Allan Takes Aim Blog

The Assembly needs new bloood

Posted on: 8 August 2012


Published hard copy of The Chronicle, Canberra, 7 August 2012.
I think it’s about time the media stopped describing Canberra as a Labor town. Indeed when I first came to Canberra in 1970 I wondered why it was given that title as most Canberrans I met would not have been recognised as labouring for a living in the town I came from in the UK. I am also hard pressed to think of many Canberrans as Liberals no doubt due to the fact that I found it difficult to think of Canberra as an egalitarian society as claimed by many Canberrans (and Australians).

Now for a more serious and soon to be pressing problem: the next ACT election. While you might not think it either a serious or pressing problem I think it’s time Canberra voters started to give serious thought about the people they should elect to the ACT Assembly on Saturday 20th October.

Indeed, what could be more serious than Canberra voters casting aside the apathy about politics that current and past Members of the Assembly have induced in us then asking: do we want these same seventeen people as Members of the Assembly for another four years or do we only want some of them plus a healthy dose of new blood? From where I sit, it seems to me that only by following the latter path will Canberra voters achieve a truly democratic and representative government.

As the situation stands at the moment, both locally and federally, elections have now become battles for political supremacy between one of two competing business organisations called Labor and Liberal and the non-business Green Party. The strange thing is that each party says that only their policies can deliver the Utopian society in which everyone can live happily ever even though their leaders know that such a society is undeliverable.

Perhaps what politics really needs is a Realist Party which says it will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and in doing so make itself a unique political party. Sadly, one has to say, that based on available evidence the life of such a party would be of short duration. Indeed too often, and sadly, truth has caused the (political) death of many politicians who dared speak it.

You would think also the weight of historical evidence about politics would be enough to deter small parties and Independents from what has become modern political practice at election time of politicians knowingly traducing the reputation of these parties with what often proves false allegations of misbehaviour. In bygone days the members of such parties and independents, despite a shortage of resources, continued to keep their reputations intact as they tried to bring their ideas to voters.

Let it not be forgotten that once upon a time today’s major parties were minor parties that could well have disappeared but for the faith of followers with tunnel vision who had hung on to the belief that their ideas were best. Today, sadly, many followers of these parties – often referred to as rusted on – still hold on to those ideas as do some of their elected members despite dramatic political changes and changes in societies across the world.

But one thing Canberra should be proud of is that is that since being granted self-governing status it has thrown up individuals and small parties comprised of people with the courage to put their ideas on the line for judging by voters.

Unfortunately, it is at this point that egalitarianism disappears. The major parties have sewn up the electoral system to prevent any of the latter from progressing. Even sadder is that the former are supported by media which, despite its rhetoric about reporting without fear or favour, does the opposite. Sadly, they treat the small parties and Independents as if they are dogs looking for a bone by occasionally giving them a scrap of air time or press space.

Lest you think I am anti Labor, Green and Liberal, I am not. Each party has people I respect as politicians because for me they are politicians for whom the community they seek to serve is the most important. These are the people I hope will be elected or re-elected.
dca@netspeed.com.au
For Canberra’s best Community News The Chronicle. Published on line every Wednesday at: http://www.chronicleonline.com.au

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