Politics

Victoria votes: All for one and one for all?

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

The aftermath of the Victorian election includes some bizarre political commentary and advice on how the Coalition could turn it all around but voters just want politicians who govern for everyone, writes Noely Neate.

I have to say, the so-called "hot takes" from the Victorian State Election are sensational if you are into #Auspol.

From everyone laughing at political commentator Chris Kenny and his wonderfully hilarious hot tip on the election outcome back in March to conservative lobbyist Lyle Shelton’s hand-wringing about Australians being so ignorant or apathetic to be unaware of the dangerous 'gender fluid cultural Marxism being taught to their kids' — yep, that was the problem! 

Here is Lyle Shelton's tweet:

 And from Chris Kenny:

Now the conversation has turned to post-mortems. What can the Liberals do to turn it around? How will this affect the 2019 Federal Election? Did Morrison rolling Turnbull as PM have an effect on the result? Is it Malcolm’s fault? Hell, even Queensland got blamed!

For mine, the worst "take" resulting in unsolicited advice to the Liberals is from Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald:

'It's ugly and unoriginal but there is a way Morrison could win.'

Mr Hartcher kicks off with:

'It's fashionable to write off the Coalition Government, and for good reason. It's also wrong.' 

Considering Mr Hartcher has form for giving sitting governments more starts than Phar Lap as to how the sitting PM "could turn it all around", I was expecting the same.

But nope, this experienced political editor didn’t advise the Government to listen to the voters or learn from the experience, his take on how the PM could turn it around and win the next election? '

'It's the mighty scare campaign!'

I kid you not, a scare campaign!

He, of course, runs through the previous examples of the "scare campaign" tactic being successful by both parties and ergo a legitimate strategy to "win" elections.

I find this horrifying. This is exactly all that is wrong with modern politics. It is all about "winning" government like it is a game or sport. Not only do politicians buy into this win nonsense but obviously too many in our media do, too.

Reminder:

  • members of parliament (MPs) are elected by the people to review legislation in parliament and represent the electorate’s best interests;
  • a leader of the parliament is chosen by the party who has the most MPs elected;
  • both of the above points apply to all parliaments, state and federal; and
  • a state premier or prime minister of Australia is supposed to be the key spokesman for their particular state or in the case of PM, the nation.

Obviously the above is an abbreviated explanation of how we vote and this may come as surprise to elected representatives but we voters expect something for our vote — all of us!

In fact, my favourite part of Premier Daniel Andrews' election speech was where he promised the next four years would be about “delivering for all Victorians”All Victorians!

This is what is important to me. Once the argy-bargy of an election was over, the "winner" used to always add something along the lines of, Thanks to all our supporters but, hey, even if you didn’t vote for me, I take my role seriously and will govern for the whole state/nation. And to be fair, back in the day, regardless of party allegiance, they pretty much did.

Nowadays, the vibe is very different. It seems like political parties feel they only have to heed the concerns of a small cohort of Australians who will allow them to "win" again. Forget the general long-term prosperity of our state/nation both socially and economically, it is all about the next win.

I know in my own area – and have heard from those in other electorates – that many MPs will not even bother interacting with constituents who are not supporters of them or their party. Old time MPs would never have done this. I know my old (National Party) federal MP knew very well I was not a fan, yet, would still meet with me to discuss my NBN concerns, for example. I’m not sure that would happen with the new breed. By the way, this vibe of I only need to represent my political supporters, though more predominant with the Coalition has become evident in a few Labor and Greens MPs too — sadly.

MPs, even ministers, seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to disrespect entire segments of Australian society. How can we forget the likes of Peter Dutton’s "dirty lefties" tweet back in 2011? I will remind you now, this man is one of the most powerful men in this nation now as Minister for Home Affairs? AKA Boss of the spies. This man, who appears to openly despise anyone considered ‘left’ has the power to order the spooks to: Tap your phones; Boot you out of the country; and of course scoop up all your online/communications data without even the need for a pesky warrant to justify it?

Do we really think a man who quite obviously does not believe that all Australians are equally deserving of respect is going to be looking after all Australians equally in his role?

Dutton is not the lone ranger; many other ministers have openly trashed "lefties", "greenies", you name it — basically, any group they don’t think matters. This is not representing all Australians.

It's the same with Twitter. We have famously had #BlockedByBishop and now our PM Scott Morrison seems to be a fan of doing the same. Now, if they had been "abused" by someone on Twitter, it's fine to block that person, but it appears in the majority of cases, people that are blocked are just not supporters.

Most recently, Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy is #BlockedBy bloke. This is utterly ridiculous not to mention offensive, considering we employ these people and also pay for their employees who actually manage most of these social media accounts for them. It is telling a massive segment of society (which social media is) that you do not care about them, you are not interested in their concerns and they don’t matter. How is this acceptable behaviour for an elected representative?

Imagine if an MP turned around and said, I refuse to meet with or listen to [insert particular race/religion/socio-economic demographic]. The media would be unimpressed, to say the least.

My hot take? Labelling people as too far left, too far right, only Christians, "It’s OK to be White", dole bludgers, African Gangs and so on is just a symptom of poor politics. The actual problem with why political parties and politicians, in general, are experiencing such distrust from voters is the attitude of the parties and politicians themselves, who think their main job is to "win" and once they win, to continue using taxpayer funds to "win" the next election.

It's a never-ending political campaign, rewarding "supporters" and throwing "others" under the bus. The disease, in my opinion, is a form of responsibility amnesia. They no longer realise nor take seriously that they are paid by all in their electorate/nation to represent all in their electorate/nation.

Maybe if they heeded this basic premise of trying to represent and govern in the best interests of all we might not have such volatile politics, nor the extreme nastiness we have seen so often in recent years. A political party sure as hell would not need a monster bloody scare campaign to win an election!

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

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