Over the decades every time there is an election I hear “it’s time for a change” from many Australians – perhaps a leftover from the very successful Whitlam “It’s time” campaign in the 1970s.
“It’s time for a change” can no longer be an excuse for complacency towards voting. Many of us need to vote in a more informed way. We are a pretty easy going lot and it takes a lot to stir up the population. Today Australia is faced with extreme changes (that we do not like) to democracy and who actually benefits in society. We are becoming a tea party nation (you know Sarah Palin) – small government, neglect of those who are not rich, particularly those people already disadvantaged, and a preference for Think Tanks driven by ideology and, I hate to say it, Australians voted for it. Our government surrounds themselves by those who agree with them and think that if they repeat something often enough we will believe it – a gross insult to Australian voters.
I was never interested in politics when I was young and I think many young people feel the same today. Some people spend a lifetime aligned to a particular party so forget to think critically about politics and its consequences. No matter who it is you usually vote for (or donkey-vote) it is time to move beyond complacency and simply thinking that change is as good as a holiday. As a nation we can no longer afford to be complacent about who is in power. When we change governments it should be because we really know who and what we are voting for not simply about complacency. Look where we have ended up. So between now and the next election it is time to be critical and question beyond the surface. Here are the 10 things I will be thinking about before the next election.
- The ideologies (the beliefs – not facts – about how things should be) of particular parties
- Who benefits from these ideologies if they are put into action?
- Who is not important or forgotten in these ideologies?
- What are the short and long term consequences for society?
- The value placed by politicians on independent knowledge and research (learn how to identify a think tank and their ideologies)
- Find out what independent research actually says on all the issues
- Identify spin
- Be critical about the media you are watching or reading (some media are driven by the ideologies of their owners)
- Ask yourself, is it really about healthy budgets or paying attention to society. It is not an either/or proposition. The reality is budgets go up and down. There are examples in the world of societies that have healthy economies and value everyone in that society.
- Do politicians pay attention to human rights and international obligations?
So my vote for change will not be based on complacency but how society will be or has been shaped by the parties I vote in and out.