“Cheesed off” is not strong enough to describe how I’ve been feeling about the state of Australian politics, particularly as this election approaches.
I’m disenchanted with the two major political parties. They will not get my vote in the future unless and until:
- they stop feeding on people’s fears and prejudices about asylum seekers and setting up unacceptable inhumane processes in the name of Australia
- they begin to work in a partisan fashion on all issues – don’t just give us words about a kinder, fairer parliament, show us how it’s done
- they act on climate change, with visionary targets
- they represent the community, not vested interests (I know that’s a big one!)
- they show leadership on job creation
- they support the majority view on marriage equality
- they value inclusiveness and diversity and opportunity for ALL Australians to achieve their goals
- they support the arts and creativity – these may be what save us from losing our soul altogether
- they bring us with them – visionary leaders make caring communities
I don’t believe that the minority government was a bad thing. And much as I was disappointed in Prime Minister Gillard’s approach to many issues, there is no doubt that she demonstrated how to work with people across all political spectrums to deliver an impressive amount of positive legislation such as The National Disability Insurance Scheme and reforms to education funding. And all this in an environment where she was being white-anted inside and outside her own political party.
Independent Members of Parliament such as Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott represented how it is possible to contribute constructively to policy in a respectful and polite way. They will be missed in the next Parliament.
I’ve expressed my frustration in face-to-face and social media conversations. I’m clearly not alone. One response in those interactions went thus:
I’ve struggled with this election too, and could easily opt out of voting. …………… But I know of too many people (especially women) who have fought for the right to vote, who queue, not for hours, but for days, to cast a vote.
So, in a serious conversation with myself, that started with “You can’t throw away your vote / vote informal / not make an effort to turn up while traveling in remote areas”, I decided to go to the policies using this tool provided by our very own ABC. If you haven’t already done so, head over here to Vote Compass to get a sense of where your views match with current policies as publicised by the parties.
This is how it worked out for me. I cast my vote yesterday.
And after the election? I reckon we have to get better at being active encouragers of our representatives to be respectful, humane and compassionate representatives with the common good in mind.
It’s our responsibility to be active constituents in our own communities. There are many examples of concerted community efforts changing decisions and the direction of policy. Hope without action doesn’t quite cut it.