[Written for a certain ACT newspaper, but no response so far.]
Citizens in the Eden-Monaro electorate, which surrounds the ACT, have a chance in the coming by-election to vote for a new path in Australian politics. We can turn away from scandal, corruption, in-fighting and incompetence and towards a fair-go, full-employment Australia with a clean and healthy future.
We can turn away from the divisiveness that is having such tragic consequences in the United States. We can work together, as we have through the fires and the virus emergency.
Labor and the Coalition have spent far more energy fighting within and between themselves over the past decade than they have addressing the huge challenges facing Australia. They are systemically corrupt: the parties accept money from rich industries and pursue policies that favour those industries, commonly against the known wishes of the electorate. Dirty, expensive fossil fuels versus clean, and now cheaper, renewable energy are only the most obvious example.
The Coalition is beyond corrupt, it has been captured. Many of its MPs, including ministers, and senior staffers are direct from the mining industry, according to independent journalist Michael West. They will not phase out fossil fuels because they are the fossil fuel industry, dedicated to propping it up for as long as possible. Other industries are represented too, including arms, banks and gambling.
We are fortunate in Australia that we still have the option, potentially, to clean out the Parliament and put people there who will represent, and govern. We can to this by voting for someone other than the old parties. We can put aside our old tribal identities and decide to make a change.
If you think voting for minor parties or independents is a waste of your vote because they can’t form government, consider two points. First, you can still preference your old tribe, that’s what preferential voting is for. Second, with just a few more independents and minors the old parties will lack a majority and will have to deal with them. Minority governments are common, and successful, in many countries, and that was also true in the first decade of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Really, the old parties’ performance has been so abysmal, and so unrepresentative, why would you think they deserve to continue? We can throw them out and reclaim Parliament for the people. They could of course reform themselves and get back to their job of governing a liberal democratic country, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Karen Porter, mother of five and small business owner, is standing as an Independent. She wants to bring the love back to fire- and virus-ravaged Eden-Monaro. She wants strong action on the climate emergency, local employment with clean energy, better aged care and maternity care for the regions and more. She is associated with the New Liberals, not yet registered, who are not at all like the existing Liberals. Porter wants to put the Liberals last.
The Liberals can’t seem to bring themselves to just help people who are down through no fault of their own. They have cut some out, for no good reason. They want to cut off support as soon as possible, which will send the economy over another cliff. They are mean-spirited, and we all pay the price.
Others with constructive policies are the Science Party and the Greens. If you have thought “Oh but I couldn’t vote for ___”, well have a look at the others. Could they be worse than what we have? Anyway chances are you have been misinformed about some of them, so have a look for yourself.
Good leadership and people pulling together are what got us through the fires and the virus emergency. But the leadership has not come from the Prime Minister, it has come from fire and emergency chiefs, from medical experts and from Premiers. The PM did learn something from his hopeless failure during the fires, he learnt to ride the wave of the virus emergency response, but he has not driven it. Now he’s pushing a renovation- and fossil-fuelled recovery. He’s still working for his mates, not for us.
We can vote to make the landscape more fire-resistant, to make our towns more disaster-resilient, with plenty of local employment. We can vote to phase out fossil fuels and bring on a clean, safe, prosperous new world. We can vote for people who will bring us together, so we can continue to accomplish amazing things.