Lessons from the election


The Australian election is over and I can resume normal life. But I’ve learned a few interesting lessons along the way.

How it went down (info for non-Aussies)

The outgoing Australian government was ultra conservative and, it seemed to me, negligent, profligate and arguably corrupt. Australia was way behind the rest of the developed world in addressing climate change (because many in the government were sceptics), wasted large sums of taxpayer money on unjustified projects it hoped would lead to re-election, and treated women, indigneous Australians, refugees and the poor with disdain.

There was clearly a mood for change, most obvious in an unprecedented number of high quality Independent candidates seeking to break the near stranglehold the major parties used to have on parliamentary seats.

Time to get active

Ever since the government was elected, I was desperate to see change. So I have been part of several community groups seeking change in our electorate. Then when a high quality Independent candidate entered the race, I joined her team as a volunteer.

And so I put leaflets in letterboxes, handed them out in the streets, put out street signs and recommended her to my friends. Then in the last fortnight leading up to the election I organised teams of volunteers handing out “How-to-votes” at pre-polling centres, a task that took a lot of my attention and energy for 3 weeks. Then more how to votes on polling day at a polling booth. I was part of a team of hundreds of fellow volunteers.

I did all this because I believe God calls us to be part of what is good in the world and to care for his creation and those who live in it – especially those who don’t have a voice or have little opportunity to thrive.

We won ….. sort of

There was a change of government. The previous government lost a record number of seats and was severely rebuffed. A large group of quality Independents were elected to take up the fight on climate change, integrity in government and equality.

But the candidate I supported was not elected. Ours is an extremely conservative electorate, and despite our efforts we just could not change enough people’s minds.

A formative experience

My first time involvement in a community political movement was an eye-opener. I saw the good, the bad and the ugly in human beings. And I learnt some good lessons.

Stay tuned for what I learnt (starting next post).

Photo: two of our volunteers offering how to vote leaflets outside the pre-polling centre, with candidates’ signs behind.

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