Little Miss Moi

Life in Timor-Leste

My ranty pants are on…


Get some fucking PERSPECTIVE Australia.

Consider these things that happen in countries around the world:

  • People die for the right to vote
  • People walk for two or three days in order to reach a polling booth
  • People die while they are voting
  • People vote even though they know that the results will be tampered with and the same old dictator will retain power
  • People get killed in countries where they have no say over who rules them
  • People get tortured to admit who they voted for and then get killed by mercenaries or militia.

Then we have Australia:

  • You whinge about compulsory voting so loudly one would think you were being tortured
  • You will walk or drive for two or three minutes to reach a polling booth
  • You buy sausage sizzle and lattes while you’re voting
  • Your election results are scrutineered and recounted and you’re 99.999999999 per cent sure the results are not tampered with
  • You get harrassed by people running things called ‘exit polls’ to admit who you voted for
  • You have every say over who runs the country, and if you don’t like it, there’s nothing stopping you from running.

So let’s just reflect for a minute… How fucking lucky are we?  We get to VOTE. In a proper, non-corrupt DEMOCRACY.

Oh except you wouldn’t think that any of you realised how fucking LUCKY you are by the flurry of complaints that emerged yesterday when the PM announced that the 2013 election would be on Saturday 14 September. Yom Kippur. Many tweets ensued. News websites went mad. Interesting course for the story to take indeed.

But what REALLY got me was when someone tweeted that the PM, who has recently become A Friend Of The Bloggers, should know better than to schedule an election on the same day as one of the (mildly sycophantic, potentially cliquey?) blogger seminars that occur on a regular basis.

(I am not naming as I like the tweeter and she also claimed that her tweet was said in jest. But still, it was out there and demonstrated the tone of many tweets floating around yesterday.)

My initial reaction: WTAFF? Who cares if you’re at a conference in Melbourne or Sydney or wherever it happens to be held? If you can take the time to register for a seminar and book flights and a hotel, you can take the time organise a postal/absentee vote. You’ve got eight months to organise it.

Yes, that’s right. If the date of the election – EIGHT MONTHS FROM NOW – is that much of an issue, then that’s the beauty of living in a democracy isn’t it? You can vote the government out. You can tweet out your frustrations. You can write letters to your local member and letters to the local paper. You can organise a rally for god’s sake, just to let people know how upset you are. And you can do so in the knowledge that no one will shoot you. Shoo you, maybe, but not shoot.

I live in Timor at the moment. What people went through here in order to merely register to vote in the UN sanctioned referrendum for autonomy vs independence, and what they subsequently went through when Indonesia withdrew from the country (google Scorched Earth if you’re not sure) has given me perspective.

I lived in Ukraine for almost three years. In that time, government was only formed for maybe ten months because of corruption, outside intervention in politics, and an inability for form sufficient coalitions. Since I’ve left, the former Prime Minister has been jailed – supposedly for decisions she made when she was in government, but more likely because some very rich and powerful people don’t like her.

Do you all realise how lucky you are? DO YOU REALLY? Who cares if you HAVE to vote? I’ve voted in about seven different cities in my life and walked to the polling booth every time. I’ve never waited longer than five minutes to vote. I can wait longer for a coffee on a Saturday morning than it takes to vote.

It’s so ironic that in Australia we still joke about whinging poms, when honestly and truly I think Australians have a bloody good go at whinging too (myself included, ref. this entire post).

I don’t know what to leave you with, but here’s a thought – turn on SBS news at 6.30pm or, for those with Foxtel/Austar, switch on Al Jazeera anytime and you’ll see the horrible things that happen in the rest of the world and compulsory voting on a holy day when a bloggers conference is scheduled, in a country that will let you boot out the government if it really offends you that much, will be the least of your worries.

PS I am a Catholic and it would not bother me in the slightest to vote on Good Friday. Or Christmas. Because I feel privileged to have the right to vote.

This post was inspired by the first paragraph of this article by John Birmingham. I haven’t gotten around to reading the whole thing yet.

Author: Little Miss Moi

Living life, tropical style

50 thoughts on “My ranty pants are on…

  1. Ha! That was some good rantin’

    • Well, ref TIMOR….I can piss and moan and certainly if that is held up..after all, ITS MY FKN TAXES that enabled OUR TROOPS to deploy over there and STOP THE FKN ROT!, which BTW also gives you the ability to live there and NOT BE KILLED OFF, the mere fact that this joint is better than most does not mean we have to NOT SAY FKN BOO or be pissed off. ITS OUR FKN RIGHT!…why, because WE MADE this place the way it is and I’ll be fkd if I’ll comply with shite like you just wrote.

      AND…we send our troops to a lot of those places you mention, we also send peace keepers too etc etc, and just a final little not, I’ve calmed down some now. The fact that the system here is slightly skewed and that our politicians really are a buch of arse turds, does not mean we can’t or should not go off!


      Its your blog, and your right to go off! , have a sook whine, rant or whatever the hell ya really wanna do…within legal parameters of course.

      WE aint all dumb shits ya know!!!!!!!…………..well, some days!

      • Hi @havok21, thanks for taking the time to reply. Yep I am the first to admit that I sook and whine! I will freely admit that. As for Australia’s foreign policy, well, I’m not going to get into that because I am a bleeding heart who believes that we should help people regardless of whether it’s a drain on our budget or what not, so I don’t think you’d like putting up with my uninformed, romantic, blue sky dreamings, oh… I mean, opinions. I do appreciate your taking the time to read my thoughts though.

        • ROFL…its why we blog….to get this shite off our chests.

          As for active assistance in other countries…HELL YES!

    • Thanks John and thanks for visiting.

  2. Wow, I can tell you are very passionate about this Brooke, and I can definitely understand why. You make many valid points here, we are so lucky to live in such liberty. I feel a bit guilty now for whinging to my hubby last night about the fact we are in for an 8 month campaign but now having read this, I’m changing my tune for all the reasons listed about .

    • Thanks Donna. As you know from previous, I don’t go out of my way to try to offend people – that’s actually why I save my raving for my blog rather than put it out there on twitter :) But I’m glad that I could at least help you think a little differently about something. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

  3. Good call! Democracy is something we should not take for granted and a lot of people really need to ‘get a life’ and appreciate that :)

  4. Ease up on the poor ‘ol Aussie tabloid reading masses Brooke. They’ve been fed shite for well over a decade by the main stream media and haven’t yet learnt how to find actual information, which is probably good cause their tiny little minds would probably explode.

    • Good one Jack… I often wonder, what came first – dumb news that lowered our expectations? Or low expectations that dumbed down our news? I just know that there’s so much more going on in the world than a the proverbial cat up the tree.

  5. I think its quite a naive view, that we are so ‘lucky’ to have a democracy. The author shows a profound ignorance of how democracy operates in the West. You only have to see in the US its controlled by money, the elites, power blocks, etc. Its a bit similar here. Yes, we have the right vote, whinge, mock our leaders, but essentially the problem with democracy is the average voter feels very disconnected. Yes, its very easy to say, well, ENGAGE, run for office, etc. But this is really showing a primary school level of literacy, and not indicative of how things work in reality. I’m surprised others haven’t picked up on your silliness. May I suggest a little less ranting, and a greater ephasis on filling knowledge gaps?

    • Hi David, thanks for taking the time to read my post. This is a personal blog and I was having a rant. I didn’t attempt to try to get into any thoughts about American politics, which is completely different to Australian politics. I fear that with your PhD you may be used to more academic views on things. I think this is part of the problem – there are too many opinions and clouded views, we overthink things too much and lose sight of the very simple, basic truth that I was trying to get across here – we’re lucky to vote, and we’re lucky that we can vote for whoever we want without fear of repercussions. It’s unfortunate that the PM didn’t consider that the date falls on the same day as Judaisms most sacred holiday. I’m sure no politician will make that mistake again (on the plus side, I’m sure many australians now know what Yom Kippur is, and I believe knowledge of other religions and cultures is only a good thing!). But, considering the trials and tribulations many people in other countries go through in order to gain the right to vote, cant we just be happy that we get the chance to do it? Why all the whinging and whining? There are provisions in place for situations where people can’t vote on the day.

      As for my so called ‘primary school level of literacy’, comprehension and interpretation of politics and current affairs has nothing to do with my level of literacy. I am very literate, as proved by the fact that I used two big words in that previous sentence, although I suffer from a strong case of tendency towards nominalisation :)

      • Hi Miss Moi,
        I have have a PhD, but haven’t been an academic for many years. So I’m not one of those ‘ivory tower’ people, with clouded thinking to which you seem to be referring. And I’ll stand my criticism – I don’t think your rant was very intelligent, or insightful. It came across like a 12 y.o, going off, but being allowed to swear for effect.
        I only came across your blog by being a twitter follower of John Birmingham, who attached your blog link to his tweet. But what surprised me, was other ‘normal’ people, other than ‘weirdo’s’ like me, didn’t pick up on the banality of your rant. We can vote, and other’s can’t, or its made difficult. How is this news? Again, an intelligent 12 y.o would know this. And besides, there has plenty of criticism of democracy, as the attempts to force down the throats of some middle eastern countries. I don’t want to necessarily get into a discussion about democracy, either. But things are not always as they seem with ‘democracy’, and you should understand that on some level.
        As I said, I stumbled across your blog, and my immediate reaction was ‘this is crap!’ And not only that, people were congratulating you on writing said crap. So I was bemused/amused by it all. I guess at the general knowledge level, and downright bigoted conservatism of my fellow Australians. My apologies for being blunt, or appearing offensive. I’ll disappear now, and leave you to your followers. In the future, if I have an opinion strong enough, I might as well begin my own, given that even your own simplistic rants get attention.

        • David, thanks for coming back and commenting. Firstly, I don’t think you’re a weirdo and I never implied that you were. I appreciate a good discussion like the next person. I was TOTALLY like a 12 year old going off – you are exactly right to call me that. But that is what a rant is all about. I’m a whingy whiny person, just like the people I am complaining about in my own post. That is the point of having a personal blog and it’s why I have a love hate relationship with the blogosphere. (Did you happen to catch any of my other posts? I’m as banal as they come, preferring to poke fun at soap with rude names and the fact that the word for cement in bahasa is semen. My readers to date are about 1- stalwarts and my extended family).

          I don’t live in lala land, I do know there is more to government, politics and democracy than freedom of speech and freedom of the vote. Many people would argue that Australia’s model of government based on the Westminster system is not a true democracy. Many people would argue that America is not a true democracy either, in part because unless you come from a very wealthy background or win the support of very wealthy benefactors, than you aren’t getting nowhere in US politics. Politics, government and governing are all very complex, but I wasn’t actually talking about those things.

          Anyway, back to your point that I was like a child throwing a tantrum. I won’t deny it. And that’s exactly why i’m not an employed journalist like John Birmingham. I’m just a nobody behind a computer in internetland who wanted to get something of her chest. I would encourage you to start a blog if you have opinions to share or want to educate people, and I’d be happy to visit it if you do. Thanks again for commenting.

  6. I think that the lamest complaint is that the election will be on the same day as a footy final! Like you couldn’t possibly do both on the same day.

    • Really? Which footy? I thought AFL was on the last week of September (except for last year of course) and NRL the week later… or do you mean the start of the finals? If that’s the case then polling booths at the footy I say!

      I’m sure one year Livid was on when there was an election and they had a polling booth at Livid… I tell you, the mood visibly sank when John Howard was victorious (I don’t remember voting there but I DEFINITELY remember John Howard’s victory speech).

  7. Agreed 100%. And while we do seem to have morphed into a country of whingers and whiners, at least your rant here today had a good knock of common sense, unlike some (there was a lady at my work yesterday whinging that it would be “chilly in the morning” in September to get up early and avoid the “voting queues”. Apart from anything else, we’re in Brisbane. Really? Is it chilly in the morning here ever?!)

    • Well that’s just bloody ridiculous. I mean, it’s Brisbane, the city where you can at times wear shorts in the middle of winter.

      • Add to this the fact that this woman used to live in POLAND before Brisbane and, well, I don’t even know. I mean, I thought I had acclimated pretty horrendously when I would pull up the doona on a Brisbane winter’s night!

  8. As far as I’m concerned, this is the definitive response to the upcoming Australian election. Bravo!

  9. I clearly live in a bubble called ABC Kids, and had no idea an election had been called til this morning when the new reporter was criticizing the length of time for the camaign, so close to natural disasters occuring.

    I promtly told the radio to suck it up and not clutch at straws. Who is to say a disaster won’t occur on September 13?

    I agree with you though, we are so lucky to be able to vote and not be tortured for that right. Harden up Australia!

    • Hi April. Yes I usually do live in that bubble but this was something that struck a chord with me yesterday for some reason. You’re exactly right, who ever knows what will happen? Also if my hazy kid-damaged memory serves me right, there will be no proper campaigning until government is dissolved and enters caretaker mode. The way I predict it, the next 6.5 months will be spent by the Libs accusing the Labs of campaigning when they shouldn’t be. But at least it will make for a different lead up to the election.

  10. Oh I miss your rants, Brooke! Good on ya! I totally agree with you on all accounts. I’ve had to work very hard for many years to earn the privilege of voting in Australia and I treasure it. If you share the idea that voting – and democracy – is of great value you can accommodate the “inconvenience” of shuffling to a polling booth on said day, or vote by post!

    • Haha! I’m glad I could give you a taste of what you’ve been missing Christina. As you know I tend to rant and get over it stat, but this just stuck in my head and I couldn’t let it go. I love that you get what I’m saying love how you said ‘shuffling’ to a polling booth ;)

  11. I think I’m having my hair done that day….most awkward!

  12. Reblogged this on hikarublue and commented:
    As a permanent resident who would love the chance to vote, but faces possible loss of citizenship (in a country where scores of my ancestors actually died and/or where brutalised for the chance to vote, and had it taken away from them for nearly a century), the amount of carrying on about something that will occupy at most 5-10 minutes of one’s day, is beyond bizarre and into the realm of insulting.

    • Thanks Hiarku. That’s another dose of perspective for me.

      I’ve sat with people who have casually mentioned over dinner that they haven’t seen their parents in years because they have gone off to Siberia in search for grandparents sent to the GULAG. I’ve listened to people tell me about how they got their families out of Dili during the troubles in Timor. These are real problems. Having to squeeze in voting around a blogging conference, IS NOT… It’s not even something to joke about, in my opinion.

  13. You could have saved your keyboard (and your readers) a lot of pain by simply typing “there’s worse things in the world than compulsory voting”…which of course isn’t actually a substantive argument.

    Howsabout, rather than just saying compulsory voting MUST BE GOOD BECAUSE WE DON’T GET MURDERED WHILE WE VOTE!!!!, you put forth a reasoned position on why compulsory voting is better than the RIGHT to vote, or not vote, as one chooses? (And no, compulsory voting does not give one the right to vote- it forces one to do so.)

    • Firstly, George, thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to read my post. Now, I never said this was a post that would stand the test of academia. The title says it all, actually – it’s a rant. I’ve had many an argument about compulsory voting with people from Oz and form other countries, and i’ve found it’s a bit like religion, politics or sex – never bring it up. And you’ll never change people’s mind.

      The point of my rant wasn’t to justify compulsory voting. It was to tell people to have a little perspective. If whinging about how you HAVE to vote is the biggest problem that you’ve got, then you’re pretty god damn lucky. And if you’re angry about being forced to vote, then you’ve never thought or empathised with people whose families have been incarcerated or murdered because they wanted to gain the vote. It’s incredibly selfish of us to want to be pitied because we’ve got too many rights.

      • “And if you’re angry about being forced to vote, then you’ve never thought or empathised with people whose families have been incarcerated or murdered because they wanted to gain the vote”? ORLY? That’s one cracking non-sequitur. I can, and do, concurrently feel both (1) frustrated about the idiocy of compulsory voting and (2) sympathetic to those who don’t live the sweet sweet privileged white Christian capitalist first-world existence to which I am accustomed. Oh oh oh AND no I don’t want pity. I want what is right. And compulsory voting isn’t.

        Thanks for the introspection though. The admission that your “post (would not) stand the test of academia” was refreshing.

        • I’m glad I was refreshing at least in one respect. I never said I was anything more than ranting – and on my own personal part of the internet. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts – just like I’ve shared my opinion, you’ve shared yours.

          You’re not going to change anything about the existence of compulsory voting by whinging about it on this blog, which by tomorrow will revert to it’s usual status of rarely visited section of cyberspace. If you’re that passionate about abolishing compulsory voting, go and do something to change it and appreciate the fact that you have to freedom to do just that.

  14. Great post Brooke. we take so much for granted. We really do live in a lucky country.

  15. Ha, back again. It must have been the surprise visit by an ex-president, GeorgeH. Bush! What a privilege to be in such esteemed company. The world’s largest democracy, by co-incidence. A democracy where voting is not compulsory, in fact.
    The arguments for and against compulsory voting, are complex, and in some sense removed from debates about democracy. So I won’t go there. On a slightly pedantic philosophical point, your advice that if G. H. Bush doesn’t like compulsory voting, do something about it, and that whinging about on your blog is waste of time, can I remind of a few points:
    a. You, in fact, started the first ‘pointless’ whinge.
    b. Everything, read, said, anywhere, including cyberspace, is therefore a ‘waste of time’. Including what I am doing now, of course!
    c. Philosophically, we speak in ‘codes’. Interpreting these codes unlock our real feelings, predjuices, etc. Its actually quite easy when you get the hang of it. When someone agrees with you Miss Moi, you are resplendant in bohomie. When the ‘ex-president’ spoke, you politely told him to ‘fuck off’. See what I mean, Miss Moi? Its semantics. The meanings/sentiments behind the words.
    Just some bonus material. If you want to know why people don’t get all ‘juiced up’ about the prospect of voting, consider this. In the Australian context, ever since the Hawke/Keating government’s, both parties have moved to the centre. One is perhaps centre-left, the other centre-right. But basically, its like choosing between Coke and Pepsi. Are you, Miss Moi, going to go into a hissy (or in this case, a fizzy hiss), if you don’t have a choice between having a Coke or a Pepsi? This perhaps goes to the core reason many Australians feel apathetic about compulsory voting in 2013. Aren’t we a selfish lot, to demand something that has true meaning? But, Miss Moi, you are into propaganda and slogans, aren’t you? Simple facts, simple speak, for dare I say it…the simple minded?

    • David, I never said that George was ‘wasting his time’ here, YOU did.

      You know, and old friend of mine has a saying. “Don’t argue with stupid people because they will just bring you down to their level, and beat you every time on experience”. So, I think there is probably no point continuing this conversation as I will bring you down to my stupid (oh, sorry SIMPLE) level, steal your PhD away with my lack of brain cells, and beat you at stupidity with my own lifetime of experience. It’s been nice chatting, but I’m sure you’ll find more enjoyment at some other area of the internet (unless, of course, your idea of enjoyment is to keep coming here to insult me, even when I’ve been perfectly civil).

      Thank you once again for visiting.

  16. Well said Little Miss. As you have so eloquently pointed out, perspective is something that I think we Aussies tend to forget when it comes to just how lucky we are on so many levels.

    It’s the perfect argument for why each and every one of us need to spend some time away overseas in developing nations. Perspective hits you in the face “like a train pulling into Cleveland station” when you do. ;)

  17. Sorry if I come across as insulting. Sometimes my bluntless has been recognised as a lack of tact. I LOVE that old saying you quoted – its so funny and profound!
    Don’t be silly, you can’t steal my PhD away! But seriously, I doubt your assertion you have been ‘perfectly civil’ to myself and George. I know you are trying to portray me as some egghead with no life experience, but that has not been my reality. You shouldn’t really put people in boxes. Its quite undemocratic, you know!
    But thanks again, for allowing me to visit!

    • Honestly, David, I’m not trying to put you in a box by any means. I am not trying to accuse you of having no life experience! If I did I apologise, as it wasn’t my intention.

      Perhaps we’re trying to make points about different things (even though I know, I was the first one who went off on a few tangents, but hey, my rant, my blog, so I indulged myself to stray from topic). I’m not even typing in anger or huffiness as I really enjoy a good debate.

      Please be assured I don’t have a simplistic view on life but I also (and i’m really not trying to take the easy way out here, it’s just my reality) am a mum of two young kids, living in a country where I spend a lot of each day learning and speaking in another language, and for those people who complaining because the election is scheduled on the same day as a BLOG CONFERENCE for goodness sake… well, I wanted to give them a wake up call by making a simple point and probably using too many words to do it.

      I’m sorry if there were holes in my argument – I didn’t set out to talk about compulsory voting, it just evolved that way. And I am taking away everything that you’ve said, it will continue to turn over in my head because I do think about things and try to continuously educate myself.

      The only time I felt insulted was when you insinuated that I am simple – because I’m not. The reason I’ve never made political statements or anything similar on this crappy old blog is because I don’t want to offend people, be offended, or get into arguments about polarising issues where every party argues until they’re blue in the face, and no one ever ends up ‘winning’.

      • Sorry if you picked up an insult from using the words ‘simple’. I was parrying the line there – naughty boy! Tho it got me thinking…slogans can be effective!
        Your most recent response made me like you. You come across as genuine – and that is more important than all the ‘smarts’ in the world. It makes you real. I don’t want to be a ‘font of all knowledge’, that you have to bow and scrape to. Nor do I want to ‘win’. I’d rather be your friend.

        • Thanks David. I don’t want to win either. I tend to think if I set out just to ‘win’ an argument for winning’s sake, that I wouldn’t in fact learn anything and I do actually value learning above most else. Thanks for visiting and I hope you see you around the internet (let me know if you start that blog).

  18. Nah, its all over for me, luv. I wouldn’t be motivated to start a blog. It was was just fortutious that we crossed paths (although you probably wondered what you had deserved to come across me)! I might see what you are up to from time to time, if that is OK :) Thanks for listening, and your humility.

  19. Miss your rants over coffee…

  20. Excellent headline…look forward to reading the blog (article?)…your brave…really good to see it with other writers.

  21. We do live in a country that is spoilt, no doubt about it. A taste of hardship of any kind would make you realise how good we have it here. Everything is relative I guess. One guy ranted on twitter the day about people who complained about not having a partner on valentines day. He said, ‘what about children who don’t have mother’s and father’s!”
    It just goes on and on, doesn’t it? I find myself becoming quite venal in my attitude to life now. As long as life is good for me, and a few others I know, its hard to get worked up about things reported in the media, like politics. Or anything for that matter.
    Travelling in living in some of the places you have been too, would be an eye-opener in many respects. Despite my tendency to be self-centred, even I can’t be inspired to travel to first world countries. Its so ‘touristy’. But on the other hand, I don’t want to go to countries where my life is in danger, or life is hard.
    Yes, whinging about voting does indicate how soft we have become. But what is the alternative?

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