Politics: Accidental Volunteering, and Deliberate Reading

This time, it’s political…

I’ve been reading the Australian Greens’ policy document today. All 92 pages (online, of course) of it. This seemed an appropriate step since I accidentally volunteered to hand out how to vote cards / do scrutineering on election day. Well, not accidentally. But certainly in a spur of the moment, hey look, the Greens’ campaign office is at this tramstop, sort of way.

It’s an interesting document. I like every one of their social policies. Nice strong public healthcare and education are always going to be winners with me, and they are strongly in favour of legalising gay marriage. Always a good sign. Their environmental policies tend toward the fanatical, but most are intended to come into play over a 20-50 year period, which makes them a little less scary. I have reservations about their ability to fund all of this, though. I might ring the local candidate and ask for further information. The thing is, I know virtually nothing about economics, but I rather suspect that one can’t fund absolutely every worthwhile social program, no matter how pleasing (or altruistic) this may be. This is not, however, going to stop me voting Green. Australia needs a viable third – or even fourth – party desperately. I should also mention that there is something about their manner that I find appealing, but I can’t put my finger on it. They seem to be more community oriented and consultative, but this may be just a small party thing.

I suppose I really ought to read the Liberal, Labor and Democrat party documents, if only for the sake of equity, but I don’t think I can bear the Liberals in my current state, and I have a horrible feeling that the Labor party will depress me even further. If only because they are supposed to be the party that represents people like me, but they seem to have given up and decided to imitate the Liberal party. The Liberal party no doubt has its uses, but I would much rather have a government that forms its own foreign (and internal) policy, rather than slavishly imitating the USA. We are a separate country, with quite a different history and culture, different population mix and size, and different attitudes. What works (or doesn’t work) in the USA is not necessarily going to work here, and their interests are not identical to our interests.

Perhaps I am not being fair. And I will try to read the other documents – and report back.

I’m also getting fed up with this idea that you shouldn’t vote for minor parties if you want to get rid of the current government because this takes votes away from parties with a real chance to get government. Um. As far as I can see, this is a fine way of making sure the minor parties stay minor parties and never get a chance at government. And given that we have preferential voting, you can still put the current government last. And you know, even if Labor doesn’t get a clear majority, that doesn’t mean that the Liberals will. All it means is that someone is going to have to form a coalition – or get enough of the minor party members or independents on their side – if they want to govern. On the whole, this might be the best option of the lot, at least for those of us who are having trouble telling the two major parties apart…

I suspect my ideal outcome is a Labor/Green coalition or alliance – no clear majority to any one party, but Labor being forced to work with the Greens in order to form a government (since the Democrats can no longer be relied upon to ‘keep the bastards honest’). Maybe the Greens can force the Labor party back towards some of their more traditional, worker-oriented and social-justice inclined values – and perhaps in the process gain enough credibility and experience to find a way to make their wonderful, idealistic, but not y et entirely realistic goals and policies into reality.

We need to move away from this whole ‘two-party’ habit we have.

This message was brought to you by someone who knows virtually nothing about politics – but who is, nevertheless, a voter.

Oh, and one other thing. If you are fond of the smaller parties, volunteer to hand out how to vote cards etc. They really need people to do that. I know that I, for one, am much less likely to vote for a party who apparently doesn’t think my polling booth rates a representative (if they don’t care about me, why should I care about them?) – and from what I gathered when I spoke to the lady at the campaign office, I’m not the only one. Smaller parties really do get more votes in the booths where people are there handing out how to vote cards. Food for thought.

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