Politics. It's always an interesting topic for discussion. It often seems to be a love-hate relationship between the public and politicians. With the upcoming election, politics is a topic that I could hardly let slip by. The 2010 election is set to be one of the most interesting elections that I have been able to vote in. While the televised great debate between the two candidates was less than interesting, there have been other snippets which have attracted my attention. The debate on morning television, a few days ago, between the Australian Sex Party and Family First was possibly the most entertaining tidbit so far.
I have been doing my research on the policy content of all of the major parties in order to choose who best to allocate my vote. While my mind has already been made up for some time now, I am still interested to hear other views. Today whilst I was on my morning walk, I spoke to a man who was advocating in the local mall for his political party. It was a party I had never heard of. A minority party. I was hoping for some kind of intelligent discussion on the policy views of this particular party, but I was sadly disenchanted when given a handful of brochures (which I kindly gave back and asked them to be recycled) and given some hollow information about trains and farming practices with absolutely no substance or any reasoning to back up the opinions. I tried to prompt him on some more prominent policy that the majority would be interested in, such as health policy, and received a response that both scared and appalled me. I was further shocked when this guy became very defensive when asked about preferential voting. The response: Why should that even matter?
Well why indeed? When I first was given the chance to vote I was uninterested in voting at all and questioned the point of wasting a Saturday to stand in line for half a day in order to cast a vote for someone or something I could care less about. However over the years I have come to understand the importance of voting. While not all areas of policy have a direct impact on me personally, some policies can and do impact on me both directly or indirectly. If I can make an informed choice about who to vote for then I can choose what I feel is right. If I decide to vote for a political party other than the two major parties, I want to know how and why my vote will count. What will a minority party do to help inform the major parties when it comes to policy and decision making? I want to make sure that the party that I choose to vote for, adequately reflects my own values and beliefs so that when policy is legislated, all angles of the argument are accounted for. The "Two-party preferential system" can be difficult to understand, however it is better to know how the system works so that a vote is not blindly cast for a minority party without the knowledge of where that vote will end up.
I am glad that I have the opportunity to vote so that even in some small way my voice might be heard. I know that voting will determine the fate of the country for better or worse, however, may the best candidate win.