Letter to the Editor
To the Editor,
Well the election results are in and the most disappointing thing about the result is that as soon as Howard called the election, he started using terms such as ‘the mandate of the people’ — as if winning this election was an endorsement or absolution of all the injustices he perpetrated not only against refugees and potential ‘terrorists’ but against the Australian people — not least of which, an executive decision to go to war without even consulting parliament.
I fervently hope that the priorities of the electorate that have seen Howard return to government is a lack of faith in Labor’s ability to maintain the economy (which most economists are saying is unsustainable anyway) or just a belief that the Liberal Party is ‘- this time round – the better partly to lead us through these ‘turbulent’ and ‘uncertain’ times.
It is unfortunate that the Democrats have lost so much credibility in recent years, and further disappointing that they have engaged in antagonistic politics with the Greens, with whom they should have so much in common. People must have many reasons for voting Liberal, but surely it is not an endorsement of the willful deceit of the Howard administration on matters of social justice, international policy or â€˜global peace’.
The Liberal Party has won the vote this time. In the next three years, we must be especially careful to make our voices heard, so that Howard does not mistake an election result as carte blanche.
Of course I am saddened by the result, but I am equally saddened by the immediate anger that has come from the left — loose talk about the majority of Australians being ‘stupid’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘greedy’.
I understand (now) that this anger is part of the grief from people who have worked hard for change, only to see the opportunity not only lost, but a significant swing towards a government I consider to think itself unaccountable to the people.
I think a major problem we’ve had in this campaign is that we’ve had a limited number of parties setting their own agendas and when it comes time to vote, we have to choose the one that seems best to us. I don’t see either of the major parties attempts to differentiate themselves from each other as actually *listening* to the people and coming up with policies that truly reflect the wants, needs and interests of the Australian people.
Nevertheless, the anger coming from the Left seems counter-productive to me, and in essence, an attack on democracy — an undercurrent of anger that the majority of people haven’t agreed with them, but to me, this is what democracy is all about…
I personally believe that Australia probably *did* have to get involved with the Coalition Of The Willing, and I also believe that no matter which party was in control, external pressures would have forced our hand — I believe there was a strong relationship between Howard’s executive decision to go to war and the Free Trade Agreement that was awaiting ratificiation.
Needless to say, I also believe we got screwed at both ends on that deal.
So, as I was saying, I believe we would have been forced into this conflict either way, and to a certain extent, I accept that. What I do find repugnant is that there was no-one in the Liberal Party who had the balls to tell us the real reasons why, instead of ramming all this homeland security and the importance of freedom etc down our throats…
We have been involved in the supposed toppling of oppressive regimes, and yet when people risk their lives to escape them, we lock them up. The liberators of the world and the jailers of those who liberate themselves…
They treated us as if we were stupid, and when we tried to question it, they just repeated the same crap until we got tired of asking. Yes, it’s a cynical ploy on their part, but at the same time, some of us were too cynical to actually believe we could *force* them to become accountable.
I don’t believe that the people of Australia have decided that John Howard is an honest man, I simply believe that for some reason that my own priorities make it difficult to understand, people have decided that the Liberals will be the more effective party over the next three years.
I am often irritated by the Left’s (and by this, I don’t exactly mean Labor), belief that if they simply give people the information, that they’ll come to the same conclusions.
I believe we have a responsibility to keep this information flowing, but I also believe that this election proves that we also have to listen to what the people who voted against us have to say. Not the parties or their campaigns, but the people who actually voted… we need to find out why.
But if we go into this presupposing that these people are ignorant fucks who simply don’t care about what is ‘important’, I doubt we’ll learn anything, and I doubt they’ll feel much like talking to us.
Find people who voted Liberal, and find out why — listen, don’t judge. How else are we ever going to win their vote, no matter which party we support or are involved in.