In a world that is currently filled with so much uncertainty our Prime Minister has assured us that the best idea as we cast our ballot this Saturday is to ‘stick with what we know’. This seems to be the ongoing thinking of voters in the Mallee electorate that I call home.
My thinking is very different. I’m sick of being in one of the safest seats in the nation. No matter who our local member is and how hard he or she pushes (or doesn’t) for our area the fact remains that neither those in power or in opposition feel the need to win our vote. The Coalition would feel very safe that the majority of Mallee voters will continue voting for them even if they are largely ignored and it would be a poor investment for Labour to throw money our way to try to win the seemingly unwinnable vote. How good would it be to be in one of the bellwether seats that all parties are trying to win?
In years gone by there is no doubt that farmers and graziers identified strongly with the coalition, especially in the days of the Country Party (now Nationals). I don’t identify with the coalition in many areas at all. It seems to me that we have fallen from the realm of the ‘landed gentry’ that sits so comfortably with the days of Malcolm Fraser and Doug Anthony and are now more in the circles of the blue collar workers. Sure we still own land but the increase in debt and decrease in our terms of trade see us in a very different situation from 40 years ago. Lucky for the National Party that many of those who vote for them are very traditional people who find change very challenging. Therefore, especially in these times of instability and uncertainty, it is easier to stick with ‘the devil you know’.
I resent the fact that politics has become little more than the peddling of fear which then seems to lead people towards a mindset of hate. Maybe it has always been that way, but with today’s media giving us continual updates of every press conference and photo opportunity I’m sure things have magnified. I don’t like it that our current local member only took up residence in our electorate when our long serving member retired. He’d come up through the ranks of the VFF (another group that I feel is largely irrelevant to us). It is all too political.
While I realise I am somewhat of a dreamer and maybe a little weird in this dog eat dog world, I’m sick of the hate. I can’t stand it that our two major parties are using refugees as pawns in their desire for power. I’m concerned about the growing gap between the rich and poor. These are really big issues that don’t sit at all well with my Christian faith. The fact that many of the pollies say they are Christians makes me wonder how they sleep at night with the policies they are peddling that hurt people who are on the fringes. This is the main reason I just can’t personally identify with the LNP. Each to their own, but they just don’t ‘cut the mustard’ for me.
The Mallee electorate is in the same boat as any safe seat. It doesn’t matter who is in power, they don’t need to woo us…. and they don’t. Imagine if Mallee were marginal. Whomever our representative was in Canberra was they would have a voice that was finally listened to. Even if it only brought us better internet that would be a bonus (hopefully I can upload this even though our 20gb monthly limit has been used and I’m down to a speed similar to dial up). Trying to run a business on a similar amount of internet (although less reliable and slower) than I could get in the city on a mobile phone is more than a little frustrating. The cessation of federal funding for the RARE program has greatly disappointed people in the Wimmera. The program has provided counselling for rural men who are at increased risk of mental health problems due to the stresses of ongoing drought. How good would it be to actually know that the decision makers in Canberra wanted, in fact NEEDED our vote. I think we’d see great improvements in funding in many areas. I bet we’d still have ongoing funding for RARE. When you go in to vote on Saturday think about making a difference in our area. Think carefully about voting in a way that will #MakeMalleeMarginal.
PS Come out to the Haven Primary School to cast your vote on Saturday morning. Then come over and buy some meat from us at the Haven Market.