Allan Takes Aim Blog

OZ voters drowning in Asylum politics

Posted on: 28 July 2013

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OZ voters drowning in Asylum politics

I have decided to give the watery space between Indonesia and Christmas Island a new name:  ‘Asylum Strait` if only because it describes where much of Australia’s current political discussion is centred. Perhaps too, because many people are of the view that even if possible refugees survive the Asylum Straits the next part of their journey could be through Dire Straits on the way to Papua New Guinea to be incarcerated on Manus Island, which many of them might well come to remember as Detention Island, an island on which they would like to settle some Australian politicians for three years or more.

That the discussion is centred on the Asylum Straits comes as no surprise because day after day, the subject seems to be at the forefront of political commentators’ minds in the press, radio and TV, as we read, hear or see them voicing their opinions which, by their content, show almost total disregard for the policies of every party but the one they support, so in the hope that this will prevent them being accused of bias.

As a strong believer in free speech, I think it reprehensible that media organisations – particularly if publicly funded – which pride themselves on informing the community do not ensure their political commentators declare where their political support lies before commenting. Questioned on this, their explanation that everyone knows which party the commentator supports is not good enough.

A political agnostic and believer in free speech I have no problem with people who support a particular party. Sadly, and unfortunately, too many people support political parties without knowing what the party stands for but support it because their parents did/do, or because the party leader has a nice smile, or supports the same football team, or likes classical music, or art, or whatever.

Indeed some people don’t actually vote because they know the local candidate but for the leader as if all candidates have the same talent as the leader. They don’t! That being the case voters often get a government they don’t want.

Today, unfortunately, politics is a battle of popularity; policy plays second fiddle. Indeed people often vote for the party if the synopsis of the policy sounds good and that party’s proposed PM looks good when presenting it on TV.

Although many parties are likely to contest the nest federal election, it is extremely unlikely the next PM will be other than a Labor or Liberal MP. Indeed many of the candidates from the other parties are likely to lose their deposit. However, The Greens, The Bob Katter Party, Palmer United Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party among others, are all likely to affect the outcome of the election; whether for good or bad is hard to say.

But what is not in doubt are the issues that will probably decide the election such as, which of the  two men Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd do voters trust more and to some extent  which of the two men are strongly trusted by their own party.

While the Asylum Seekers will play its part, the issue it will not be the issue that will decide the next election but will only be one of many issues: Climate Change; Carbon Tax; Mining Tax; Education Reform; Renewable Energy; Health Services; Superannuation; Welfare Services; Disability Care and Economic Policy, the policy that must be successful to ensure that every other policy is successful.

Although the election campaign has not yet started officially, voters already have a wealth of policy to think about. That being the case I urge you not to be distracted by superficial and glib responses from the Prime Ministerial candidates that fail to answer questions. And forget about accusations of negativity; any accusation about someone else’s negativity is, in itself, negativity in action.

Finally, voters should understand that what people in Canberra might think important issues might not be of the same importance to voters in every other state or Territory. So make sure you only cast your vote for local candidates.

Comment welcome.

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1 Response to "OZ voters drowning in Asylum politics"

Specifically, the material must be neutral and unbiased in its statement of candidates and must include candidates’ positions on a broad range of issues. A voter guide cannot endorse candidates or direct individuals to vote for or against a candidate. Also, the voter guide or scorecard must not contain editorial comments about any political party aimed at inducing voters in a particular way. This includes grading the candidate on his or her stands on the issues of the day.

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