Thursday, October 28, 2004

A fresh start for Australia 

I was there when the history was made.

No, nothing like the Dealey Plaza in Dallas in 1963, or the Berlin Wall in 1989, or indeed Manhattan in 2001, but an open office space of the 4th floor, 333 Adelaide Street in Brisbane, where for the past two weeks the Australian Electoral Commission has been painstakingly counting the Senate vote in Queensland.

At 11am the AEC official pushed the button on the computer and a specially designed software started the complex task of counting and allocating preferences in our overly complicated Senate election system.

It was all over in five minutes, and for the first time in Australia's history a state elected four conservative Senators (three Liberals and one National Party) out of the six positions which were contested this time around.

This means that for the first time in a quarter of a century Australia's center-right government has a majority in the Senate and can finally push through reforms that were stalled for the past eight and a half years by the combination of the Labor opposition, minor parties and independents.

Not any more. Here's to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape Australia into a more prosperous, more competitive and more open country. Here's to some long overdue reform.


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