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HomeMay 2016 Issue 115

YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THE 50,000

Tim Benson

Boom, and we are off to another Australian Federal election. A 55-day war-of-words that may lead to a peaceful transition of government or the ongoing
Coalition government. I thought I might muse in this column about something that has been on my mind for some time now.That is: should we vote on issues that impact on our individual lives or on broader issues that we believe important to society? I mean, if our representatives are supposed to reflect a broad section of our society then shouldn’t we be honest about the issues that impact on our individual lives and then these views will be better reflected by those that supposedly represent us in parliament? Some may say this is exactly what we have and this needs to change.They may suggest that for the majority of us to maintain our privileged way of life we need to be more egalitarian and think of the needs of our fellow citizens as a way of protecting and building on the status quo. Of course we can pretend that we influence policy by voting, but it’s not really influencing is it? It’s more like endorsing.Very few Australians belong to the Labor, Liberal or Green political organisations. In fact, so few that if you really wanted to have a say, be heard and influence actual policy, convincing 20 of your mates to strategically join and advocate for particular candidates and positions in an electorate could lead to you ‘owning’ actual politicians. If you are a ‘rusted-on’ voter in a safe seat, your vote won’t make a difference. But, if you are a swinging voter in a marginal seat, or a ‘rusted-on’ voter that switches sides in a marginal seat, your vote is like gold. So, when it all comes down to it, about 100,000 Australians are members of the major political parties (combined),so if you want to influence policy and preselections,sign up.If you want to influence the outcome of elections it will come down to about 50,000 well placed votes in 40 marginal seats … enjoy the election campaign.

Tim Benson, Publisher
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