So the ultra-conservatives won the election with ease. If taken at their word (not that I see any reason to trust Tony Abbott), Australia will now be prepared to use military force to stop refugee boats coming in from Indonesia, they'll strip away the carbon tax and simultaneously cut aid to Pacific nation neighbours trying to deal with rising ocean levels, they get rid of safety regulations on day-care for infants, block marriage equality, reinstate welfare bonuses to the richest and cut wages for the rest.
All pretty horrific. Yet I found myself shrugging off the loss like I did on hearing the results of the last Canadian election. Yes, it is horrible, but no longer personal. It would have been better for Australia if the percentage of small-minded fools was 45% instead of 55%*, but even if the election had gone the other way, it still means that the majority of Australians today are xenophobic and selfish. That is just not a country I find it easy to emphasize with, and after nearly 10 years living abroad my outrage at the result is only intellectual and no longer also emotional.
* I'm sure it is far higher than 55%. Sure, anyone willing to vote for Abbott needs to be either a bigot, or selfish enough to ignore Abbott's bigotry. But ALP voters are not ubquitiously progressives - the anti-refugee policies advocated by Labor were only slightly less harsh than Abbott's. I expect that only ~10% of Australians would agree with the combination of i) a compassionate and humane refugee policy, ii) marriage equality to same-sex couples and iii) a tax on carbon dioxide production proportionate to the damage it will cause.