Our future swinging on a vote

I’m disappointed. And depressed.

It’s not JUST because of the vacuous Federal election campaign. It’s not JUST because of Tony’s penchant for using derogatory language (aka ‘boat people’ & ‘aussie battlers’). It’s not JUST because Julia, the bright hope of all women, is leaving the climate change policy to a bunch of also-ran’s from next door to work out.

It’s the swingers. This whole election, the future of this country for the next 3 years, my daughters future, lies in the fickle hands of a handful of swinging voters. Have you heard them talk on the radio and tv? Believe me, this is not a good situation for any of us.

On the 7.30 Report last week I watched a bloke being interviewed as his boat skidded across a lake in NSW. ‘What’s important to you in this election?’ he was asked. ‘Boat people,’ he replied. He went on to say they’ve got to be stopped because they’re taking our jobs. And the cost of living. Everything has gone up he says as he pushes the speed boat up a notch. ‘I mean, life’s okay – but it could be better.’

It could be better?

Let’s put this in perspective. This guy is in a boat. Not because he’s escaping a regime that’s threatening to kill him or torture his family. He’s been fishing. Obviously he can afford a boat for leisure purposes (rather than survival) – and I’m guessing he can afford a mortgage, food for his family and he’s probably got a widescreen TV (maybe 2) and has a holiday at the beach every year or two. But life could be better… apparently.

He is a swinging voter in a marginal electorate. All our votes count, but his vote counts more. He and his neighbours are going to decide on the policies and people that will govern this country for the next three years. And not for a moment did I hear him mention an issue that affected anyone in this country but him.

Let’s see – homelessness (which is getting to plague proportions and not just in out cities but in major regional centres too)? Blank. Water? Blank. Murray Darling? Blank. Indigenous issues? Blank. Climate change, population, food security, education, employment? Blank, blank, blank, blank.

This bloke was only interested in policies that affected him personally. He’s not the only one. I hear it everywhere. Swinging voters will vote for policies that directly impact on them – parental leave schemes, work choices, cost of living, hand outs – or not. 

Australia – where is your vision???

I have heard much criticism levelled at this election from all sides of the political fence and it is much deserved. The pollies and pollsters know which side their bread is buttered on. It’s there in the glib slogans that mask the complexity of the issues we face as a nation and our desperate attempts to return to the golden years of the 50’s when land, water, food and jobs were plentiful.

We need to grow up as a nation and create a vision for our future that accommodates the challenges of climate change, reconciliation, population and immigration; a nationa that embraces a set of values that all of us can hold up as being true. 

Fair go? Fair go just doesn’t cut it anymore when our Government is about to be elected on the basis of a few self-interested swingers.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. angela snow
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 23:58:56

    hi Kate

    i agree it’s depressing. however, we also need to remember that the media is very selective in what they show. clearly many people are fearful about being swamped by asylum seekers, and i think we need to address this fear. unfortunately, politicians and the media just tend to ramp up the fear level, rather than educating people about the relatively small number of asylum seekers who come here. it would be so refreshing to hear more stories about asylum seekers who have settled into local communities, and how this enriches our culture.


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