Well, the federal election is over and although not every vote has been counted and there are still two seats in doubt, the Coalition will retain power. They are expected to hold 78 seats, Labor 67, the Greens will be staying on one and the rest will be made up of Independents and other minor parties.
I need to admit that in the 2019 federal election, I did not vote for the winning side.
As I sat amongst my friends, drinking beer and talking about where we’d handed out ‘how to vote’ cards I tried to fight the overwhelming need to call my mother, afraid that if I began to cry, I wouldn’t stop until the world tore apart at its seams.
The sadness is silencing, the anger is palpable, and there are going to be recriminations and discussion about where we went wrong and what needs to change.
So, I’m giving myself and the rest of the progressive movement a week. In that time, we can be as despondent as we want. Crawling under doona covers, ignoring the news, crying and cursing and being catastrophists.
Losing a battle like this feels awful, like an ice-cold hand squeezing your heart. The planet is burning, wages are stagnant and some of the most vulnerable people in this country – people of colour, asylum seekers, the queer community – are being denied human rights.
We have state governments to elect, a federal one to hold accountable, bosses to fight and a white supremacist, patriarchal society to overcome.
Not everything is awful; Fraser Anning is gone and so is Tony Abbott. The things they have done and the hatred that they have spread has not been endorsed by the Australian public.
But the battle also isn’t anywhere near over and we need every last one of us. More than ever, we need to gather our strength, put on our armour and get back in the arena.