A FEW years ago I had no interest or even great awareness of the political vacuum that was quietly engulfing our future.
I was inclined to disregard the hard liners that pushed their agendas and dare I say prejudice onto ordinary people who I argued probably had enough on their plate without being harangued about politics we couldn’t fix even if we wanted to.
My, how the worm has turned! On quiet reflection I realise two key shifts in my thinking around politics.
The first is that our future now depends on much better political leadership than we are getting through modern party first politics. The second is perhaps much more profound in that we can’t afford to wait for someone else to fix our broken politics.
What astounds me most in the various conversations I have about politics is the incredibly broad consensus that our political system is definitely broken coupled with an almost equally broad reluctance to do anything about it. It is a sad indictment on our political culture that we can be so critical of the system and so unwilling to engage in it to fix it.
My decision to get involved stemmed from two key drivers. The first is that my experiences in farmer representation exposed me directly to political system and I saw firsthand how badly we are represented, even betrayed by party politics. The second is that my social training taught me at an early age that the privilege of living in a free society like Australia comes with a responsibility to preserve it.
This sentiment is not a right wing ill-informed rhetoric. In fact it is the rise of single issue political opportunist who seek to cash in on voter dissatisfaction preaching simplistic and hate filled rhetoric that is one of my greatest concerns and motivators.
Australia’s future is not threatened by Muslims, differing sexual persuasions, Asians, asylum seekers, migrants, soccer players, Celts or any other such minority group in our community.
In direct contrast Australia’s heritage and culture has been made the richer by all of these groups and more. It is clear that the vast majority of Australian people believe this latter notion particularly in their engagement with these minority groups at a personal level.
Australia’s future is threatened far more today by politicians and bureaucrats who have lost sight of what it is to be Australian. The notion that our country is led by a political culture that accepts, even promotes, the practice of putting the political advantage of a party ahead of the needs of the country is disgracefully un-Australian. The notion that the broader public perception is that there isn’t much we can do about it is an even more tragic outcome of the overt corruption of our political system.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, less than one per cent of our population report active participation in a political organisation. Of course there are more people who are members of a party without being active, but apparently less than three per cent of the population are current members of any party. Contrary to popular belief, the “major” parties do not represent that many people and their political dominance is only permitted by complacence.
Ironically, it is the reluctance of the majority of Australian people to get involved in mainstream politics that will empower minority extreme views to gain and retain political relevance. There are too many precedents of this to ignore.
In the end, any political reform requires the considered support and involvement of ordinary decent Australians. If people are to be believed and they genuinely want a political alternative, then at some point they have to be prepared to support the establishment of such an alternative.
Australia’s future, or at least the kind of future I and, I believe, most decent people want for their children, depends on a moderate, mainstream and competent political movement that is genuinely committed to serving the nation and the needs of future generations ahead of itself. It cannot and will not be delivered by the current political culture nor will it be delivered by a fractured independent movement in the current party dominated system.
Australia needs a political movement with an understanding of the importance of an intellectual and moral connection to our land as a fundamental component of the best aspects of our Australian identity. It must also incorporate a genuine culture of fairness and decency and a commitment to act in the best interests of Australia regardless of the short term political cost that such actions may incur.
It is with this in mind that the Country Party of Australia was founded. It is a political movement espousing a modern “countrymindedness”. It was initially particularly incensed by the lack of a genuine and fierce political advocate for rural and regional Australians. It remains resolute in its positioning because it provides the essential foundations for agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and even mining where appropriate, without selling out our children’s future.
Is it time you ask yourself if you are country minded?