Wednesday, 28 May 2014

It seems our votes ARE worthless

and that is not something I say lightly.
We had a state election in March. Our local electorate voted the incumbent MP back in. He had about 55% of the primary vote and even more after preferences. He also had almost twice the number of votes of the party which managed to form minority government. He was popular and he was considered to be an able and loyal member of his party. He had been leader of the party until he made a foolish blunder and was forced to step down.
Before going into politics this man was an officer in the army. His entire career has been built on the concept of loyalty and leadership.
Yesterday he abandoned all that. He betrayed his party. He betrayed the people who voted for that party through him. He betrayed those who voted for him. He betrayed the principles of democracy and political representation.
Without consulting his electorate or his party he announced that he was becoming an "independent" - and taking up a ministerial position in the minority government which has, until now, known it would have to rely on the vote of another "independent" with a ministerial post. Both "independents" are ignoring the wishes of their electorates.
Politicians are our servants. They are not are masters. Although they behave as if they are our masters they must at some point face the electorate. The system is not perfect. Our state saw a minority government retain power when it should, on the numbers, have been sent to oblivion. That makes the actions of this man even more reprehensible. He is not merely going against the wishes of his electorate but against the wishes of a majority of people in the state.
There can be very few reasons for an elected member of parliament to leave the party he was elected to represent. One possible scenario would be if the party was in power and abusing that power in a way that was harming the electorate. That is not the case here.
The decision this man made was made not, as he claims, in the best interests of the people of this state. It was made simply in his own personal interest. He will - if he lasts - leave politics at the end of this term with a pension relating to that of a Minister rather than a member of the Opposition.
Thirty pieces of silver does not even begin to describe his actions.


Helen Devries said...

So dishonest and self serving.

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely fuming over this Cat. Some of us worked damned hard to get Martin re-elected. He didn't even have the courage to inform any of us or his colleagues on North Terrace before the announcement was made. He waited until Steven was boarding a plane and then sent him a text message!
I feel very sorry for his electorate staff because they are the ones who are going to get the brunt of the adverse reaction. Ros

jeanfromcornwall said...

That's not democracy; that's fraud.

Philip C James said...

Our democracy is debased (or more accurately the honour of our representatives). 100 years ago any MP taking up a Cabinet post had to submit to a by-election (on grounds that he would have less time to represent them and would have to toe government not their line) and if they didn't want him in the Cabinet, they had the chance to make it clear they did not want him in the Cabinet.

And it did happen. Churchill was appointed to Cabinet in 1906 (?) and submitted to by-election. And lost!

Anonymous said...

I am not in his electorate but I am also disgusted with him, and from reports my representative was scathing in his reaction. I am also pleased that a neighbor in a previous address who is now an MP is one of several who turned down the offer from the government.