Will of the people

I was not successful in being elected to council but a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who did vote for me. I was sixth out of 16 candidates on first preferences so that’s encouraging.

I’ve been filing and recycling bits and pieces from the campaign and I came across a note I scribbled down a while ago:

When governments fashion themselves on the monarchy we, the people, lose. But sadly we often allow  and even endorse this thinking. Under this scenario, the government and its individual politicians become our ‘leaders’ and thus the average citizen is cast as a ‘follower’ – and many people seem content, or at least resigned, to being a follower, to only having a right to direct their own community’s future once every 3 or 4 years when they vote. Anyone serious about good governance should see themselves as a service provider rather than a leader; as a representative of the will of the people, not a monarch with unlimited rights to do whatever they like.

The tricky part is that there is no single ‘will of the people’ and now more than ever it’s very clear that there is a split in the way Australians think. As a result, representatives of government at all levels need to be consulting with their community to find out where the meeting points are before they determine policy. And, most importantly, citizens need to be proactive in expressing their thoughts and priorities. There are many examples of government policy changing because people have stood up for what they believe in and asked the government of the day to change their policy. (We’ve just seen the Australian government determine that Australians can volunteer in Africa to fight Ebola.)

Government shifts don’t just happen – people lobby them to make it happen. So, get into to it! If there’s an issue that’s dear to you, email or write to your representatives, phone their offices, Facebook them, Tweet about it, get involved with a group. Our communities belong to us and the future is where we will all live – help to create it.

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(c) Palitja Moore, 2014

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