Elephants Down UnderAh, yes: sane politics.
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 27, 2012
... Indeed, to go from America — amid the G.O.P. primaries — to Down Under is to experience both jet lag and a political shock. In New Zealand and Australia, you could almost fit their entire political spectrum — from conservatives to liberals — inside the U.S. Democratic Party.
For instance, there is much debate here over climate policy — Australia has a carbon tax, New Zealand has cap and trade — but there is no serious debate about climate science. Whereas in today’s G.O.P. it is political suicide to take climate change seriously, in Australia and New Zealand it is political suicide for conservatives not to.
Conservatives in Australia and New Zealand have also long accepted single-payer national health care systems. The Labor Party ruled New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, when it was replaced by the conservative National Party. During Labor’s tenure, it passed legislation legalizing civil unions, giving prostitutes the same health and safety protections as other workers, and extending income subsidies for families with children, noted Jon Johansson, a political scientist at Victoria University of Wellington. While these moves were resisted by conservatives when in opposition, he said, they have “not tried to repeal any of them” now that they are in power.
... and I understand that Wellington has a nice climate!