Dear Australian Politicians,
I’m Jonny, a third year media student studying in Sydney. I should begin this by saying I am a Kiwi-born Australian citizen who has been living in Australia since early 2011.
I find the political climate here somewhat disappointing, and I very much doubt I am alone in this feeling. There are a range of reasons for my personal disillusion, and with the federal election on the horizon, I am seeking answers. More than answers, I am seeking change.
Allow me to begin with a question: Who are you?
This may seem rudimentary, but the question is asking more than the three words would superficially suggest: I’m not asking for a biography, I’m asking for ideology. Instead of this, all I seem to get is the ramblings of two individuals desperate to shoot each other down. The shadow of political debate will no longer be sufficient. Where are your policies and the driving vision behind them? I don’t wish to see you highlight the faults in each other, I can see plenty and I don’t need your help. What I do need is vision, direction and representation.
“I am involved in the world and must try to see that it does not blow itself to pieces.” Allan Watts
I wanted to be a politician growing up. I dreamed of people compelled by vision, compelled by a desire for the greater good, a desire to do what’s best for the country. I guess I grew up with a romanticized view of politics, as the reality of it has been rather sobering. With this in mind my second question is, where are you going? I don’t want to know what town Tony Abbott will visit next, I am seeking know what road you are taking. I need you to display and hold true to your line of beliefs and not change them. Mostly, I want you to keep your promises. It all seems so trivial when I spell it out but these are the fundamentals – its disappointing to see them skipped in favor of personal agendas and mud-slinging.
Define your role. Not the long words in your job description, not the acronyms of your portfolio, nor your number on the party list, but your role. While again it may seem obvious, and at the risk of patronizing the very few of you who may read this far, I will take the time to define it for you.
You are representatives, voted by a majority, as they believe you best represent their views. That is trust, we have displayed trust in you, faith in your promises. Sadly, it seems many of you view representation via an a-symmetrical model that has tilted in the wrong direction. First and foremost your role exists to represent us. This doesn’t mean you should aim to please everyone – not only is that impossible, its not what democracy is all about and its certainly not what this country needs. Democracy is about holding your view up and letting us decide which is better. So hold them up, not passively but actively, speak them to us on the street, convince us over coffee, be open to debate and ready to defend; always with an open mind. Maybe you can bring us around to a better solution, or maybe we can bring you to see our side of things. Maybe all we need is a little communication?
Leaders with vision, MP’s with ears, shouldn’t be so hard to find.
I began this by stating I wanted change, real change. That change is unlikely to come this election as i am not seeking a change in power, I am seeking a change in ethos, I am seeking real politicians. As such my vote this election is still undecided. The current government has disappointed me time and time again, but the opposition has failed in just as many ways.
No more mud-slinging, no more empty promises.
Politics shouldn’t be about you. Its about us.