Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

WA Senate (Re) Election – and why I am glad we live in a democracy

with 2 comments

This coming Saturday, Western Australians will once again be heading to the polls to elect six senators to represent us in the Upper House of Parliament  (the Senate).  We have to go to the polls “again”, because in the previous election (held in September 2013), there were 1370 ballot papers that went “missing”.   This was a case of “every vote counts”, as the preferential voting system that Australia has resulted in two candidates who were declared winners being later found to have been defeated by two OTHER candidates, after a ballot re-count based on preferences.

vote

So!  Here we are.  A few days to go, and it still could be anybody’s game.  This is the first election that I have been actively (that is to say, politically) involved in for over twenty years.  And the reason is this:  Australians have now elected a new Government (that is, Abbott’s Liberal government, who have a majority in the House of Representatives).  So if the Libs were to gain control of the Senate, it means that they could push through their legislation without serious challenge.   And I don’t like that.  In fact, I wouldn’t like that, regardless of WHAT party was in power.   I think the checks and balances that an Upper and Lower House provide is crucial to the functioning of a strong democracy.   So I am campaigning.  Actively.  For things I believe in, and that I normally don’t get too vocal about.   For policies and views that affect the disadvantaged.   Like asylum seekers.  Like the working poor.   Like Indigenous Australians.   Like animals, who don’t have a voice, but about whose welfare I care deeply.   And for the democratic process.

I am proud to be a citizen in a country where you CAN hold beliefs that are different than the government in power, and not go to jail for it.   And I think it is important to be an activist for things that you believe in.  So I think it is important that we elect, in this particular election, Scott Ludlam into the Senate.   He is a Greens candidate.    And I know that a lot of right wing people in WA don’t have a lot of time for the Greens.   But the reality is that it is good for democracy, and good for the political process, to have contrasting views in both the Upper and Lower Houses.  And Labor isn’t going to provide that.  They are simply too closely aligned with too many of the policies of the Abbott Government.

But hey, if you aren’t decided yet on how you are going to vote, why not check out this Get-Up Guide to the WA Senate By-Election, to see what policies are important to you, and where the various political parties stand on those issues.   Regardless of who you vote for, it is not going to change who is in government.  But a Senate that has a strong minor party voice WILL improve the outcomes on important issues.   And that can only be a good thing.   And if you want to do something to help make our fantastic country even better, consider becoming a Get Up Member.  This will give you a voice, outside of any one political party, to stand for the things you believe in.  You can have your say for the things that Get Up works on in 2014 by taking their survey here.

But now back to the election.  Regardless of how you vote, get out there and vote! (aside from the fact that you are required to by law!  LOL).  It is important for our democratic process, and I don’t know about you, but I always do get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I walk out of the ballot station, knowing I have done my bit for the democratic process.

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2 Responses

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  1. Great post Mar/k! And agree with you comments about the need for checks and balances in the Senate. Particularly now, with the Government going off on right wing thought bubbles(like repeal of 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act for no apparent reason). And while Scott doesnt get a lot of airplay out east, he seems pretty impressive.

    Ron Ogden

    April 3, 2014 at 5:50 am


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