Will the real politicians stand up?

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My father was a bricklayer, he suffered from back pain and a serious dislike of the Liberal party. In an era of Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Jeff Kennett – my parents weren’t short on the meaty politics that could quickly whip up dinner party conversations.

I wasn’t quite old enough to vote when Kennett became Premier of Victoria in 1992 but I certainly remember the impassioned arguments. When my best friend’s older sister went against the fold of her migrant, working class family to vote Liberal, we couldn’t quite believe it. She might’ve been making perfect sense, but we grew up believing that you never, ever voted for the Liberal party.

My father once had a letter published in a major newspaper and was convinced someone had been spying on him when he received Liberal party pamphlets in the letterbox shortly afterwards. I love these stories. They remind me of my grandmother’s house and discussions about someone knowing someone who knew Paul Keating’s son. I still take a wide berth from people handing out Liberal party ‘how to vote’ cards at polling booths.

So why do I feel so jaded with the Labor party?

At the core of it, and because I don’t know enough about policies and spin and what garners votes, I’m disenchanted with the idiocy of both major parties. My stomach found voting for either at the last federal election impossible. But it’s the Labor party who have disappointed me the most.

While the ALP and the Coalition are busy appealing to the lowest common denominator, racing each other to the bottom in the asylum seeker debate and marginalising single parents – they are disillusioning a whole new raft of voters. It is only thanks to the Christopher Pynes, the Tony Abbotts and the Scott Morrisons that I’m still here. And I’m hanging by a very very thin thread.

Are you disillusioned with our major parties too?

12 comments

  1. Am I ever. I am old enough to remember the Gordon below Franklin dam political fight ( and lucky enough to have been to the very heart of that fight in Tasmania, having a vague memory of my Dad talking with protestors camped at Strahan in Tassie. It was how I was introduced to politics.

    There was passion, there was heated arguments, there was real fight and dedication.

    I too grew up in a family of Labor voters. Even eye contact with people handing out how to vote cards for Liberal candidates was frowned upon.

    My first time voting was in 1990. I was so excited. I finally got to have a say. Now I have discussions with friends about which politician has disappointed us the least, not about who inspires us.

    I am hanging by a thread too. Just.

    • Never make eye contact! My husband likes to tell everyone waiting outside the booths that I’m voting Greens just to watch their faces ;) Not sure which way I’ll go this year!

  2. I’m so frustrated by the Labor party… their political incompetence has legitimised Tony Abbott… could you imagine that happening under a Hawke or Keating leadership…

    It’s so frustrating…

  3. Disclaimer: I am a classic swinging voter – I think both parties would run this country equally well and so vote on an election by election basis.

    With regard to being disillusioned by both parties – yep. This started with the last election and the last three-ish years has been more of the same. But … I blame the mainstream media more than anyone. Their focus on personalities over policy and silly sound bites over actual reporting means that no one actually knows what the hell is going on. All they know is that right now, the incredibly unpopular Tony Abbott is preferred as PM over Julia Gillard and that Kevin Rudd is preferred over both. Which actually means nothing … but the media make it sound like this is the news.

    I think it is easy for people to say that the Gillard government just hasn’t done a good enough job connecting with regular Australians and getting their message out – but from my observations over the last few years I can confidently say the media has played a huge part in this. Both Fairfax and Murdoch run papers have been campaigning against Labor for the past few years which makes things rather difficult.

    But of course, there have been internal problems within the party that sees a cheeky little leak happen every single time Gillard gains a little bit of traction. And that more than anything is what I have found infuriating about our current govt – they are clearly not all on the same page.

    I do however think it is amazing that Labor have managed to pass over 500 pieces of legislation working with a minority government and not one piece of legislation has been knocked back. Meanwhile the Liberals have not (in the last three years) given me one good reason to vote for them over Labor.

    Meanwhile, the mainstream media continue to serve up completely biased bullshit to us as ‘reporting’ making it absolutely impossible for anyone to make an informed decision about any of this!

  4. Lila Wolff

    I don’t understand how anyone can be happy with the current government, their taxation policies are so short sighted, there is so much to be dissatisfied with.
    I am (and have always been) genuinely curious why people vote traditionally (how they were raised to vote) instead of deeply examining the policies of all parties. Sure it’s tedious but isn’t something as important as voting for who you want to run the country is worth looking in to and not accepting at face value?

    • I think there was a slight sense of brainwashing in my family – the working class just did not vote Labor back then, well not in our community anyway. But agree, that is definitely not a reason to not examine policies – I’m taking my voting duties very seriously this election.

  5. Renee | About a Bugg

    Oh Carli, your family sounds like mine… dinner table conversations about politics were the norm, just like discussing the weather or football in other families.

    I still have a badge my dad bought for me, and made me wear from when I was a small tiny tot – it reads “My Daddy thinks Kennett is a bastard”. Nice.

    When dad ran for parliament, twice, I knew that I was a Labor voter for life. In fact, I think I would be disowned if I tried to defect.

    However, similar to you, I am becoming jaded. And sad. Those ideals that the party were built upon all those years ago are being eroded, and they just don’t seem to stand for anything anymore.

    I just want someone to stand up there and have an opinion, and stand behind it. Not attack the person, but debate the ideology. Have the passion to incite change.

    Is that too much to ask?

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