“60 Minutes” Letter

Read by Peter Harvey after the 2010 Federal Election

On Saturday in the federal election I voted informally along with a lot of other Australians. It was the first time in the 22 years that I have been voting that I did so. And in discussing my decision with others I learned that many were doing the same thing for the same reasons.

There is a palpable feeling amongst the people that politicians are not there to represent us. That no matter who is in power – and that is the operative word – Power – they look after exactly the same people – themselves and their parties, and thus the donors to their political parties.

That they myopically focus solely on winning the next election and they neglect the greater good over the medium to long term.

My decision was a deliberate choice to not be forced to ultimately decide between two major parties, and the individuals that their members have chosen to lead them (not us).

For too long their game plan has not been to prove that they want to lead the country and do right by the people. Instead in their respective shifts to the centre they set out to persuade the public that they are the least bad option.

Australians deserve much better than the least bad option!

I had been thinking of voting informally for a while but, like others I spoke to, was reluctant to “waste” my vote.  But equally I felt passionately it was a waste to vote for a local member for whom I had no greater expectation than to tow the party line and ultimately a party that is more interested in gaining or retaining power than doing what is right for me, my fellow Australians and other members of the human community.

Mark Latham’s comments on 60 Minutes did cement it for me – not because he said to do it – but, because somebody had publically framed the reasons for voting informally, it had as much meaning – actually, more meaning – than simply tossing a coin to decide who was the least bad option.

The election result is a perfect indication of the mood in the public. Each is as bad as the other and with a great many people desperate for avenues to voice their disapproval at what our democracy has become.

This is a historic opportunity for all politicians to listen to the overwhelming mood of the people and instigate the changes that are needed to ensure that that they and our future representatives are incentivised to work for the greater good over the short, medium and longer term.

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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2020

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