This week, Doc McGrath is looking westward again ... and notes with pleasure a surprise entrant to the Australian Senate.
It was no surprise to anyone that Tony Abbott cleaned up at Saturday's Australian general election. It appears his coalition of conservative parties will gain around 89 seats, with the shambolic Labor Party formerly lead by narcissist Kevin Rudd back on about 57.
The Aussies have a rather complex voting system with preferences, which does not result in a parliament based on proportional representation. Not many people will realise that the Labor Party actually gained more primary votes then any other party this time, but still lost overall (could this happen to National here next year?).
Both Labor and the Greens suffered significant drops in support whereas Abbott managed to maintain his voter base. And it was great to see candidates running under a Stop The Greens banner - perhaps we might see that over here in 2014? Andrew Bolt headlines the result as: Unelectable Abbott triumphs. The green movement defied.
But the highlight of the whole election was the Senate race where some colourful candidates managed to get themselves elected to the Upper House—most colourful probably rugby league legend Glenn Lazarus, a.k.a. The Brick With Eyes, once a regular fixture in New South Wales State of Origin and Australian league teams, who was elected as one of two Senators for the batshit crazy Palmer United Party led by 'Professor' Clive Palmer. However, Australia are now one up on New Zealand as they now have a libertarian Senator - the man with an impossible-to-spell surname - David Leyonhjelm.
David is a former office holder for the Outdoor Recreation Party (which fielded the abovementioned Stop The Greens candidates), but won a seat this time standing for the Liberal Democrats, who I mentioned in my last column. He wants low flat taxation (including an end to the carbon tax), voluntary euthanasia, drug legalisation and the right for peace-loving Australians to carry firearms. What a refreshing voice he will be in the Senate. The LDP website offers this bio:
David has had an interest in politics since the early 1970s when, as a member of Young Labor, he worked on the It's Time campaign to help end military conscription.
The following decade he joined the Liberal Party in an effort to promote economic freedom, resigning in 1996 in disgust at John Howard's extremist gun laws.
He joined the Shooters Party in 1992 (while in the Liberal Party), became the party's Chairman in 1999 and managed the successful 2003 campaign that retained the party's NSW Legislative Council seat.
When the Shooters Party was deregistered federally just prior to the federal election in 2004, he used the Outdoor Recreation Party to run a team of shooters for the Senate and marginal NSW seats. The party's Senate preferences helped prevent the Greens from taking the final seat.
He also managed the LDP's federal election campaigns in 2007 and 2010.
He has a classical liberal outlook, favouring individual choice and freedom over government intrusion.
David is married and owns an agribusiness consulting company in Sydney. A former veterinarian, he also has degrees in business and law. His sporting interest is target shooting.
David is currently the LDP's National Treasurer and Registered Officer.
We can be fairly sure that Tony Abbott will not get it right every time, or even many times, but I'm sure Senator David Leyonhjelm will offer constructive criticism and at least be the one dissenting voice when law changes are proposed that enlarge the power of government at the expense of individual freedom.
To David, and the band of workers who got him elected - well done.
And to Craig Thomson, the former Labor MP who misused a Heath Services Union credit card to pay for the services of prostitutes, a man whose breathtaking arrogance rivals and even surpasses that of Kevin Rudd, don't let the door hit your backside on the way out.