I often post political content on social media. Any politician who appears to be breaking promises or doing things that are deceitful, immoral or harmful to Australia, her people and her international reputation are sure to get a mention. That’s because Australia, Australians and our international image are important to me. This is a fantastic country, even though we haven’t always done the right thing or managed things in quite the right way. Yes, the white settlers were generally hateful and cruel to the Aboriginal people, although there were some exceptions. I rejoiced when the Mabo decision in the High Court gave back some of the land to the Aboriginal peoples from whom it had been wrenched. I agreed with the report into the Stolen Generations, and I rejoiced when the severely overdue National Apology was made, even though I didn’t like the Prime Minister who made that apology very much at all.. I applauded last year’s apology to victims – both mothers and children – of forced adoptions in Australia during the 50s, 60s and 70s, who had waited and grieved for decades before their pain was officially acknowledged. I supported the review of educational funding carried out by the previous government, regardless of the fact that I didn’t like many of the things that PM did during her political career, either.
In that sense, I’m not particularly aligned with, partisan to or biased against any one party of politicians or another. I take pride in being a swinging voter who makes decisions about voting through conscientious debate and careful research into the policies, intentions and past behaviour of both the candidates and the parties who jostle for my vote. I don’t start from a position of having trust in any of them. I don’t doubt that there are some who genuinely want to serve their country, at least when they enter politics, but the overwhelming impression I get from watching our politicians in action is one of a bunch of people who manipulate, connive and seek their own power and glory rather than working together for the best outcome for Australia and Australians.
Viewing Question Time from Parliament House on the ABC is enough to make anyone wonder what’s really going on in our government. Are these adults? Should they not be building Australia instead of mocking each other and acting like buffoons? Shouldn’t the debate and question/answer process be mature, dignified and centred on Australian concerns rather than party political interests? And our current Prime Minister wonders why the national broadcaster, the ABC, isn’t very sympathetic toward him? Give me a break.
Last night I posted about some of the “promises” our Prime Minister made on the eve of the Election last year. I started by asking how long the Prime Minister and his government would continue to aggravate, disappoint and embarrass Australians with their behaviour. I asked whether or not he realises the damage they are doing to their own reputation as well as that of this wonderful nation? The post finished with “Please re-post to keep him to account”.
Someone commented that the post said more about me than it did about the Prime Minister. It’s only been four months, after all, since they got into government.
I replied by saying that if what this post says about me is that I believe in keeping politicians to their word and holding them accountable, that’s absolutely true.
If what it says about me is that a great deal of what Tony Abbot and his government are doing is offensive to me, that is also true.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I am cynical, outspoken and critical of anyone who brings disrepute to themselves and/or our country by being dishonest, inhumane, or publicly ignorant of the facts.
Call me judgmental, or critical, or anything you like. I don’t care. The future direction and the reputation of our nation is at stake. That’s bigger than me and what people think of me.
The Australian constitution says that our government is to be representative. The opinions, voice and concerns of the people matter. Tony Abbot believes he has a “mandate” but that isn’t why he was voted in. Nobody liked the way the previous government turned on itself and imploded. The Liberals didn’t have to do a thing to win except watch the Labour Party implode and melt down. Their behaviour toward each other over time was unconscionable, and that’s why the Coalition won the election.
I’m not prepared to be lied to, snowballed or smokescreened by any government that is behaving this way.
I’m not going to accept that their suppression of information about asylum seekers is crucial to their ability to stop them coming. I believe that it is designed to establish an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality among Australians in the hope that one day, we’ll stop thinking and asking about them, and being active in the hope of a better outcome for them all. I’m not going to accept this week’s suggestion by Tony Abbot that the ABC should be more sympathetic to the “home team”. The ABC is taxpayer funded… employed by the people of Australia, not the government of the day. When the “home team” plays poorly, and does dreadful things, reporting on that is exactly what I want the ABC to do. Threats to the ABC’s funding in response is not going to win the government any support from me, either.
Anyone who knows me knows that I spoke out against some of the things that the previous government (s) did. I also spoke up in support of some of their actions. I’m not going to wait however long for this lot to do something good, and then say, “Well, in the light of this good action, I’m going to ignore all the other stuff.” That just doesn’t make sense.
I will be outspoken. I will say what I think. It’s my right and responsibility to do so. My aim is not to have everyone agree with me – that’s not what democracy is about. My aim is to challenge people to think, and not to follow blindly. I want people to engage in debate, to talk to their local MHR and senator, to discuss things in public forums, and to be active in the processes of democracy and representative government in this nation.
I know I’m not perfect and I get things wrong. On the other hand, I’m not leading the nation and causing the rest of the world to shake their head in disbelief at my behaviour.
What’s wrong with keeping the Prime Minister, and all the other Members of Parliament, accountable?
Wherever you live, whoever is in government, let me encourage you to participate in the process of democracy.Call, email, write to or visit your local representative, the leader of the government, and the press. Make your voice heard. Encourage others to think critically, to evaluate situations and promises and actions, and to be heard. Don’t just think about today, think about tomorrow and the future. What sort of nation are we leaving to the next generation?
If we don’t hold them accountable, they’ll just do whatever the hell they want. That’s not democracy. That’s an abuse of power, and it spells disaster for any nation that allows it to happen.