Over to you, Australia
I suspect some of you at least are weary of the election campaign and many of you would have already voted. I thought about voting early this year, but I find election day, when Australians of all stripes meet at schools and halls, inspiring. The older I get, the more I appreciate what a fragile and precious thing a democracy is, so the day itself is worth celebrating.
Today, The Age published our election editorial, in which we endorsed Labor as the best choice to form the next government. No doubt some of you will agree with it, and others will disagree, but I do think The Age should have a view.
One thing I will watch for tomorrow is whether the realignment of our politics that has been underway for some years now is cementing. Will the Liberal Party lose ground in its leafy heartland and gain support in more working-class outer suburbs, and will Labor become more entrenched as an inner-city socially progressive party? If the disillusionment with our major parties intensifies that would have long-term implications for how we are governed.
I would say this, but I am proud of The Age’s coverage. Every day, there are issues I think we could have covered better or focused on more strongly, but overall, I think our journalism has been fair, with a good mix of politics and substance. Our opinion and analysis pieces have been varied and challenging. If you read The Age, I hope you feel that you have been informed on key issues. Our Canberra bureau and many Melbourne-based reporters have been working at a punishing pace, and I want to thank them all.
We tried an experiment this year, to cover two seats, Goldstein and Chisholm in depth online. We added Kooyong to that later in the campaign. The idea was to step away from the presidential focus on the leaders and instead go deep in critical seats to tease out what matters to people on the ground. This has given an extra dimension to our coverage, and generated much greater engagement with our readers.
On this election eve, I will share a few stories you may have missed, or might want to revisit before you vote. On the economy, senior economics correspondent Shane Wright has led our coverage. Here he is on debt and deficits. And again. And here he is on wages.
We have had a lively debate about housing affordability and whether using superannuation for a home deposit is a good idea. Waleed Aly’s view is that both major parties are “offering policies that are unlikely to work for the common reason that they are not designed to reduce (or even stall) house prices”.
Jessica Irvine argues that “young people should be engaging in a conversation about whether they want as much of their money going off to fund their retirement versus keeping more in their pockets to buy property.”
Our Indigenous affairs reporter Jack Latimore asked Indigenous leaders what was the most pressing issue and for many it was not the debate over an Indigenous Voice to parliament. It was health and housing, saving Indigenous languages and the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in prison.
Early in the campaign, environment and climate editor Nick O’Malley had a close look at the major parties’ policies on climate change and whether they were ambitious enough to limit global warming to the extent scientists say we must. More recently, we questioned 10 senior climate scientists about their views of the campaign and the policies.
I could go on, but will leave with you just a couple more. We asked readers what questions they would like answered, and we attempted to answer them here.
And, because Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are human beings, we asked a close friend of each of them to write about the person they know and care about. Karen Harrington wrote about her friend of 30 years, Scott Morrison: “What many don’t know is that no matter what’s on Scott’s plate – sitting weeks, national security emergencies, speeches, geopolitical issues – he always makes time to support and help his friends and family, never letting on how exhausted or busy he is.”
And Alex Bukarica wrote about Anthony Albanese’s mother, Maryanne, who had a profound disability. “From this environment Anthony developed two traits that define him today. The first is his kindness and empathy. This is where Maryanne’s moral compass has imprinted itself on his character. Anthony continues to be guided by an innate sense of what Maryanne would have thought was the right thing to do, even though she died 20 years ago.”
Over to you, Australia.
Gay Alcorn sends a newsletter to subscribers each week. Sign up to receive her Note from the Editor.
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