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Does the Labor Party deserve our vote?

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Labor MP Chris Bowen during Question time this month (screenshot via YouTube).

Is the Labor Party offering a genuine, inspiring alternative to the current mess of a Government?

As we know, our Government is stuck in a dumpster fire.

Interim PM Morrison obviously has no clue. He loves to gloat but not to do the work, spending more time campaigning and working out how he can run away from Parliament.

When he finally faces the music with an election – and let us hope that is sooner rather than later – I will not be giving the Liberals (or in my case as a Queenslander, the LNP) my vote.

What I’m copping a lot of flack for is that I also will not be giving the Australian Labor Party (ALP) my vote either.

Unlike the ALP, I will not be blackmailed or extorted and bow to bullying.

There have been a number of issues I have been seriously unhappy about when it comes to the ALP. I don’t like how they waffle about "doing a review of Centrelink" when they know damn well people are living in poverty.

Nor have they stood up for those being harmed by robo-debt, punished with the cashless welfare card, or given dodgy demerit points by private job providers earning a fortune at the expense of people, many of whom would rather be anywhere else than on social security.

I won’t even start on Work for the Dole or the rorting PaTH program.

Look at National Security. We have lost more civil liberties in the last five years than probably in the last few decades. The secretive but very very scary “national security threats" are always posited as the reason. The biggest "terror threat" is in our homes, but hey, we won’t worry about that.

Each time the Coalition introduced another "tranche" of security, the ALP would mutter about being concerned about "oversight", then of course roll over and vote with the Government. The only time they actually did introduce any sort of "protection" was for journalists, in the Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill. 

It wasn't for us – the people who elect them – just those who could write nasty things about them. Data retention, of course, has been abused too. Remember, just like every other questionable national security law, it is only supposed to be used for "terrorists" and "paedophiles". Doubtful.

Rolling over and playing dead on the #aabill was the final straw for me.

Voting for this Bill was all that is wrong with politics at the moment. It was poorly drafted; due process wasn't followed; it was done secretively; barely any attention was paid to the concerns of the legal fraternity and IT industry; and the shenanigans that went on with its passing just beggar belief.

In the end, even after ALP MPs stood up to say they were concerned – finding out that the Liberals had dudded them by not including the agreed amendments (not that they were much chop) and then mucking around in Senate – they rolled over and passed the Bill anyhow.

I’m not going to go into all that is wrong with this Bill. It would take up pages.

But as someone who gives a damn about civil liberties, has half a clue about the interweb and since building software is what keeps me off Centrelink payments, well, you can imagine how angry I was watching this dangerous, badly-written piece of legislation get waved through.

What made it worse was the excuses. Pretty much the ALP were scared of being wedged. They did not want to give the Government and their fawning media cheer squad the opportunity to carry on with the “soft on terrorism” hysteria. And of course, if something did happen around Christmas, they didn't want to be blamed for it because they didn’t pass this piece of legislation.

Many ALP supporters think this is perfectly acceptable.

For mine, this is one backflip, that was too much for me.

Bill Shorten could have highlighted that the Government did not act in good faith, neither adhering to the PJCIS recommendations nor organising another sitting day to negotiate on the contents on the Bill.

The ALP did not have to capitulate. There is no way the Government could've not have agreed to sit an extra day. The Australian public is already filthy they are skiving off work most of the next six months.

Shorten could have stood up to them, turned the tables on them.

Not to mention, the extra sitting day would have also meant the Government could not have hidden from the vote on getting the kids off Nauru which would have been even better than just getting some of the minor amendments through on the #aabill.

I’m over being told that bowing to bullies and "political games" are more important than good policy, Australia’s security, civil liberties and the functioning of the whole IT Industry.

Many people online seem to think that if you won’t vote for the ALP, you are giving a vote to the Liberals. This is not necessarily the case. In this circumstance, I can pretty much guarantee since the Liberals started the war on math, they won’t be getting the tech vote.

I don’t know who I will end up voting for, although it's all pretty redundant for me as I live in a rusted-on Nationals electorate. Hopefully, there will be a good Independent that can benefit from the measly AEC per vote cash as reward for giving it a red hot go.

But, as I have heard many an ALP supporter say in the past, aghast at those who support the Coalition when they harm the likes of Medicare: “Why would you vote against your interests?”

Another thought for the diehard ALP supporter – who are dismissing anyone who is cranky with the ALP over this #aabill – is that there aren't enough ALP members to get the party voted into government at the next election with any sort of decent majority.

The better option would be to agree to disagree. It is not hard, it is actually quite civil.

But badgering people to vote against their own interests won't result in them voting for your interests.

Read more from Noely Neate on her blog YaThink?, or follow her on Twitter @YaThinkN.

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