Thursday 14 December 2017

Going into parliament

costs money. 
I always knew that but there was an article in the paper about how much it costs to even get "pre-selected".  It doesn't end there either. If you get elected you are expected to pass over a regular little chunk of your salary to your party.
One major party will allow you to vote out of the party line - unless you are a cabinet minister or shadow cabinet minister. The other major party will not allow you to vote out of line. They both expect help with fundraising - although only one actually states that. The other doesn't need to state that as it also gets income from another source - but woe betide you if you don't turn up at the sausage sizzle.
The two major parties cost about the same in the end I suppose. And then there is a third party. It's new - although the leader of it has been around for years. He has moved from state politics, to federal politics, and now (his hope) back again. He has an outstanding capacity to make publicity for himself. He has been a "darling" of the media because of it. Publicity in fact has got him everywhere. He has a political party of his own now. And, he wants funds. Running for his party is going to require a massive financial commitment on the part of the individual - win or lose. 
I wonder about all of this. Even joining the political party of your choice will cost something. I have no idea what the annual subscriptions are  but I suspect they are fairly high. And, even if you don't want to run for office, there is the fundraising to be done. It's not just a cake stall or a "chook" raffle these days. Some years ago the office of a local member of parliament was looking for much bigger donations. 
Yes of course you can donate your time as well - if you feel sufficiently passionate about the cause.
I am wondering about this right now as I have been approached for help to write some election material.  
    "Cat, we need some help...could you sort of just do it...and we won't say anything...."
The group knows I am sympathetic to the idea. They also know I try to remain politically "neutral". That doesn't mean I fence sit but it does mean that I won't join a political party. I really do read the party policies on websites. I do actually ask questions.   
But I also know that, the way we go about it, we don't get the best people into parliament. 
We just get those who can afford, for one reason or another, to be there.

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

You've forgotten to mention minority parties as well. It is so important to have a broad range of voices in the parliament and that needs to include people who represent the interests of minority groups. These don't need to be extremist groups. The voices of migrants, people with disabilities, those who live in lower socioeconomic conditions and of children are voices that struggle to be heard and respected. Our elected representatives are supposed to be helping those voices to be heard but I have to say that until we have had women in parliament and people with disabilities in parliament, their issues rarely made the political agenda (at least not without significant difficulty and lobbying) - they certainly were not heard or respected enough.
I am certain it is no coincidence that issues of sexual harrassment of women (think of notorious movie directors and tv presenters) and endometriosis did not get a respectful public hearing until we had women in positions of editorial power and infuence in the media and in our parliaments. This is why it is so important to have minority voices represented properly by members of those groups (those who are 'living it') and not just used as attention grabbers to be exploited by media-mongering political stuntmen.
I agree with you about the financial barriers which prevent effective people from being elected. Somehow I think the wisest people realise that they can probably achieve more outside the political system where their energy can be fully utilised for their cause and not wasted on party political games.