I would love to consider myself a protest voter these days, given I am rather skeptical about the sincerity or general decency of the current government, and have never been particularly enamoured of the current opposition, much as Albo seems, on the surface at least, to be authentic and (formerly) cuddly.
However, living out in Avondale Heights, I can have the luxury of protest voting all I like, or remaining a rusted on voter for my usual party of choice, and it will not make any difference, it being a very safe ALP seat.
Whilst I am probably far better off financially than most people, I do not come from money and could never afford to live in a potentially Teal seat.
In those lush upper middle class seats in the fashionable parts of Melbourne and Sydney, where people far more posh and privileged than I am dwell, protest voting actually can be quite powerful, if you are trying to unseat your local Liberal.
There is a hilarious article in Quadrant online at the moment about the spam texts the joyously cashed up and woke Allegra Spender has been sending out about her Teal campaign, in which you can dialogue with her automated text bot about all sorts of issues which are near and dear to her woke patrician heart. Turns out that 50 shades of diversity, along with the environment, is an issue very important to her.
And herein lies one of the many paradoxes about the Teal candidates. They are all highly privileged, wealthy, white, Anglo women (Allegra is half Italian, I admit, but that half is probably even more posh than the Anglo half) from well connected backgrounds.
Amongst the Liberal MPs they are trying to unseat, there are three Jews (Zimmerman, Falinski and Freydenburg), one Indian, and two Gays (Zimmerman and Wilson). Take out the penises, and there is far more diversity amongst those than there are amongst these somewhat petulant Teals.
It does strike me that the Teal surge is more about the highly privileged gentry angrily protesting that their elected servants (ie MPs) are not obeying them to the degree that they would like.
I am reminded of reading the Phones Finn novels in Anthony Trollope’s superb Palliser series, where pocket (aka ‘rotten’) boroughs still proliferate and the aristocrats can nominate their boon companions for an almost guaranteed admission to the Commons.
And behind the Teals, we have Simon Holmes A Court, descendent of the 2nd Baron Heytesbury, a man from the class whose most powerful members used to hold their pocket boroughs close to their hearts.
The question does arise as to whether I would vote Teal if I was in one of those seats? The answer is simply that I do not have the wealth or luxury to have that choice. Living in Brighton or Kew is way beyond my means.
And that just illustrates how out of touch the Teals are – even if their current Liberal representatives are not exactly men of the people.