I’ve always had an interest in politics but over time my views have changed in some things but essentially I still believe that governments are responsible for certain things. Perhaps my views on how those things should be achieved have changed.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my view that everyone who is entitled to vote should make their vote count. Yes, voting is compulsory in Australia but that just means it that you must turn up at the polls and be signed off. It doesn’t compel you to think about who or what you are voting for and that’s the important part.
A teacher I had in primary (elementary ) school when I was about twelve said that if we voted for someone just because our parents, spouse, best friend or boss was going to we’d be wasting our vote. When I was first old enough to vote I was determined to make my vote count. I was horrified to hear my mother asking my stepfather “Who are we voting for?” In the end I probably did vote for the same party as they did but I drew my own conclusions about what that party wanted to do.
When I was young I was in favour of a system that allowed people to make their own choices. Small government and lower taxes seemed a good idea. Throughout my childhood and early teens we had Liberal/Country(now National) party coalition federal governments although there were several different party leaders during that time. The Liberals in Australia were a right leaning party although less so than they are today I think. I think that I liked that because I associated Labor with union wage demands and strikes and the Libs with stability. I was young and even at times that I was not working I felt well looked after.
David’s views were different from mine. His family voted Labor the way mine voted Liberal but we never fought about it. I think basically we wanted the same things. David was not a very political minded person. We did disagree about some issues over the years but it didn’t seem worthwhile to fight about it. In our old neighbourhood in Adelaide we joined the local Progress Association. The man who was running it was about our age and he eventually went on to become a state member of parliament and later a minister. I helped him by delivering flyers and for a short time I belonged to the Liberal Party.
I began to change my views when the state government started selling off assets and cutting back on services. I felt this was wrong. I was directly affected of course because I was working for the government in the railways. I saw many people I knew take redundancy packages as the State Transport Authority was broken up and privatised and services were cut. Over the next few years we saw manufacturing leave the state.
Foreign policy also became an issue for me with the Federal Government as I disagreed with the harsh laws concerning accepting refugees. The “Children Overboard” affair was the end for me. I have never voted Liberal since that time.
I do believe that over the past twenty five years the Liberal/National parties have moved further to the right and we have had some of the most mean spirited governments of all time. Not only because of their stance that anyone who enters the country illegally may never come to Australia again but also because of their attitude towards climate change and their refusal to raise the level of welfare benefits for the unemployed above the poverty level. It is true that my personal circumstances have coloured my thinking somewhat but that’s not the only reason. I have compassion for people struggling to manage. They do not.
My views are now much more left leaning but I am not allied to a party. Sometimes I vote Labor, sometimes I vote Green, sometimes I may vote for an independent. Some people believe that because of our two party system it is a waste to vote for a minor party but as long as we think that the minor parties will come and go without gaining much influence. I try to look at the policies of each party and vote accordingly. At state level I think that the important thing is to have a good local member who lives in the electorate and pays attention to local issues and makes themself available to constituents.
I don’t believe in voting for a party on the strength of how much I like the leader but having read a biography about him I would say that the Australian Prime Minister I admire most is Ben Chifley, Labor PM 1945-49. I thought this before I deserted the Liberals too.
I was raised by very leftie parents and so was Garry. I don’t think either of us have ever voted for a Republican — well, maybe for governor of this state. For some obscure reason, we elect Republican governors in Massachusetts who can’t get anything accomplished because both houses (senate & congress) are Democratic. Governors stay in office for ONE term and then can’t WAIT to leave. I think the last time we had a two-term governor was Dukakis in the 1980s. Since then, they are in and out, often leaving office before their term is finished. It must be a really dismal job.
Left wing though my parents were, there are people I simply won’t vote for, my party or not. We’ve had some really awful people running for office locally and nationally. I can’t imagine how anyone could vote for them and not be ashamed of themselves. The most appalling thing is that I don’t see it improving. Biden’s okay, but he IS old. Where are the young people? Where are people with new ideas? That the great-grandparent generation is leading us is a dangerous warning signal. If we can’t come up with younger people, what happens when my generation is gone? We are all OLD!
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Biden is old. I thought he was a bit old for the job first time around. Running again when he is in his eighties doesn’t seem like a great idea.
I won’t vote for some people no matter what either. That’s why I think it is so important to have a good local MP who cares about local issues and who you feel you can trust.
We had a great one but he lost the election in 2016 — the Trump year — and it has been downhill since.
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You need another one like him, and that sort of age.
I wish I saw a prospect but young people don’t seem interested. It’s hard to blame them, but this is all going to fall on them in the end.
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