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THE COUNTRYMAN

NEWS

 

Selwyn Johnston

INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES'

ADVOCATE

(Cairns... Far North Queensland)

 

Thank you for visiting my on-line office. 

I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians. 

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.  

Sincerely,

Selwyn Johnston

 

One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference

 

.

THE NEW POLITICAL DIVIDE IN AUSTRALIA

For quite a few years now the complaint voiced by voters has been that it's hardly worth voting because both the major parties are so aligned, are so similar in their policies, that the difference between them is at best marginal. 

And, it's no good relying on your local member to deliver the goods, no matter how good that person may be, because he or she is wed to their party and not the electorate. 

Also, for some years, we have derided the electoral system of any number of communist countries or sundry dictatorships. What, we would ask, is the use of voting for any candidate in those countries if that candidate could only represent the one party? 

The more difficult question that we now have to address is, has our democracy become so restricted, so superficial that we are now only as well off as a communist voter in the 1970’s? 

That requires a much greater level of soul searching and a level of intellectual honesty than we are probably not all that accustomed to. We can of course make distinctions, communist countries were "supply economies" and we are a "demand economy" and so of course we are better off because we are more efficient. 

But… what about the voter's alternative? 

In the 1970’s we had a clear political choice. We had real major party policy differences. We were either orientated towards labour or to capital, and the choice was stark and simple. Now it's not so easy as that divide has largely gone away and there appears to be nothing put back in its place. We seem to have lost that simplicity, that certainty. 

But believe it or not, there is another divide out there that receives no attention and the choice is again as stark and certain as ever. It's simply that we do not relate to it. No one seems to want to talk about it especially in a language that we can understand. And all efforts to support the divide are ignored. 

The divide now is between "National" and "International". 

If you’re not sure of this, cast your mind back to the WTO meeting in Seattle and the disturbance that followed. More recently was a subsequent WTO meeting in Italy. These extreme events were reported but very little in between. Of course the world is a smaller place and changes in communications and transport have made this even more so. All of this has to be recognised but to abandon the "national interest" because of this is inexcusable. 

Sure we get to address aspects of this difference in any number of single-issue items. For example the sale of Telstra, the single selling desk for grains and sugar, the free trade agreement with America, even our involvement in Iraq. 

Nowhere are we encouraged to put all these things together and say, “Hey, we have a pattern here. What’s going on?” 

In short, are we being given the choice of voting for what we believe is in our own interests? Or, is there no genuine party representation for the electorate interests? Are the major parties so aligned to internationalism that our own national and local interests are down the drain? 

Sadly that most likely is the case. 

Throughout the world the international case has been built up to such an extent that it is now all encompassing. If you don’t believe in it, then obviously, there is something wrong with you. Or this is what we are encouraged to believe. 

On the other hand the "national interest" is either depreciated or is so misrepresented as to be almost embarrassing. You remember the joke of the eighties that "… we were busy building level playing fields, for the rest of the world to screw us on". Now it's no longer a joke. It has sadly become a reality. 

Usually these days when "national interest" candidates do get elected they are decried in the worldwide media and regarded as some sort of anomaly, and put under what could only be described as inordinate scrutiny. 

The reasons for this of course are many and varied and are well beyond the scope of a short comment. And like the "National/International" distinction, it’s probably purposely obscured and confused. 

What we do know is that it will take guts, skill and determination to break the existing mould and it won’t be easy. And the longer it goes the harder it will get. 

It is therefore time for people who are interested in the long-term well being of our nation, and for our future generations, to start organising their thoughts, putting all the aspects together and taking this argument back to the major parties. This will, or should, cause them to take a stand one way or the other, or to admit their cohesion of purpose in representing international interests in preference to the "national interests"

This "outing" will allow a reasoned assessment of their ability, or perhaps willingness, to represent the particular needs of Queenslanders. 

The questions that can be asked are, for example: 

Who decided to take a nationally unified publicly owned telecommunications system, whose profit benefited the public purse [100%] and cast it to the corporate wind? How will that move benefit the average telephone user?

Who decided that the sugar industry would be better off without single desk selling, and who did they expect would benefit?

Why can’t we have bi-lateral trade agreements, even with America instead of being subservient to an international trade bureaucracy, which at the end of the day will have little sympathy for our quarantine, [or for that matter any other] requirements.

How will all this affect our kids and will they thank us for what we as the managers of the day are doing now? Most likely not! 

So, perhaps we should all let the usual election rhetoric just slip by and focus on the new divides, even if they are presently obscured, and work out who is acting in the long-term interests of Australia. 

Malcolm Frazer is credited with saying (perhaps repeating) in recent times “There’s no such thing as a free meal”.

All of a sudden the mere promise of a free meal seems good enough irrespective of the price. But not, I’m sure, for most of us.

So let's say so, and vote... INDEPENDENT.

 

 

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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870