After around 17 days, we finally have a new government in Australia. The three Independents at last made their decision. Bob Katter wisely stayed true to his roots and went with the Coalition while the other 2 Indies went with Labor, thus giving Julia Gillard the 76 seats she needed to form government.
There is much that can be said about this result. It tells us much about so-called Independents showing us their true colours. It tells us about an electoral system which can frustrate the will of the majority. And it tells us that plenty of instability and uncertainty lies ahead.
That the two Independents effectively betrayed their electorates and robbed the Australian people of their preferred party is a great cause of concern. Both have shown their real allegiances by siding with Labor. Recall that in Windsor’s seat, New England, only 8 per cent of the vote went to Labor. And in Oakeshott’s seat of Lyne, Labor received only 13 per cent. So why in the world did these two side with Labor?
The two actually spilled the beans on this. Windsor gave his reasons as to why he went with Labor. He said if he went with the Coalition, Abbott was more likely to return early to the polls, and” I think he would win”. But Labor, he said, “are more likely to be here for a longer period of time if they can’t go back to the polls in a hurry”.
And Oakeshott, who is already now looking for a cabinet position in the Gillard Government, said Labor had “got more to lose” from an election. As Andrew Bolt remarks, “That’s right: the independents had just admitted they were foisting on voters the party most did not want. And it’s true. Labor won fewer votes, fewer seats of its own and less of the two-party preferred vote.”
Or as Janet Albrechtsen put it, “It’s a novel theory of democracy, almost as brazen as Stalin’s theory that it’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”
The raging ego of these two Independents has been on full display in the past few weeks, and we will only get more of it in the months ahead. Power-hungry Labor-stooges seems about the kindest thing we can say about the pair. They will certainly not be treated well by their electorate the next time around, following this appalling betrayal.
Indeed, it is a sad day for democracy when 700,000 more votes go to the losing party. In fact, this has been an exceptional result. Julia Gillard is the only Australian Prime Minister to twice win the top job without the majority of Australians voting for her.
And the idea that somehow this deal will result in stable, enduring government is a pipedream. Not only is Labor racked with internal divisions, hatreds and factionalism, but working now with the even fruitier Greens, and some erratic Independents, will be a disaster in the making.
It may be unlikely indeed that this non-democratically elected government will last a full three years. And when the next election does take place, it may well spell disaster for this outfit. Says Albrechtsen, “Voters must surely be thinking one thing: bring on that next election. On that score, Tony Abbott should be clear that the election campaign has begun. The last election was a sham, thanks to the independents. Windsor and Oakeshott now own the Gillard-Green government. They will be held accountable for their undemocratic decision today and the decisions made by Gillard and the Greens in the future.”
Or as Bolt remarked, “An early election is yet possible, and the demand for one may become irresistible. If it does, it can only be because this Government is seen as one without a mandate. As one that’s merely bartered its way into power with men deaf to the wishes of voters, but not to the siren of their own ambition. As one that’s proved to be as inept, still, as it seems illegitimate now. Already the next election for Labor threatens to be a greater disaster than the last. So Abbott may cry today, but will relish tomorrow.”
As to some biblical reflections, several things can be noted. My take on this election all along has been that if the Coalition would get in, we will have simply received God’s mercy. But if the Labor-Green machine got in, we would have got what we deserve – God’s justice. Now we will have our most leftist and secular government ever.
Scripture makes it quite clear that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 13:34). That plenty of big-ticket sins will be high on the agenda is already clear. Julia is perhaps our most pro-abortion PM ever, and Green’s leader Bob Brown has already said that same-sex marriage will lead his list of demands.
When you have a direct assault of some of God’s most pressing concerns, the right to life, and the institutions of marriage and family, then it is hard indeed to get much righteousness in circulation. And the religious left can spare us their mantra of social justice.
When we allow 100,000 unborn babies to be slaughtered each year, there is certainly no social justice there. Indeed, it is the height of unrighteousness and ungodliness. And that we will have in abundance with two hard-core atheists now ruling our land.
Scripture speaks much about the importance of having wise rulers. Yet with two atheists at the helm, we now have a nation run by a couple of fools (God’s verdict: Psalm 14:1; 53:1; Romans 1:21-23). We can certainly continue to pray for our leaders, as we are exhorted to do (1 Tim. 2:1-2). And recall that the outcome of those prayers is to live lives “in all godliness and holiness”.
That will certainly become much harder under this secular-left regime. Indeed, to seek to do so in the public arena will mean increasingly to face the wrath of the powers that be. More and more anti-Christian legislation will now be passed under the Labor-Green machine, with hate crime laws and other nefarious bills much more likely to now be introduced and passed.
Thus we will need to pray more and seek God more than ever before. Things may well get much worse before they get better. Persecution of true believers is now even more likely under this new ungodly regime. Be forewarned – biblical Christians are now under greater threat than in any other recent time in Australian history.
It is said that we get the government that we deserve. Australia is certainly overripe for God’s judgment. We may well have gotten what we deserve from God. But we can still bear in mind the words of Habakkuk 3:2: “In your wrath remember mercy”.
We deserve his justice and his judgment, and this election outcome may well be part of that. But we can still plead for his mercy. And we need to pray that more than ever, a carnal, apathetic and sleeping church will finally wake up and start acting as the salt and light it was always meant to be.
We also need to bear in mind that it is ultimately God who is in charge of the nations. None will last forever. They are there for a short period of time, and God can quickly and decisively move to change the state of play here. Indeed, recall passages such as the following:
“God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.” (Job 24:22-24).
Keep praying. Keep seeking God. And keep his eternal purposes in mind. We need not wallow in despair here. Sure, we can grieve with godly grief for this downward turn of events. But God will have the last word on all this. After all, the governments rest upon his shoulders.
So now is not the time to despair or give up. Now is the time to redouble our efforts, and seek to see righteousness in fact exalt this nation.