Election 2016: Australia’s divisions take centre stage

Malcolm Turnbull's double-dissolution disaster has left the Senate even more unpredictable.
Malcolm Turnbull's double-dissolution disaster has left the Senate even more unpredictable.

Opinion

In the past 50 years, has Australia ever been more divided?

Along lines of race, generation and wealth, we seem to be a nation at ideological war – fought with memes, on social media, heating up with most intensity during Q&A on a Monday night.

Bill Shorten’s attack on negative gearing turned parents against children, rich against poor.

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Both major parties’ refusal to budge on their ‘stop the boats’ rhetoric led people to look for alternatives.

Those who want to see an inclusive Australia moved further to the left and the Greens, while the ‘f*** off we’re full’ brigade looked right to Pauline Hanson and beyond.

Unable to see a path forward, voters in Queensland went back to the future by electing Hanson to the Senate.

Ms Hanson, whose views on Asian immigration made uncomfortable reading 20 years ago, now wants to hold a Royal Commission into the “corruption” that is climate science.

She also wants a “Royal Commission to determine if Islam is a religion or political ideology” and to “stop further Muslim Immigration and the intake of Muslim refugees”.

After the disaster that was the Brexit, an excellent piece in The Guardian spoke about the danger writ large in electing “journalist politicians”.

Australia, certainly, has already been through Tony Abbott and the ‘death cult’ of his limited thinking.

Now we have Senator Derryn Hinch to look forward to, in a house that – if possible – has become even more unpredictable in the wake of Malcolm Turnbull’s double-dissolution disaster.

Strap yourselves in Australia.

Perhaps this result, this potentially hung Parliament, is exactly what we need and deserve.

After a campaign fought with no shades of grey, getting them all together in a room to thrash it out and find some common ground might be just what the doctor ordered.