It struck me today, going through comments and posts, that we have a healthy international contingent at the big Z, and for those participants, the daily twists and turns of US politics may seem bewildering. Or at least a bit fuzzy; understandable, especially if you aren’t directly affected by them and don’t follow the insane drama 24/7. You all have my eternal envy if you fall into the latter category. Australia seems to have a strong skeptic community, plus they speak English! So, in the spirit of turn-about is fair play, I did a virtual walk-about through the political landscape down under.
It’s worse than I thought! I could follow a few of the broader strokes, but for the most part I was at least as lost as some of you must be reading my scribblings about our red, white, and blue democracy. What party is considered progressive, who are the conservatives? I could see some parallels, but there were other things that didn’t seem to fit neatly across the traditional left-right axis I’ve come to know and despair over here at home.
For one thing, the conservative party sounds fairly progressive on a lot of issues to me. Healthcare for example, I found no end of griping about Australia’s healthcare system, but there was plenty of consensus coming from the left and right that they do not want to ever, ever endure the nasty, miserable state of affairs afflicting Americans. That some of our southern mates even feel sorry for us, in the same way I might feel sorry for someone born to a poorer family in an impoverished nation.
On the other hand, I saw a fair bit of climate change denialism, some jabs at evolutionary biology and even an embrace for Young Earth Creationism (To wit, feel free to take Ken Hamm back and be bloody fast about it), and full-blown dominionist fundamentalism that would fit with the US evangelical right like a glove. Albeit without quite the level of vitriol so common here. Are there any resources, blogs, sites, where someone like me, who wants to develop a sound framework for Australia’s and/or New Zealand’s ideological divides with the least amount of effort in the shortest time possible, might zip through without getting swamped and lost?