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  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee

This is not about politics

But that might actually be a lie; a partial lie. The Federal Election is upon us and politics is palpable. It is under discussion in households, classrooms, radio stations, tv current affairs programs, cafes and streets across the country. We are in election mode and the only thing we can be grateful for is that we are not in America!

But as promised I’m not going to write particularly about political campaigns and who said what and what improbable promises have been made; but I am going to write about politicising.  That is, the act of making a political point out of ordinary activities and events.

I am sometimes amazed that many politicians seem to believe that education, health, mental wellness, disability needs and jobs become significant only at election time. That these key social ideas and needs become concepts to be thrown up as perennial political hot potatoes that simply require an airing every few years. The promises of more dollars in one area or another are designed to keep everyone happy until they fish around in the political strategies bag when the next election is afoot. Do we really believe that schools and hospitals and care providers go into a dormant state between elections? That the issues become invisible during that hiatus?

Now I am not by nature cynical…tragically more idealist and optimist than this blog might suggest…but the one thing that annoys the living ‘bejesus’ out me is taking the things I hold dear and making them a five minute topic of conversation during elections. Our young people, our elderly, our homeless, jobless, disabled and unwell are not fair game for political point scoring. And strangely they do not go away the minute we cast our votes and settle back into three years of expectation.

While we wait for the crumbs of political promises to reach those of us at the coal face we become more disillusioned and mistrusting. Education, for one, is not a political concept, it’s a social one. Inequity and lack of vision here ultimately is the price the whole country has to pay. Children’s minds and wellbeing should not be up for grabs to win votes!

Where are the visionaries? Where is the big picture for Australia’s future? Who is looking beyond July 2nd and saying this is what Australia should be like in five, ten…twenty years? Where is the courage that is required to perhaps sacrifice the immediacy of public popularity in order to create a future vision for our country?

Spend the dollars as you must, promise the constituents what you think they want but please don’t politicize what surely are the rights of us all who find our home in this country. We have the right to be educated, to have dignity through work, to practise our faiths, to be cared for when we are vulnerable, to live a well and happy life, to contribute to our society and be proud of the peacefulness of our communities.

And not just at election time but the long haul between the promises.

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