Don't pull your vote out of their hat

I can’t accept that our political system should continue to be bastardised

THE Queensland election is now only a week away and yet the commentary continues to focus on who will be the Premier, which party will form government and with what kind of margin.

I live on the NSW side of the border and so am scarcely more than a spectator for the Queensland contest, but there is much to learn from it. NSW will follow Queensland to the polls in just eight weeks’ time.

Political parties are all jostling for relevance in the tussle and many candidates are waiting with baited breath to see the key issues and gauge voter sentiment in Queensland as a potential barometer for the NSW contest. The major parties’ calculations are all about winning power.

Sadly though, the focus is almost universally about maximising the benefit to the parties themselves, often with little or no real regard for the individual electorates. It is one of my great frustrations that preselection processes do not often truly respect the electorate.

I know some candidates will be quite offended by my assertion here and it is not my intention to demean anyone personally, but we need to be honest.

There is an overwhelming commitment expected of people preselected by a party to put the needs of the party ahead of their moral obligation to honestly serve the electorate they are constitutionally committed to represent.

Beyond the election, this culture is perpetuated through an offensive determination that party members must maintain party solidarity or face disciplinary actions.

There is nothing new in these observations. Many people suggest that it is naïve to think it can or should be any different.

Unfortunately for my increasingly less patient wife, I can’t accept that our political system should be allowed to continue to be bastardised by this antidemocratic, party-first culture that is perpetuated by the entrenched political duopoly.

I enjoy watching magic tricks and spend a lot of time trying to solve them. Invariably, con men and magicians employ similar tactics of misdirection, whereby they draw people’s attention away from the critical point of the trick.

Political parties and a lot of the not-so-objective media’s sleight-of-hand is to draw people’s attention and concern away from their local candidates and make campaigns about the leaders of the major parties and their respective likelihood of winning government.

The real impact of this concentration of media is to starve smaller party and independent candidates of their fair share of public attention and consideration.

People are quick to swallow the line that minor parties and independents cannot influence government effectively, but this is plainly untrue.

Many independents have demonstrated their value to their constituency. The quality of the candidate will have the greatest determination of the effectiveness of a parliamentarian.

Recently, Warren Truss, our Deputy Prime Minister, was reported saying: “Those who throw away their vote, in some kind of protest, are in fact ignoring their obligations to their democracy but also putting their country at risk.”

This unfathomable arrogance actually suggests that a voter exercising their democratic and constitutional right to choose their own representative is irresponsible.

The suggestion that to vote against a major party is the same as throwing away their vote infers that an electorate might actually be purposefully disadvantaged because voters exercised their democratic right to choose their own representative.

It is little more than a veiled threat and it is truly disgusting.

In the run up to the elections in both States, I encourage voters to look at the candidates in their electorates on their merits. Pay less attention to which major party is represented and don’t be bullied out of your democratic right.

I haven’t had time to consider all the candidates in the Queensland election, but I have not met a more genuine or committed parliamentarian than the Member for Mt Isa.

Robbie Katter is made of the right political stuff and in my view it would be a great loss for Queensland democracy if he is not returned.

Don’t waste your vote or shirk your responsibility voting for a would-be Premier or just the party you think should form government.

Vote for the individual you honestly think will be your best advocate in parliament.

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FarmOnline
Pete Mailler

Pete Mailler

is a farmer on the Qld/NSW border and a co-founder of the Country Party of Australia
Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

Eddie Randle
24/01/2015 2:25:06 AM

O so true, I never took any notice of politics until the red headed bombshell came to Qld some ten years ago.. She won a lot of seats and it was disgusting what happened to her. Love her or hate her it showed what politics is all about. As you say they will keep the two party system going at any cost. I have got into a lot of trouble and have seen the good the bad and the ugly side of it. My family have put up with a lot of nonsense and I am being threatened with court action if I don't shut up.
Qlander
24/01/2015 7:33:54 AM

I do think there is a tendency for the party to preselect people who wouldn't make it with out the party. (keeps them in line) With a popular local who's elect on their own merit. The situation is reversed the party needs them, more then they need the party.
Qlander
24/01/2015 7:36:39 AM

Increasingly we have a case of the member representing the party to the electret, rather then the electret to the party.
Farmer Joe
24/01/2015 8:32:52 AM

Someone prepared to call major party bullying for what it is. Good work.
Jed
24/01/2015 12:59:43 PM

This Peter Mailler is the leader of the new so called Country Party so why is the Land giving him free time to spruik his Political believe free to air. Surely if you give one free air time you must open the door to all to barrage us with their dribble. This probably won't get printed like many of my other comments unlike Bushie Bill who get everything he writes printed even though it is over the top most of the time. Bushie and Pete would hit it off as they both hate the National Party with a vengeance!
Chick Olsson
25/01/2015 9:49:08 AM

I think everyone votes for their best advocate. The issue is, who would be best for the State.
Bilby
26/01/2015 7:47:46 PM

Jed, look at the other opinion pieces, David Leyonhjelm LDP, Barry Osullivan Nat and Joel Fitzgibbon ALP. Pretty balanced I think. This bloke was writing before he cofounded a party. Maybe you should ask why a country bloke could be bothered to write a blog like this and start a party. Perhaps, just perhaps the Nats aren't cutting it and they should heed his warning.
Ann
31/01/2015 9:18:24 AM

The best for our state is the one WHO doesn't want to sell off all OUR assets. Who doesn't hand out money to people who don't deserve it.STOP paying high wages to ALL politicians. STOP handing out money to women who have babies, this parental leave money is a scam. Look after the Australians first, KEEP out the radical.
Burrs under my saddlePete Mailler is a farmer on the Queensland/NSW border. His perspective and opinions are borne from seeing more than one side of many problems in his various farm leadership roles and in wanting to ensure a future for his children in agriculture.

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