A the last federal election, Andrew Wilkie stood for the Greens against John Howard for Bennelong – the electorate in which I currently reside. Yes, “Our Mighty Leader” is our local member.
Less than an hour ago, Kevin Rudd announced that the Labour Party candidate for the next federal election would be Maxine McKew.
Since Andrew moved to Tassie (and is number 2 on the Greens senate ticket after Bob Brown), we don’t have a high profile local candidate to field in Bennelong. But despite her affiliation with a party that deserted me years ago, Maxine will do quite nicely. I won’t be voting for her, but I am happy to see that there is a mainstream candidate that will draw attention to Bennelong and make the campaign interesting.
Now, if you aren’t political, here are a few reasons why you should educate yourself a little bit about the Australian political system, and use your vote to make a difference this year.
1. The planet is suffering, and if we don’t make some big changes NOW, there won’t be much of a future for TBA.
2. Everyone has a vote, everyone has a voice. You don’t have to agree with me politically, but I will respect your opinion as long as you have one. Apathy is a luxury that only the upper classes can afford – caring for each other demands that me make informed decisions that consider the outcomes for those less fortunate than ourselves.
3. The conservatives hold the balance of power in the senate. Before this happened, the Greens were able to influence policy in some key areas. Stem cell research, mandatory detention, and RU486 are just a few key issues that having one extra Green senator has afforded us. Whatever happens in the lower house will make a difference – but the senate is key to maintaining an effective opposition in Australia.
If you think you could learn more about the Aussie political system, there is a great primer here. It is written by Greens, so you may be skeptical – but I thought it was pretty good. And honestly, my understanding of the whole disaster is pretty sketchy, but I do know that the more of us that understand fully the consequences of our vote, the better.
PS. Until I met Mark, my contact with politicians was peripheral at best, and kinda creepy – I’ll tell you about it one day. Since then, I’ve met three that have made a big impact on me. Kerry, of course, I’m related to – so I have to say nice things. But if you know me, you know I don’t pull punches, and I don’t pretend to like people just to play nice. My brother’s ex-girlfriends can attest to that. Kerry is a principled, intelligent, committed, and compassionate woman. And she knits. And Andrew Wilkie lost his job over a matter of principle. He is a shining example of the good that a military career can bring out in a man, shiny shoes, an abhorrence of war, and a skill with people that makes you want to follow him. And then there is Lee Rhiannon. I don’t know Lee as well as Andrew and Kerry, but every time I have met her, I have been struck by her passion and commitment. So my point is – if we could examine the reasons for people entering politics, what would we find? Some for the glory, some for the money, some for the power. And some who want to make the world a better place. Those are the ones worth voting for.
2 thoughts on “Maxine McKew for Bennelong?”
The main thing that is unusual about the Australian voting system is the compulsory voting. I’m still very conflicted about it – in fact I tend to think it’s not a good idea. But as no-one knows what difference it would make if it were abolished, neither party is prepared to do it.
Non-compulsory voting would probably lead to a drop in the votes for the major parties, much more so than for minor parties. Minor party voters tend to be more informed/committed than the many voters who just vote for a major party out of habit/family tradition/ignorance. On the other hand, upper-class/white voters are probably more inclined to vote than lower-class/minority voters. (As seen in US Voting statistics). I think the Libs have indicated some interest in changing to non-compulsory voting.
Despite the fact that the Greens would probably benefit from it’s abolishment, I approve of compulsory voting, in the (naive?) hope that it encourages people to learn something about our democracy and develop some sort of political awareness.