By the end of election night, it seemed pretty obvious that we were in for an extended period of bargaining before a government could be formed. That seemed unlikely to be an edifying process – the usual expectation would be for a massive pork-barrel auction, throwing roads, dams and other goodies at the electorates whose members were lucky enough to be pivotal. Amazingly, so far at least, the reverse has happened. In its deals with the Greens and Andrew Wilkie, Labor has been forced to dump stupid focus-group policies (like the citizens jury), take on powerful interests (like the gambling lobby) and commit to a range of process improvements. The remaining independents (particularly Oakeshott) have made similar noises, so it’s possible to hope for a government much better than either of the miserable alternatives that appeared to be on offer a couple of weeks ago.
Of course, things can still go wrong, and recent experience suggests they probably will. But, at least for one weekend, there’s a bit of hope in the air.