Tag Archives: Australian politics

“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.

Vote Compass ABCAnd 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.

I’m still stewing over the Liberal Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison who exhibited the sum of his human qualities with his comments about asylum seekers this week.  The Sydney Morning Herald reported Senator Eric Abetz jumping with unseemly haste onto the bandwagon of prejudice and misinformation.

Senior Liberal senator Eric Abetz on Thursday backed calls from his party’s immigration spokesman that communities be notified when asylum seekers are released from detention.

Whenever I attempt to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to express my horror, I feel lost for words.  As a human being (one of billions on this planet) I just do not get the deliberate inciting of prejudice by so-called community leaders and representatives.  I do not understand the uninformed acceptance of media grabs, devoid of facts and ignoring the complexity of issues, designed to ramp up people’s fears.  I find the peddling of racism and homophobia and any other ignorance-driven behaviours very difficult to understand.

I want to ask my fellow human beings who feel empathy with these remarks: 

what is it that you feel you have personally lost/are missing out on/is different in your life because of asylum seekers in our communities?

how does it make you feel to put other human beings in categories (criminals, queue jumpers, foreigners) that make you rationalise your hatred of people you’ve never met?

So I’m grateful for people like Nancy Cato, for being so erudite in her response.

I’m grateful that Margo Kingston is back in the game with her Citizen Journalism project

I’m grateful that Barry Cassidy pointed out the following to Scott Morrison this morning on The Insiders.  HT @KieraGorden on Twitter.

Barrie Cassidy to Morrison: “Are u aware that in the last 3 years, more politicians have been charged with offences than asylum seekers?”
3/03/13 9:20 AM

We’re better than letting ourselves be sucked into a vortex of hatred by politicians only interested in shifting our vote to keep them in positions of power and influence.  Let’s use our brains and our hearts a lot more.  Put them together and see what possibilities caring and giving might deliver us.

Independent commentary platforms are rising like fresh air out of the ashes of traditional newspapers struggling to figure out what the heck happened to their once secure empires.

Since March 2011, The Conversation has been building up an impressive collection of articles under the umbrella of one of the site’s tags – academic rigour, journalistic flair.  

The Conversation recently attracted the now ex-Fairfax journalist Michelle Grattan as a columnist.  Academics and scientists have the opportunity to contribute to this truly broad sheet of ideas and perspectives.

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We have introduced new protocols and controls to help rebuild trust in journalism. All authors and editors sign up to our Editorial Charter and Code of Ethics. And all contributors must abide by our Community Standards policy. We only allow authors to write on a subject on which they have proven expertise, which they must disclose alongside their article. Authors’ funding and potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed. Failure to do so carries a risk of being banned from contributing to the site.

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The scope is large with the majority of articles falling under the following banners.

  • Business and Economy
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All of the articles are archived and searchable.  There’s even an Explainer section where all sorts of questions are answered by scientists – What is 4G? – Why is Hendra virus so dangerous? – Why is the sky blue? – What is diabetes?

Follow the conversation (literally) on Twitter : @ConversationEDU