ELECTIONS – THEY DO MATTER
November 8, 2010
East Gippslanders have every right to feel a little ‘election fatigue’ after a Federal campaign that lasted 17 days longer before the independents supported Labor again.
But I would caution against switching off completely as the seat of Gippsland East will be one of the most hotly contested in the state.
The Nationals, Liberals and the independent all have a chance of holding the seat and many of the issues confronting voters have Federal and State implications.
Concerns over funding for the Gippsland Lakes, securing federal funding for the Princes Highway, and protecting jobs in our traditional industries from the policies of the extreme environmentalists are all topics that featured during the Federal campaign.
Similarly, the need for additional funding to be directed at regional health issues and the failure of State and Federal Governments to improve safety on our streets will be debated widely over the next two weeks.
From recent experience at a Federal level, it is important for voters to know exactly who they are voting for and what policies they support.
All of the parties release policy platforms which are available on their websites and voters can see exactly what they are planning to deliver if they hold a position of influence.
In the Federal election, the independent candidates didn’t do that – in fact, I can’t recall the Federal independents ever releasing a fully costed policy.
They tend to comment on the issue of the day and call on the different parties to take action. It’s an easy way to get a media headline but they haven’t had to accept responsibility for deciding which of their ‘thought bubbles’ should be funded in the annual budget and which ones will have to wait until there’s more funding available.
Some of that has changed now the independents and Greens are supporting Labor in Federal Parliament. They will be forced to take responsibility for their actions – naturally, they will benefit from good policy decisions made by Labor and they will have to wear their share of the blame if poor decisions are made.
The candidates will all be out and about over the next two weeks – I urge locals to ask them what they will actually deliver in terms of policies for our region if they are successful.