What matters more – the people or the party? 227



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The last week in government and politics, both state and federal has given rise to much debate, anger and if anything has strengthened the public opinions of certain people. But after watching the Tony Abbott Australia Day debacle and the Queensland election campaign, it’s made me ask the question, what do Australians really care about? Is it the people or the party?

For years Australia’s two major parties have been easily stereotyped for their policies and the campaigns that go along with it. The Australian Labor party is the party for the people. They’ve made a name by fighting for the working class Australians and this has been a reoccurring element throughout the campaigns in history. This is great but the only foreseeable problem is that their policies, which are aimed at keeping Australians happy, employed, healthy with as little financial worry as possible, are also hugely expensive and their idea of funding has seen countless governments end up in severe debt.

Conversely, the Australian Liberal party has always been a party for the economic strength of the state or country. Their policies have been about restoring financial balance and strength in the country so it in turn can eventually help the people by keeping them happy, employed and healthy – as long as the country can afford it. Again, this seems great but the big problem is that this macroeconomic approach seems harsh to the average Australian and their policies that ultimately are aimed at building a better Australia for the people are perceived to be bullying, taking from the poor man to feed the rich man.

The thing is, there is intrinsically very little that actually makes the parties different. It all comes down to the how. Not the what. But this difference becomes much greater when we start to look at the people representing the parties and the way the parties campaign. As time goes on party leaders seem to be swinging people’s votes now more than ever.

As people, we have strong opinions of others. We judge others whether we like it, or care to admit it, or not. But when we have a negative opinion of one person, anything relevant to them becomes tarnished. This is what we’ve watched happen to Liberal party leaders.

Tony Abbott’s speaking blunders, the unusual public speaking style, the quirky sense of humour and the bizarre things like the Medicare reform backflips have caused Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister, to fall low in favour with a lot of the Australian people – both Liberal and Labor supporters. But this has made us look past the policies and instead place major political judgement on the people leading the parties.

And I have to ask, is this the right thing to do? Or will this end badly for us, the people?

It makes sense – the party leader is the utmost representation of that party and if all they can do is blither from time to time or appear too forceful, then backflip on policies and make captain’s picks without the party support, it isn’t a good look. I personally don’t want a leader like that running this country. But then I remember the policies and the reason why he was there in the first place.

So does it come back to the fact that there are no honest, well-serving politicians around anymore? Are the people in politics right now not capable of leading a party with integrity and inspiring and gaining the trust of the people? In that case, why do we continue to care about the people and why not look past that and vote for the policies?

In the Queensland election I’ve heard so many people say, “I don’t like Campbell Newman so I’m going to vote Labor”. That is great – but is that because you don’t like the Liberal party leader or you don’t like the Liberal party policies? If it’s a combination of both and you like the Labor parties policies and leader better then that’s great. But I get the feeling people are voting for or against the person – not the party.


Today I’m curious. What do you feel is the right thing to do? Is it a combination of both? Or what is the important thing – the people or the party? As Queensland Election Day falls tomorrow let’s hope that people at least vote for and against the thing that matters most.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. The Policies the LNP Government has are why you are hearing from me and many other pensioners that come in here, out there in Internetland the keyboards are typing hard, so many people do not like this budget, it is not just us older people. The Budget is unfair, we will not be silenced, nor will we accept it. This LNP Government lied to get into office, I won’t be trusting them again and I doubt many will

    2 REPLY
    • Laba Party? what party is that? The Liberals are lying gutter scum. and they even made a billboard of their lies

  2. Lies, Broken Promises, bullying , threats, absurd behaviour from the PM and unfair budget is why these Liberals are falling in the polls. I don’t think they can recover now..it is to late

    4 REPLY
    • Lies, broken promises, bullying from union leaders , threats, absurd behavior from Rudd and co and a budget that was destroying Australia , and still is , is why Labor failed in the last election. Yes , I agree , it too late. Sacrificing the country for votes from unsavory sources , just to be elected is already happening

    • run away Leonie Ferguson..go chase a car..you can’t seriously think I am interested in anything you have to say? Rudd is gone..Abbott is in Government now and look at the mess he is making of this country..oh and by the way Rudd was born in Australia unlike the Pommie we have in Parliament now !!

  3. Both major parties have an ideological base and as Tony Abbott has said “people know what we stand for”. The major problem with the party system at this point in time is that a majority of their parliamentary members have either worked in party or ministerial offices and as a result they are indoctrinated into the traditions of the “machine”. We need to return to a “grass roots” base where candidates come from broad community based experience where they are familiar with the views and feelings of their local community. This then results in policy development that addresses what communities want and not the vested interests of lobby groups, the mining industry, media proprietors or the mega rich and powerful.

    5 REPLY
    • well said ..I work for many charities and the appeal has gone out to the communities for help, they have are cutting funding to the most needy in our country, and sadly it is the greedy who will benefit

    • You forgot to mention powerful, cashed up unions in your list. I do agree we need to get away from the ‘machine candidates’ of both major parties.

    • They are all career Politicians, not many have lived in normal Australian society..they don’t have a clue who we are. The LNP Politicans have only ever mixed with the rich, they live in Rich communities and see the rest of us as disposable trash

    • Don’t entirely agree Leanna. There are many like our local member who are spirited, energetic, participatory members of their communities, not afraid to get ‘down and dirty’ and who are liked personally by even those who do not agree with their politics.

  4. omg, here is that face again!!! I was talking to many people in my pensioner group yesterday and they are all disgusted, this is a very arrogant Government. Not one person said they will vote for them

  5. Excellent article, I wish a lot more people could read this! The media has a lot of “sheep” following and believing some out of context journalism.

  6. Apart from the lies and broken promises, there is high unemployment , our $ is dropping so fast it will probably be only good for toilet paper soon. They seem to have tampered and mangled every area they touch,.Tony Abbott promised a DD if the Senate did not pass his budget..he lied again

  7. Look at the Greens policies. They are the party that cares about people and the environment. Never was there a more important time in history to care about the environment.

    6 REPLY
  8. I believe most people are being swayed in their views by two things only. Firstly their dislike of the leader of the party, and secondly (and probably more importantly) how the policies of that leader (and party) personally affect them as voter – and their hip pocket.

    8 REPLY
    • People will always be concerned about Policies that affect them, a Government is elected on the issues it presents to Australia..this Government lied

    • In my experience, almost every government we’d had, lies. The previous (Labor) government lied too. I doubt that many of us expect governments not to lie these days. Sad situation. As for people being concerned for themselves – of course – but it’s unfortunate that we don’t also look to the future instead of only focussing on ourselves as the “affected”.

    • Lorraine Moyles you can peddle that arrogance to the rich..they will probably buy it, but unfortunately there are more pensioners (who vote) than self funded retiree’s and more poor in this country than rich !

    • I think also that the Media has way too much input into politics in Australia. It is its job to report and not to continually commentate and attempt to ‘make’ news.

    • Marie Deer McMullen well said if the government comes down I blame the news media 100%
      SBS the worst of all. No TV channel should be allowed to sway the public view. But then the sheep all follow. What happened to their own brains.

    • Are you saying Leanna that the Labour Government has never lied? Come on! You are always on about self funded retirees! For years now people have paid into Superannuation schemes, to help when they retired! They were all affected too in the financial crash. We are not now or ever been rich! As you put it. Both of us worked hard, I worked every weekend for 22 years,in a nursing home. We had 4 children we put through in the catholic schools. We had and never expected help from the government. It’s time people stopped whinging about the governments and let them get on with what they were elected to do. As everyone was I was surprised at the knighthood of Phillip. But come on everyone. He didn’t commit murder or worse take money out of your pockets, now that would have upset you all. Build a bridge and get over it. Worry about more important things.

    • Molly Holland, it just goes to show what little regard he has for the selfless hard working people of THIS country that give of their time & life to help other people & deserve honours like this instead of a Royal..he’s a fool, even his own party don’t like it but once again he has made the decision that HE wanted & not what the LNP agreed on…it was a slap in the face to Australian People & on Australia Day of all days.

  9. As far as Qld goes, I am worried. People are going to vote in a group of 7 people who have absolutely no experience because they dislike the LNP leader. The Labor leader was asked yesterday what the GST rate was and she didn’t know! Her only policy was that we had to get rid of the Newman government and if she wins, she will give us her policy in 12 months time. We are so lacking in statesmen and people with abilities in both sides. Labor has lost the plot by only having union people to run the country. I am so relieved that we have an independent to vote for in my area.

    10 REPLY
    • You are a L N P voter and you voted all your live for the L N P, IT looks like you like to pay more for electricety because that will be the outcom wen our assets been sold or leased of

    • Morvyth, you’re right. There are too many issues that need attention and the least we should be able to expect is someone who has political savvy. The leader is only one part of the party.

    • OMG the entire GST system will collapse if ALP get in cause Anastacia didn’t know off the cuff what the rate was. Your BS might work with some people you buffoon

    • Whatever either party says, in my opinion, we just CANNOT AFFORD Labor and the “Nanny State” we must live within our means, we cannot afford all the amazing benefits and services put in place by Labor, not yet anyway. It is extremely helpful to be a beneficiary of these benefits, but it’s time citizens helped themselves in many cases and funding put in the places that are needed by people who cannot help themselves. Just my opinion, probably be laughed or insulted off the page, but never mind.

    • Excuse me but a lot of things are already MEANS TESTED and it is just a few who slip through the net. Actually we CANNOT AFFORD to have a government who solely represents the wealthy and big business people and who have no heart.

    • The Leader is only one part of the Party; however, if that Leader bypasses his colleagues and silences them so as not to be criticised, then it eventually destroys the Party. This is what Tony Abbott is doing whether you like it or not. Bring back Malcolm Turnbull now and then they may stand a chance of having a decent Party. Shorten should also go. Both parties need to start from scratch now and get some decent policies in place…..i.e. be fair to everyone.

    • When Tony Fitzgerald calls the LNP corrupt Queenslanders should listen after all he does have the runs on the board

  10. The people of course! And I don’t mean the politicians but the voters. Time politicians started to listen and they will eventually or they will fade away! Money & power won’t outlast a kind word or a kind heart!

  11. People are important and politicians living in the peoples world and addressing issues not adding hardship

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