We need to pay attention

On my December podcast at the beginning of the month I launched a mighty rant at America for electing Donald Trump as President. On this blog I warned about World War 3. But the ANU has put out a study that Paul Murray spoke of on his Sky News show last night that puts out a very serious warning. Here are the points Paul highlighted;

52% Politicians don’t know what ordinary people think

This is alarmingly high, but I suspect at the same time that it’s out of misinformation. Politicians actually know more than the people think they do – but having said that it doesn’t reflect in their actions, hence the perceived misinformation. I’m actually closer to the political sphere than most people having met with each of my local members of Parliament at federal level at least once – and that includes Julia Gillard (when she was a humble back bencher). The key here is to put everything out there through local newsletters both in the mail and online. Catherine King is excellent at this. There’s also being about and approachable (Catherine again). Do All politicians do this? The backbenchers would because they have time. It’s harder for Ministers but some make the effort (Jill Hennessy was approachable for instance). I would suggest that the Coalition would do well to learn from this, as they are the worst at it. There are exceptions – Ken Aldred for instance when he was the member for Deakin was terrific.

40% Not satisfied with democracy

I would expect this stat. When one doesn’t keep their election promises (and both parties have been guilty of this but I’ve found the ALP better at explaining it) there is bound to be a bounce against democracy. It also reflects on the frustration with the application of political correctness, which is a mixed bag of rightful actions and blatant over reactions.

30% Took a detailed interest in the election

I’m not surprised this is this low, because it would be the case that a high percentage would be concrete voters for one party. This stat represents the swinging voters.

26% Trust in Government

This is too low for my liking, and reflects on what I said about democracy above.

26% People in Government can be trusted

This is related to the previous stat, but this one is more about the individuals rather than the system. I don’t just mean the Ministers. I also mean those who work in the Departments – and believe me right now I have no time for the federal Attorney General’s department as an example!! But on the other hand I have all the time in the world for the Health Department in Victoria. So it varies.

22% Political parties care what we think

This is also too low for my liking and it’s where the angst that was reflected in not only the American election but also in our election shows itself. This angst causes people to bail to minor parties – whether it be Palmer United at the previous election or NXT on July 2 as an example. Heck, even at state level here in Victoria we have the likes of the Sex Party and Vote 1 Local Jobs. The Greens also have a role to play, and the major parties I think are actually mishandling them – attacking them instead of addressing the issues at hand and undermining them. The ALP is progressing in that regard but it’s hard work.

19% Don’t feel close to any party

I actually thought this one would be higher, but thinking about it this probably includes all of the minor parties – including the extremist parties like Rise Up Australia, Australia First, the Socialist Alliance and the infernal Health Australia Party. I would be wanting to see the figures for the party lines that are represented by the other 81 percent. That would tell a much stronger story as to where the political landscape could be heading. I consider that to be an important figure, especially when it comes to predicting future trends and issues that can decide any election – whether it be state or federal. Actual membership doesn’t tell that story well enough.

I didn’t listen to the video from where I got the statistics, so no doubt Paul Murray had his own take on it. I guess everyone will – but the question is, who amongst those who should be paying attention are?

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