Anger with the two major parties was the clear winner this federal election as a quarter of the electorate gave their first preference to independents, Greens or minor parties. The Socialist Alliance (SA) ran in the Senate in three states, and in four lower house seats. Despite its blanket exclusion from the corporate media, its reliance on small donations and its radical message, its votes increased in two lower house seats, dipped in two others and increased our Senate vote in NSW and WA compared to the previous election.
The death of Lance-Corporal Jared Mackinney in Oruzgan province in Afghanistan on August 25 brought the death toll of Australian soldiers to 21 — 10 of whom have died since June. Mackinney was the third Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan in four days. Defence minister Senator John Faulkner defensively admitted at a media conference the same day that Australians are increasingly questioning the near nine-year old war.