By Ad astra
Although recent public opinion polls have suggested that some people are losing faith in democracy, how many would prefer another style of governance? Very few! Yet our Australian democracy does have one telling defect: usually, we have a chance to vote for a federal government only once every three years. Once we’ve voted, we are then stuck with our choice until the next election.
How many times have you heard people lament this electoral helplessness? How many times have you read in the social media how much some voters would like to oust the federal Coalition government? How many times have you sensed the frustration people feel as they contemplate having to endure it until 2022? How many times have you heard both journalists and ordinary people express disappointment about the poor performance of Scott Morrison? Yet, we are stuck with him, and his cohort of incompetent, even corrupt ministers.
Incompetent? Think about the LNP’s longstanding lack of climate and energy policies. Think about its inability to take meaningful action in pursuit of the worldwide goal of zero net emissions by 2050. Think about its inadequate planning for drought, fire and flood emergencies. Think about how our PM rejected the offer of expert advice about these threats. Think about the LNP’s disjointed recovery plans after the recent fires and floods. Think about a stuttering economy now facing a fading surplus, rising unemployment and underemployment, a shamefully low Newstart allowance, chronic wage stagnation, poor productivity, and lagging R&D investment. Although on the face of it Morrison’s response to Covid19 might see reasonable, the way he is using it an excuse for a weak economy is not..
Corruption? Think about the continuing ‘sports rort’ saga, the ‘you are not allowed to see’ Gaetjens Report that says ‘there’s nothing to see here’ even though it contradicts the detailed Report of the Auditor General, the validity of which has been once more confirmed in Senate Estimates by those who prepared it. If you need more convincing, read this. Think about how 83% of the Coalition’s $3 billion, election-era Urban Congestion Fund went to government or marginal seats. Think about the Angus Taylor imbroglio, which seems to have no end. Think about the strife-ridden Nationals tearing themselves apart with self-interest. Think about the hard-core denial by the conservative rump of the LNP of the reality and consequences of climate change, and their ideologically driven advocacy for more coal-fired power stations at a time when the rest of the world is abandoning them. If these are not corrupt behaviours, what on earth are they?
So what can we do? This short piece is a clarion call to Speak out.
This is what this blogsite has been doing since 2008 via 868 posts to date – amounting to some two million words. How much influence The Political Sword has had is impossible to know. Yet we have had sufficient faith in it to continue it uninterruptedly for 12 years. In its earlier years each post might attract as many as 300 comments, but competition from the proliferation of alternative news and political websites has resulted in this falling away.
Aware of the limitations of our political website, this piece appeals to all of you to give us a hand, to let your voices be heard often and loudly. Do speak out!
One option is via online comments on this and other news and political blogsites, and through the social media. Some of you do this every day; we invite all of you to do likewise. You may even like to try your hand at writing a piece for The Political Sword. If this appeals to you, send an email to Ad Astra at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain further information.
Another avenue is via your local newspaper. Many still exist. They carry local news, which is always of interest to locals. Hungry for content, they will welcome your contribution. You may have more difficulty having a ‘Letter to the Editor’ accepted by State or National newspapers, but it’s worth a try. As you know, some do actually get published!
Another option is via your local member of federal parliament. It matters not whether he or she is a member of your preferred party. Local members are there to represent your views in parliament and its committees, even if different from their own. Visit their electoral office and say to the member: “You may not agree with my views, but I insist you take them to your party room and your committees, and express them forcibly; I want your colleagues to know what I think”. The member is obliged to do so, to represent you as an individual voter.
Each of us has but a small voice, but thousands of small voices can make a lot of noise. We know that parliamentarians are very sensitive to letters sent to them by constituents, so long as they are courteous and respectful. While a couple of letters on the same subject might be ignored, more than a few ring alarm bells for them, and evoke a frightened response. We’ve known that for ages. Writing a letter has more potency than sending an email. Parliamentarians receive thousands of emails, which are too easy to delete.
Here is a website that gives advice about how to write to a parliamentarian. This example is particularly useful as it focuses on climate change, a subject you may wish to address with your MP. Here’s another resource.
Please join hands with us at The Political Sword to facilitate the changes to the governance of our country we all desire and deserve.
This article was originally published on The Political Sword.
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