The Beagle Editor,
The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) can no more know the outcome of the upcoming Eden-Monaro by-election than anyone-else.
But it does know & it can say that there is a growing discontent amongst voters in the electorate against both major parties.
There is a sense that the voters are being taken for granted; seen by both sides as being available to buy with whatever pledges are made by our political masters.
Politicians on all sides know who we are: the election is about haggling over our price.
Such is our lack of self-respect that Bega Valley Shire Council has even drawn-up a wish list of projects that it is hoping to persuade the major parties to commit to funding as part of the campaign process.
At a grass roots level, both sides have well-won reputations for engaging in “dirty tricks” in an effort to obtain advantage against their opponents. Whether it is to steal Postal Votes, manufacture & distribute fake “How to Vote Cards”, deface or steal an opponent’s election material, engage in mud-slinging, use deceptive electoral materials in foreign languages, they all do it & it is the major parties who do most of it.
We don’t need to be told about the branch stacking that goes on involving all the major parties. They’ve been doing it since Federation. We don’t need to be warned about Labor’s “Mediscare” or the Liberals “Death Tax” misinformation campaigns.
We have come to expect nothing less from both.
But an increasing number of us are unhappy at being taken for granted in that way. We are increasingly angry that our politicians think that our votes can be bought & sold for so little & that we aren’t concerned about larger issues that are of far greater importance to the future of our society.
We say a pox on both their houses.
A couple of weeks ago the Liberal candidate, the fabulous Fiona Kotvojs, set the tone when she expressed her concerns at the prospect of a Labor “fear-mongering” campaign, claiming that the people of the south-east had already endured enough hardship without having to suffer more.
Oh thank you Fiona; we are just so appreciative of your concern for our wellbeing.
This week we had “the Voice”, Labor’s Kristy McBain, devastated by a dirty campaign trick which falsely claimed she had fallen victim to COVID 2019 & had withdrawn from the contest.
What’s a girl to do?
Whether it’s Fiona making false & dishonest claims about Merimbula Airport or Kristy sledging the federal government over its failed response to the bush fire disaster, more & more people are growing tired of the shallow pretence that passes for public debate on important issues.
While some in the BVSRRA believe that Eden-Monaro would be better off with Fiona as our local federal member, simply because her party is in government, there are a good many others who would prefer to see Kristy packed-off to Canberra, if for no other reason than to get her out of the local council.
A pox on both their houses?
How bad would it really be if the electorate decided to give both these candidates the royal finger & vote for an unknown independent? Could it be any worse?
The value of a true independent is that they are beholden to no-one other than their electorate & in a situation where the government holds a majority of only one in the House of Representatives, they will surely be courted by both major parties & arguably have more influence as a result.
Over the past few months, our communities have been regaled by our political leaders as to the importance of “resilience” & how our communities needed to rebuild from within, relying on their own resources & strength rather than depending on the largesse of politicians & governments.
Perhaps part of being “resilient” is to have the courage to say “no” to the usual blandishments of the major parties & to say “yes” to one of our own?
Don’t vote Liberal or Labor: Vote 1 for Eden-Monaro. John Richardson
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association