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Abbott vs. Rudd: Some Americans Decide

Australians get excited about US elections. But does this principal apply in reverse? Do Americans get excited about Australian elections? Of course they do. So who would they vote for?
Julian Morgans
Κείμενο Julian Morgans
21.8.13

Australians get excited about US elections. To us they’re like soap opera versions of our own political showdowns, just without the frustration and apathy that comes when you’re talking about a country you have to live in. So does this principal apply in reverse? Do Americans get excited about Australian elections? Of course they do. That’s a dumb question. The real one is who they’d vote for. To find out we headed to Lexington, Kentucky, where the good people voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney in 2012 (60.49 percent). We were interested in how these politics translate, and whether anyone actually knows anything about the election. Get ready to be surprised and very not.

Albert from Lexington.

VICE: Hi Albert, who would you vote for in the Australian election?
I didn’t know you had elections.

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We do. Here are photos of the candidates—any immediate thoughts?
That one (Rudd) looks like our mayor, I don’t like him.

How do you vote here?
Me? I’m a democrat. Always have been. Just be for the people, help people find jobs, that’s what I say.

Do you have a message for someone who wants to be prime minister?
Well I don’t know about Australia but I just say be for the people.

Melissa, Cass, Steven, Callum. Family from Flint, Michigan.

Hey guys, here are our candidates for prime minister. Who would you vote for?
Cass:I’ve seen that face (Abbott). I know that face but I don’t trust it. But then you shouldn’t judge someone just on their looks.

Right well that’s Tony Abbott, the leader of the Liberal Party. One of his policies is to repeal our tax on carbon emissions. The other guy, Kevin Rudd, wants to keep the tax. Who would you vote for?
Well it’s hard to judge man. It’s like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. One person always has good views that are good for one person but not necessarily good for another. I’ve always liked the guy who looks out for the environment but then without the corporations you don’t have work. It’s hard you know.

Very diplomatic. Let’s dumb it down. Who has the better haircut?
Cass: Him, the Abbott feller. He’s got short hair and I’m all about short hair.
Callum:Yeah, and that guy (Rudd) has grey hair. I hate grey hair.

I’d rather not use my name. I don’t need the publicity. Lexington.

So what do you know about the election?
Absolutely nothing and I’m embarrassed to say so. Too many North Americans think North America is the centre of the world and it isn’t. It’s not even near the centre.

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You sound worldly. What can you tell me about Australia?
I think I could locate it on a map. I also know a little about the outback and the aboriginal tribes and the capital, Sydney.

It’s Canberra.
Sorry, Canberra.

It’s a classic mistake. So whose face do you trust more from these two photos?
Neither of them. All politicians speak before they know what they’re speaking about and before they get into office they make promises they can’t keep. Those two will do it too. You can bet on it.

Lance (Lexington) and Meagan (Chicago). Dating for one year.

What do you know about the election?
Nothing. It’s not on TV.

OK well, in really broad terms this guy (Rudd) is the leader of the Labour party and they’re probably more aligned with the Democrats. This guy (Abbott) is the leader of the Liberals and they have more in common with the Republicans. Who would you vote for?
Lance: Well I’ve have always been a Democrat. I’m low budget, my family is low budget and the Democrats help us out more. I like some of what the Republicans talk about but when it comes to those who don’t make enough money they just cut you out of the picture.

What about you Meagan?
Meagan: I wouldn’t know. That one’s got big ears. (Abbott).

Yes. He does have big ears.

Bonny from Versailles, KY. Horticulturalist.

Hi Bonny. What have you heard about the Australian election?
Not a word. You’ve got a prime minister or a president?

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A prime minister. He’s Kevin Rudd and he’s running for re-election
I’ve never seen him before. I just know about the Great Barrier Reef, marsupials and Black Marlins. Surf’s up.

Based on appearance who would you vote for?
Oh, I never judge on appearance. I’d just vote for the person who’s in touch with the issues of the average person. I’m a democrat.

What would you say to our politicians anywhere?
Quit being so short sighted and pay attention to environmental impacts of short sighted decisions.

Steven. Lexington.

Hi Steven, I’m guessing you don’t know we’re having an election?
Never heard of it.

No one has. Which country aside from the US do you hear the most about?
England. We don’t hear about their politics though.

Ok, well these are our candidates for prime minister. Who would you vote for?
Not him (Rudd). He looks like a crook.

He’s the leader of the Labour Party; they’ve got a similar ideology to the democrats.
Right, never mind what I said. I’ll go for the crook. I’m a democrat so I’ll vote for whoever will do the best for me. I’m a gay man so most of the time it’s the Democratic Party that supports what I need.

Well Kevin Rudd has pledged to introduce a bill on gay marriage within 100 days if re-elected.
So that’s my man there. I just want a government that treats people as people.

Ronny Donahue. Lexington. DJ and Grocery clerk.

VICE: Hey Ronny, have you heard about the Australian election?
No.

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Have you ever heard anything about Australian politics?
No.

Ok, what do you know about Australia?
I know that it’s big and has a big rock. Also Flight of the Concords and Lord of the Rings aren’t Australian.

Very good. So back to politics, this guy, Kevin Rudd, wants to send refugees to Papua New Guinea and this guy, Tony Abbott, wants to turn the boats back. Who would you vote for?
Honestly, I’d go for him (Abbott). At least that way they’re going home and not to some place they didn’t want to be in the first place.

And whose face do you trust more?
The same guy. He (Rudd) looks shrink-wrapped.

Follow Julian on Twitter: @MorgansJulian

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