HOWARD vs. RUDD… STATING THE OBVIOUS
It is interesting to note the recent straw polls, particularly those conducted by "current affairs" programs, which are polling viewers as to whether they will vote for John Howard or Kevin Rudd.
However, relatively few people will have the opportunity of voting for either John Howard or Kevin Rudd, unless of course those people live in either the electorates of Bennelong in NSW or Griffith in QLD.
Both of course will lead their respective parties to the polls and one will become Prime Minister, while the other may, or may not, continue to lead their party after the election.
In Australia, the Electoral Act 1917 clearly states that eligible Australians must vote for a candidate who seeks election in the electorate in which they reside and, who they believe will do the best job for their electorate.
In accordance with this Legislation, voters should be voting for a person, not the party, for as we have recently seen with the Beattie Government's forcible amalgamation of Local Authorities, local niceties matter not to the two-party system when it comes to the individual electorate. And the local party representative is powerless against the hierarchy power of their chosen political party.
Of course the promotion of either John Howard or Kevin Rudd could be explained by the pollsters, or the media, on a "well you know what we mean" basis, but while that makes it "all the simpler" it is really doing a couple of things, either knowingly or unknowingly, that will have long-term ramifications on our quality of governance.
Firstly, it is entrenching the concept of the two-party system. Now this may not always be such a bad thing providing that there is a genuine philosophical difference between the parties. This of course relates to the situation that we have with this coming Federal Election.
In relation to Mr. Rudd, it's been dubbed "me too ism" and this is supposed to cover the overt similarity of the major party positions on any number of matters. There was a time when "Labor" meant one thing and "Liberal" meant a clearly distinguishable different philosophy. Not so any more it seems. So whom you vote for may not be what you get, and at best, you could only expect a 50% satisfaction rate.
Secondly, it is an attempt to entrench into our minds a presidential system, which in turn enhances the authority of one party or philosophy to the exclusion of others. Right now there are some worrying developments with this concept as is currently happening in Queensland with the forced amalgamation of Local authorities.
And remember, a vote for Howard is really a vote for Costello, while a vote for Rudd is a vote for… well, who knows who!
So when you vote at the forthcoming Federal election be sure you vote for the candidate who will
you, your family and your community, first, second and third…and, on a full-time basis as well!
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