Political commitment needed to build trust

Political commitment needed to build trust


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THE federal election campaign only officially began last week, although it feels like it's unofficially been going on for months.

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THE federal election campaign only officially began last week, although it feels like it's unofficially been going on for months.

As soon as Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured left) called the election for May 18, posters sprung up overnight on every stobie pole along every major town's main street. But, of all the faces smiling down on electorates across the country, so few will succeed in their efforts to be elected.

It's safe to assume even fewer will still be serving in parliament by the time the next election rolls around, if the turnover of the 45th federal parliament is any indication.

How can we trust that those we elect will see the term through and stick with their nominated party?

Hopefully this time we won't have any ineligible dual citizens throwing their hat in the ring. The dual citizenship crisis forced the resignation of eight senators and led to seven by-elections.

Of the 12 SA Senators elected in the 2016 federal election, a third are either serving a different party than they represented at the election, or are no longer sitting in parliament at all.

Cory Bernardi swapped the Liberals for his Australian Conservatives party, Skye Kakoschke-Moore was a victim of the citizenship crisis, Nick Xenophon quit to focus on his SA Best state election campaign and Family First's Bob Day was ruled ineligible, only to be replaced by Lucy Gichuhi, who later switched to the Liberal Party.

Those of us who take our democratic right to vote seriously can still end up being represented by people who received a mere handful of votes at the election.

What frustrates me most is those who seem to just change their minds. Senator Bernardi was happy to be elected as a member of the Liberals, but just seven months later, started his own party.

And looking interstate, what about Qld Senator Fraser Anning? Since entering parliament in November 2017, he's quit One Nation to become an independent, joined and been kicked out of Katter's Australia Party and served once again as an independent, all in the space of 18 months.

Federal elections are just three years apart, yet in that time we can encounter new PMs, MPs, countless cabinet reshuffles and endless policy changes.

When I go to vote next month, I hope I can find someone on the ballot paper that sticks true to their word.

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