(Cairns... Far North Queensland)
THE NEW POLITICAL DIVIDE IN AUSTRALIA
quite a few years now the complaint voiced by voters has been that it's hardly
worth voting because both the major parties are so aligned, are so similar in
their policies, that the difference between them is at best marginal.
it's no good relying on your local member to deliver the goods, no matter how
good that person may be, because he
or she is wed to their party
and not the electorate.
for some years, we have derided the electoral system of any number of communist
countries or sundry dictatorships. What, we would ask, is the use of voting for
any candidate in those countries if that candidate could only represent the one
more difficult question that we now have to address is, has our democracy become
so restricted, so superficial that we are now only as well off as a communist
voter in the 1970’s?
requires a much greater level of soul searching and a level of intellectual
honesty than we are probably not all that accustomed to. We can of course make
distinctions, communist countries were "supply economies" and we are a
"demand economy" and so of course we are better off because we are
what about the voter's alternative?
the 1970’s we had a clear political choice. We had real major party policy
differences. We were either orientated towards labour or to capital, and the
choice was stark and simple. Now it's not so easy as that divide has largely
gone away and there appears to be nothing put back in its place. We seem to have
lost that simplicity, that certainty.
believe it or not, there is another divide out there that receives no attention
and the choice is again as stark and certain as ever. It's simply that we do not
relate to it. No one seems to want to talk about it especially in a language
that we can understand. And all efforts to support the divide are ignored.
divide now is between "National" and "International".
you’re not sure of this, cast your mind back to the WTO meeting in Seattle and
the disturbance that followed. More recently was
Italy. These extreme events were reported but very little in between. Of course
the world is a smaller place and changes in communications and transport have
made this even more so. All of this has to be recognised but to abandon the
"national interest" because of this is inexcusable.
we get to address aspects of this difference in any number of single-issue
items. For example the sale of Telstra, the single selling desk for grains
and sugar, the
free trade agreement with America, even our involvement in Iraq.
are we encouraged to put all these things together and say, “Hey, we have a
pattern here. What’s going on?”
short, are we being given the choice of voting for what we believe is in our own
interests? Or, is there no genuine party representation for the electorate
interests? Are the major parties so aligned to internationalism that our own
national and local interests are down the drain?
that most likely is the case.
the world the international case has been built up to such an extent that it is
now all encompassing. If you don’t believe in it, then obviously, there is
something wrong with you. Or this is what we are encouraged to believe.
the other hand the "national interest" is either depreciated or is so
misrepresented as to be almost embarrassing. You remember the joke of the
eighties that "… we
were busy building level playing fields, for the rest
of the world to screw us on". Now it's no longer a joke. It has sadly
become a reality.
these days when "national interest" candidates do get elected they are
decried in the worldwide media and regarded as some sort of anomaly, and put
under what could only be described as inordinate scrutiny.
reasons for this of course are many and varied and are well beyond the scope of
a short comment. And like the "National/International" distinction,
it’s probably purposely obscured and confused.
we do know is that it will take guts, skill and determination to break the
existing mould and it won’t be easy. And the longer it goes the harder it will
is therefore time for people who are interested in the long-term well being of
our nation, and for our future generations, to start organising their thoughts,
putting all the aspects together and taking this argument back to the major
parties. This will, or should, cause them to take a stand one way or the other,
or to admit their cohesion of purpose in representing international interests in
preference to the "national
"outing" will allow a reasoned assessment of their ability, or perhaps
willingness, to represent the particular needs of Queenslanders.
questions that can be asked are,
perhaps we should all let the usual
rhetoric just slip by and focus on the new divides, even if they are presently
obscured, and work out who is acting in the long-term interests of Australia.
Malcolm Frazer is credited with saying (perhaps repeating) in recent times “There’s no such thing as a free meal”.
of a sudden the mere promise of a free meal seems good enough irrespective of
the price. But not, I’m sure, for most of us.
So let's say so, and vote... INDEPENDENT.
Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870 Australia