audience they write for, but they too think that they themselves are above everyone else.

Filled with airs and graces, and pointing the finger at anyone who doesn't fit society's accepted narratives.

Heaven forbid it be a press release about the enormity of growing alcoholism and drug use among middle class professionals; they can do no wrong, and they certainly don't ever get fat, either.




Monday, July 29, 2013

The Dreaded 'Youth Vote'

Oh, the impertinences of our wayward youth!

Sure they can't form informed political decisions at the polling booth.

But hark, ye hopeful candidate, you're about to step in a big pile of it if you ignore the youth vote; so ignore it at your peril.

While it's true that in Australia there's swathes of people aged 18-25 not enrolled to vote, this age bracket still can still hold a deciding factor on who becomes Prime Minister.

It's also true that youth are disengaged with politics - I was recently talking to a 22-year-old girl who did not even know what 'Questions Time' was, and could not recall ever seeing it on television.

After re-composing (or is that re-composting) myself at this utter lack of basic political awareness, I scurried back to my lair and considered that in actual fact, why should she have ever heard of it?

Question Time is nothing but an hour or so of rambunctious hooliganism at the cost of the taxpayer - and with Tony Abbott at the helm, we've seen more 'no confidence motions' than a toilet at the retirement home, all of which were entirely pointless spiels.

And of course, the government's own people ask its own people 'questions' - a sort of theatre is good old Question Time, theatre for the people, but a theatre that turns many off politics.

There was also the case of the young lady who asked me what the difference between Liberal and Labor were - I was genuinely stumped in providing an answer, because especially of late, there actually are very little differences.

Abbott himself of course holds a particular 1950s attitude and style towards society and women writ large of course, but between the parties themselves, the only difference is in ideology and not so much in their actual governance.

With no clear difference between, you may well ask 'what's the point in voting?'.

Between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, Rudd is a clear favourite amongst the voting youthful public; he's routinely swamped by youngsters, and has 1.3 million Twitter followers, compared to Tony Abbott's dismal 142,000.

And have you seen some of things that Abbott writes on his Twitter? All rather mundane blue-tie stuff, and I'm sure there's a smattering 'we'll stop the boats!' in there somewhere just for good measure.

In other words, Abbott has the personality of cardboard - youth don't like cardboard, unless it forms the silhouette and image of Beyonce or something, and Abbott doesn't strike me as Beyonce - tough luck for Mr. Abbott.

Of course, there are youth that would vote for Abbott; the misguided youth.

These are youth from conservative, upright, righteous, business-owning families, and it's true that a parent's voting pattern heavily influences that of their children, lest they stray from the loins of the conservative father and risk being reprimanded for turning into a smelly, dirty lefty.

Off with his unkempt head!

At Tony Abbott's last big 'press conference' (and I use the term lightly, because they are greatly rehearsed and not at all spontaneous) he was standing in front of a large group of elderly people, who seemingly rallied behind Mr Abbott when he was asked about his senior staffer's drink driving charge.

"Woooaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!" the elderly crowd jeered at the journalist, who was obviously in hot water for not asking pre-rehearsed question.

Can you imagine a similar response if Abbott was surrounded by a group of teenagers?

I would think not, and while Gillard had sandwiches thrown at her at a few high schools, Abbott would be thrown the whole loaf.

Abbott does not know how to approach the youth vote. To him, young people are something that are nothing but trouble, just a bunch of lazy, half-witted, tone deaf rebels who all need to be sequestered down in Gina Rinehart's mines.

'Seen but not heard' would be Abbott's view of youngsters, and not at one point have I heard him painting youth in a positive light; he only ever talks about how they are all unemployed and need a big stick.

So, to both Rudd and Abbott, I would say they need to consider the youth vote very carefully in the upcoming election; they must present a forward-thinking progressive, engaging platform, and not write-off the opinions of young people.






Monday, July 22, 2013

Out of Love with the Australian Greens

During the last Federal Election of 2010, I voted Greens in the Senate - and it was a sensible choice, and probably still is, given the rambunctious and chaotic nature of the two big parties.

Now however, I find them utterly repulsive, and as someone who is of a left-leaning nature, it's made me realise that there is no real sane left alternative in Australia to vote for.

Take for example the circus act surrounding a paid parental leave scheme, which has incidentally been flagged by Abbott as one of his big policy platforms for quite some time.

This morning, Christine Milne, the default leader of the Greens after Bob Brown's retirement, has held a dank press conference to announce their ideal paid parental leave scheme.

The only problem, it's almost a carbon-copy of Mr Abbott's scheme; both include a 1.5% tax on companies who earn over $5 million annually - the only difference being, while Mr Abbott's is capped at $150,000, the Green's want to bring that down to $100,000.

Before getting to the 'detail' of her scheme, Milne cited a recent survey in Australia of employers, of whom a large percentage said they would prefer to employ young men who have no relationships and no children.

'This is wrong' Milne proclaimed.

Keep in mind, it was just a silly survey, and just an opinion of a preference, but apparently facts needs to be savaged.

As a young man with no relationships and no children, and who finds it nigh impossible to find a job, I find this rather entertaining - apparently young single men don't deserve jobs, and we should all bloody well get out of the way so women can fulfill the idealistic rolls of both career and children and sit around the campfire singing Kumbaya.





It's bad enough to be told by Centrelink and the local job seeking places that office work is 'only for women' - despite holding a degree, and despite being relatively literate, and punctual.

Thanks to false identity politics, a woman is more deserving. I believe in a fair deal for everyone, but this is obviously a new breed of favouritism.

Christine Milne and her defacto deputy Sarah-Hanson Young do the calm-yet-stern lecture down the camera lens and expect everyone to beg for more; there's lots of yummy political capital to be gained from left issues, such as gay marriage, asylum seekers, and now parental leave schemes - which ironically - the Liberals have been vying for for a while.

Asylum seekers is all the rave at the moment, especially since Rudd's return to power and his announcement of a hardline plan to settle all (economic) refugees in Papua New Guinea.

1100 people have so far died at sea in the mad rush to try to get to Australia, and still yet, the Greens would want to keep the failed policies that enable this parade of death to happen at our doorstep.

The Greens, like all minor political parties, love to talk big, and love to put vials up to people's eyelids and collect their tears and say they're going to do this and that - in actuality, if they were to govern, they would find it particularly difficult.

When I first saw the polls that show the Greens' vote dropping, from about 12% last election to 9% at the moment, I was confused as to how this could be so given the big parties' dismal performances of late.

But it does actually make sense - Christine Milne and Sarah-Hanson Young are incredibly maddening to listen to - everything is a tragedy, everything is unfair, and only they have all of the possible solutions.

In short, I don't like them, and I change the channel now whenever they have an appearance at one of their characterless press conferences.

Of course, the young folk will vote for them, because they believe in gay marriage, and that's always been a surefire way of late to get the youth vote - but beyond that, there's a vacuum.

I would say their vote has dropped because Australians are becoming increasingly ticked off with political parties of all persuasions.

While I would like to see a minor political party have the balance in the Senate, which is politically healthy, I'm not so sure anymore that I want it to be the Greens.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Making Interest Rates Interesting

On the first Tuesday of every month here in Australia, journalists and business analysts gather around computer monitors to watch a magical number.

If the number changes, it becomes news; if the number does not change, it too becomes news.

Can you guess what this number is?

Bingo!

You're correct - it's the official cash rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

About 2PM the announcement is made, with business-y types sitting at computers shouting out the number in a self-important fashion, making for an excellent soundbite on that evening's news.

Traditionally, politicians, specifically Treasurers and sometimes Prime Ministers, will spin their economic prowess if the number is lowered or stays the same. They will then sternly look down the barrel of the camera, and in a school boyish manner, tell the banks and lenders that they must 'pass the rate on'.

Everyone goes home, and waits for the next first Tuesday of next month, but in the meantime, they will speculate and speculate about what the interest rate will be, and I would dare say, bets are taken on it.

For instance, some data on unemployment and slowing of the economy may come out, which leads to the instant inference that the RBA must be going to lower rates - if they don't, business journalists will ruffle through the meeting minutes, desperately searching for evidence on why they didn't.

Such is the madness of capitalism, isn't it?

So what does it mean for the common man and woman, or woman-man, or man-woman?

If you have a mortgage, obviously it means something - it could mean that you pay $50 less that month, or $100 less, or $50 more a month to live in the bank's house and to make profit for a bank CEO who is  making far more than you.

In the current economic environment however, interest rates are at record lows everywhere, and close to 0% in the United States.

It's a sort of an economic lever - if the economy is growing too fast and inflation becomes a problem, the interest rate is risen - meaning people pay more for the bank's house and therefor spend less on other s***, such as televisions.

If the economy is sluggish, as is the case worldwide, including Australia with our floundering retail sector, the rate is lowered - people pay less for the bank's house and therefor spend more on other s***, such as televisions, maybe if a video game for little Jimmy.

In other words, on a consumer level it plays the workers and consumers like a fiddle - monetary policy, as it's called, would be useless if everyone were rich, which ironically, is the promise that capitalism makes.

But in reality, you're not - that $50 a month becomes a blessing or a curse, depending on whether or not you're paying more or less.

Still and all, the media treat the RBA's announcement as if Moses has come again each month announcing the Ten Commandments with a few additions, either:

"Thout shall spend!"

or

"Thout shall save!"

It probably garners so much attention religiously because Australians love BIG houses, so along with that, they have big mortgages to pay for the BIG houses.

The floorspace of an average Australian home is marginally bigger than that of America's, and easily up to twice that of a typical Western European home; such is the Great Australian Dream and perhaps the typical Australian male's need to compensate for shortcomings in other areas.

When the kids have all gown up and moved out and have big mortgages of their own, what are ma and pa supposed to do with a big house?

Why, use it as their own personal bank of course - 'refinance' and borrow against the equity of the home and live it up Big Willy style.

And if there's a divorce in the meantime, the house will probably be sold, and the money pissed away on the kids by either parent on anything they want to keep them on 'their side'.

So, the interest rate is intrinsically linked to the marketed Australian way of life - BIG houses with big mortgages - any other pursuit is worthless and not worth the mention.

Unwittingly though, it really boils down to the loyal consumers of Australia being played like suckers through monetary levers - they suck up every announcement and feel a part of the system.

If this is what they mean by 'economic participation' I'm staying on the bench.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rudd Return: Blood Letting Now in Progress

Well, whoda thunk it.

After years of undermining Julia Gillard and biding his time on the backbench, Mr Rudd has been reinstalled as Prime Minister of Australia.

In a smattering of poetic justice, Julia Gillard was kicked out of the high office the same way she stumbled into it - a challenge from the very person she deposed, with the Labor caucus voting 57 to 45 in Rudd's favour.

In the mean time, there has been a veritable exodus from Labor's previous front bench ministries, with even the likes of Wayne Swan, the former Treasurer, making a hasty exit.

Surprisingly, Penny Wong, whom defended Gillard considerably, jumped ship to the Rudd camp, and has been rewarded with finance ministership and leader of the Senate.

The reasons for the change of leadership are obvious enough.

The night before Gillard was purged, images of her posing for a photo shoot for a women's magazine were plastered all across the nightly news, showing her knitting a toy kangaroo and having electric fans placed in front of her make her look more 'swishy'.

All the while, Labor's primary vote was being hammered, as was Gillard's stake in the preferred Prime Minister poll.

The chance of leader has temporarily worked, with Rudd shooting up 11 points to 51%  as preferred Prime Minister, with Tony Abbott slumping still in the mid 30s.

With all of this, the original September 14 election date set by Gillard earlier in the way will most likely be pushed back to give Rudd time to try and solidify some popularity in the electorate.

So, will it all work?

For a time. After the sugar has waned, people will begin to remember the things they dislike about Labor - perhaps the carbon tax, perhaps asylum seekers, perhaps something else that the Liberals toss up.

For certain though, Rudd will clearly be the more popular leader over Abbott.

The prospect of a Liberal-controlled Senate and Liberal-dominated Lower House are some truly frightening prospects, and would probably see a new wave of conservative politics blanket Australia like never before.

For all the young trendy Australians now that are pushing things like gay marriage or renewable energy would definitely have a new thing headed their way under wall-to-wall Liberal governments.

With the amount of cuts to the public services they have earmarked, we would possibly face a recession, or at least a sizeable upswing in unemployed. Other things to keep an eye out for would be a lift in the GST, industrial relations being tinkered with ala Howard-era 'Work Choices', a rollback on tax reforms, and even more pressure placed single parents, the unemployed, and the poor.

We've already seen an inkling of conservatism, ironically, under Gillard, with the cutting of the parenting payment to single parents - the Liberals would go one-step further, with measures such as welfare payment quarantining, and shipping the unemployed off to the mines, despite their lack of skills.

But I digress.

Who will win the election? It would probably be a mixed result, and without any great insight, it could possibly be another hung Parliament, but that would be a miracle, as it would mean Labor would need to save itself from political oblivion - which it is staring down.

In all likelihood, we will most likely see an Abbott Australia. Rest assured, like a Terminator, Abbott has his sites set on the Prime Ministership, and will say absolutely anything to reach that office, as was demonstrated by him lying to the independents when they were negotiating at the last tied election.

Having said that, at least it will be entertaining to have Joe Hockey as Treasurer.

I'll grab the popcorn.