Politics Creates Community

Murray river, South Australia, near the New South Wales border, April 2019

Not to harp on about it, but you might have noticed there’s an election coming up! I’m approaching it with a combination of hope and trepidation. Will the country come to its senses and vote out the uncompromising, self-protecting, me-first policies we have now? Or will we… not?

Sadly, the opposition has shown how little sense it has by caving to the short-term interests of a few by agreeing to support gas expansion in the NT and Queensland. Fossil fuels for everyone! Why is it that one industry and one employment sector holds sway over every other employment sector? There are many more jobs in renewable energy, but heaven forbid that we shift from fossil fuels to wind and solar – some jobs might be lost! But here’s the thing, more jobs will be created. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t envy those who will lose their jobs to redundancy, it’s happened to me twice and it’s not fun. However, where is the political concern when community services staff are thrown in and out of employment due to short-term government contracts that leave them – and the clients who need them – in a state of limbo, weakening the whole community?

Where were the politicians when the video stores went bust? Where was the political care when the photo developers started losing jobs with the uptake of digital cameras? With these, and most, sectors it’s all about the ‘will of the market’, so why so different for gas, coal, and oil? Not only do fossil fuels not create the levels of prosperity touted by their advocates, they actually cause harm. Fossil fuel use is the major contributor to climate change, which threatens life itself being possible on Earth. So why would we keep investing public money in them? I suspect that one day journalists will dig up the full nugget of truth about that and it won’t be pretty.

The things our government allows or disallows, what it protects, what it invests in, all come together to create the Australian community. And we elect the members of parliament and the government. It’s our job to choose well, to be engaged with what politicians do, as well as with what they say. And it’s our job to contribute to their policy formation and our national direction. That’s what being a citizen is about.

It can be depressing to think about the lack of climate leadership by our two biggest political parties, but the best remedy to fear is to take positive action. So, I’ll do what I can to make sure people know they have a true alternative this election: I’ll be handing out how to vote cards for the Greens* (spoiler alert – you can number the boxes however you like, you don’t have to follow any sheet of paper, it’s a democracy!).

I’ll be at a Christies Beach polling booth for a couple of hours and I’d love to be in good company. It’s an easy task that can make a real difference to the outcome of the federal election.

If you can’t do a polling booth somewhere there are heaps of other things you could do to increase your own resilience for the future and that of the whole planet: read up on the parties’ policies, tell your friends and family about them, like and share what you support on social media, donate to campaigns you like to make them more effective.

Every time someone increases their outspokenness about the need for climate action and social equity, hope for change grows. If we don’t act to create sustainable, fair, compassionate, constructive laws by acting with and voting for parties whose policies truly support these aims, we will not get the future we deserve.

*I’m not a member of any political party.

© Palitja Moore, text and image, 2019


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