Australia’s scary step to the right.
When I start thumping a table during a political discussion about the differences between the parties in Australia, it is usually not about matters such as helicopter flights or changing the flag.
My passion, the heart of what makes me tick as a political animal and rally and rage against the machine, is justice. Not just in a legal sense, but a humanitarian one. It’s equality, compassion, respect and empathy for my fellow humans and planet that define my political allegiance. Which is why, until last weekend, I would consider myself a Labor voter.
Unfortunately, thanks to Bill Shorten’s adamant stance to retain the current Liberal government’s turn back the boats policy announced at the 47th national Labor conference on Saturday, I can no longer tick an ALP ballot box. It would be too close to voting for the LNP with Tony Abbott at its head (I believe my arm actually would rebel and physically take hold of my throat should I even attempt that).
And herein lies my dilemma: Where is my alternative? Where is Australia’s? What are we to do when both major parties are so damn similar in their policies? Yes, there is the Greens but, despite much progress, they are not a party fully formed enough to take over from what will be the steaming mess left by this current government (I say steaming, as Tony Abbott’s attitude to climate change and his spurning of renewable energy for archaic pollutants like coal is literally stoking the fires of global warming).
Basically, Bill Shorten, as Labor leader, has broken my heart and made me yet again (I will never forget the ALP’s treatment of Julia Gillard – ever!) question the party to which I once related. However, what’s so frustrating is that I can see so close behind him some of the most astute, impressive and inspiring politicians on the scene today in deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, senator Penny Wong and party stalwart Anthony Albanese.
These politicians appeal to me because they appear to have real heart. They are outspoken on issues I feel are paramount to making Australia a country I am proud to live in. They are also all prominent members of the Left wing of the party I once so ardently believed in.
And herein lies the problem with the Australian political parties today – the Left is being swamped by the Right and, as such, not giving someone like myself a real choice in voting for an institution which will represent, advocate and implement change I believe is vital.