Say hello to Geoff Shaw, the local Frankston Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly. Geoff has a government car and taxpayer petrol allowance, which is handy because he sells hardware and sometimes needs to move stuff from one place to another.
Geoff was an endorsed Liberal candidate when first elected, but has since decided to go it alone. The Liberal Party said yeah but, like, vote for our bills, won’t you, there’s a good chap.
Geoff is still my local member, but he’s sort of not. I could feel disenfranchised having an elected member not allowed into parliament, but no more disenfranchised than usual.
Geoff does not approve of abortion. He made a comment about “tummy eggs” and got everybody talking about abortion. In fact, he got the whole world talking about abortion. Geoff just sees this as proof he is a good rep who constantly raises the profile of Frankston.
Dear Geoff Shaw, if you really do know a lady with eggs in her tummy, that's not a baby. That's worms. #tummyeggs
Say hello to Victoria’s Liberal Premier, Dennis Napthine, aka napthaline aka naptime.
Dennis is a vet by trade, but doesn’t want to pass Oscar’s Law because he thinks most puppy farms are well run.
He was very disappointed with Geoff Shaw’s performance, defection etc. In turn, I am very disappointed in Dennis because, in addition to his stand on puppy farms, he wants to build a bloody big hole under Royal Park rather than deal with transport issues.
I’m very attached to Royal Park, but perhaps that’s a story for another day.
Say Hello to Daniel Andrews, leader of the Labor opposition in Victoria.
He was hoping he could trick the Liberal Party into calling an early election as a means of getting rid of Shaw altogether. Andrews doesn’t seem to understand that Naptime can’t be as stupid as he seems: No one could be that stupid… could they?
Say hello to Helen Constas, the Labor Party’s answer to Geoff Shaw. Daniel Andrews reckoned Helen should be a shoo in at the next election.
Helen had a faceache page, on which she made a vague statement about education, and on which I made a comment about her statement. About ten minutes after my comment was published it was deleted and comments for the faceache page were disabled altogether. This made me feel powerful, as it might mean someone actually read my comment.
Daniel Andrews is very lucky Premier Naptime was not stupid enough to call an early election, because Helen Constas has resigned as Labor candidate /shoo in for Frankston.
Constas was forced to settle a $500,000 bullying claim against her out of court. I’m sure the settlee signed a confidentiality agreement, which is usually a sure sign that the settler – who in this case would have the resources to price the settlee out of his/her legal rights – was really and truly scared the truth might out.
So, here is democracy at work:
1. the Labor Party does not want my input [unless I join up and pay for the privilege of being trampled by branch stackers]
2. I could vote according to the general philosophy of a party [as suggested by Peter Costello]. Victorian Liberal philosophy, apparently, includes not giving a damn about puppy farms or public transport.
3. I am currently unrepresented in State Parliament. Does this make an ounce of difference?
4. I don’t know of any candidates for the next state election other than Geoff Omelet. Hee Haw.
5. The federal government [courtesy the Curtin government’s monopoly on income tax and s 96 of the constitution] now tells states what to do – state’s blame feds and feds blame states and nobody takes responsibility for anything. We should abolish states and use the money saved to actually achieve something worthwhile.
An opinion published on the ABC website discusses the issue of political dissenters.
We might enjoy the odd politician crossing the floor, but the deep-seated need for stability leads voters ultimately to relegate political dissenters to nothing more than a romantic diversion, writes Paula Matthewson.
i.e. Hmm, it’s nice when people stand up for a principle we admire, but what if they stand up for something we don’t admire?
Geoff Shaw a romantic diversion? Or, from my side of the fence, Helen Constas?
I think Paula Matthewson gives our system of democracy more credit than it deserves.
Let’s say I don’t approve of breeding chickens in cages: I can withhold my money and let store keepers know that I want free range eggs/ poultry. If I don’t approve of my political options, all I can do is withhold my vote.
The only real “spending” power I have in democratic terms is if someone from a motoring enthusiast party or a wizard offers alternative products. Gosh, as it is parties who are endorsed by a majority of voters don’t give a shit about what product[s] we want. Label it anything, then give us crap. Oh, but so long as it's stable... well, better than a poke in the eye with a polling booth pencil, I guess.
Of course, if I really believed we get the democracy we deserve, I could apply TO THE GOVERNMENT for a permit to express my view in a public space. Then if I was really, really lucky, I would find people who agree with me, vote for me, help without hijacking my party: I could rise to the ultimate position of power and end up flying around the world - only to lose it all for chucking a wobbly if someone tried to feed me a sardine sandwich on the flight home. I would heave my guts up but be mortified and apologetic afterwards - but my credibility as a person of honour and principle would be destroyed.
Eggs would be better than sardines – preferably free range rather than tummy eggs.