February In Review: Why voting smarter will help us trust the Government

[In] Australia increased trust in the institution of government is up 13 percentage points to 56 per cent.

However, three in five Australians (60 per cent) do not trust government leaders to tell the truth regardless of how complex or unpopular it is.

And two in five Australians (40 per cent) do not trust government leaders to make ethical and moral decisions.

Source: Business Insider 

February was a really interesting month — Schapelle released, Ukraine in turmoil, Protests at the Winter Olympics, The USA dodging another fiscal default, Aussie troops coming home from Afghanistan, The violent death of an asylum seeker at Manus Island and GWAR’s decapitation of a Tony Abbott effigy at Soundwave.

In one way or another, all those events speak of discontent toward the institution of Government and its leadership.

The Institution is the structure of Government, the bureaucracy, the elections, the processes and procedures, the passage of legislation, and the roles played by certain people.

The leadership is the ruling party, who win power via electoral processes.
I would say democratic processes, but no two democracies are the same, they all have they subtleties and differences.
Democracy is a broad term for me.

“What can we understand from those statistics, PIK?

That we [Australians] trust the institution of Government, but not so much the leadership. Our trust in Politicians is decreasing — to be able to make decisions and be honest.

In our society, we trust  many people of many occupations to deliver on promises through their work — we trust plumbers, chefs, postmen, pilots to use their skills to assist us when we require it. We trust them because we deal directly with them.

In my opinion, politicians are not trusted because there is a lack of understanding about what it means to be a politician.
There are two facets — representation [the people of their electorate] and then as part of a political party [ representation of specific values].

So what it means to be a politician is to represent political party values on behalf of the people who elected you.

Therein lies a societal dilemma: which values or opinions should take preference?

In a perfect world, political parties and vested interests wouldn’t exist. But think about it, pollies aren’t the only ones with vested interests — the people they represent have varying opinions as well — I.e. some might be more fiscally conservative, whereas others might be pro-welfare/foreign aid etc.

Only the majority of people elect you as a politician, so you have to serve the people that didn’t vote for you/don’t share similar values or ideas. Everyone has to work with people they don’t agree with. That is why politicians “Can’t do anything right” because there will always be a dissenting minority in electorates, that is a truth of Democracy.

The people who win 100% of the vote usually hold guns to people’s heads or only have the choice of one party to vote for.

The WA ‘lost votes‘ scandal got me thinking. I had been lost for solution until now!

There is a deficiency of understanding about voting, a lack of understanding, an absence of education. Whatever you like to call it. Even from my personal observations, some people don’t understand the impact of who they put 2,3,4,5,6 etc on there ballot paper. Even on Australian Senate papers, whether you vote above or below the line, it all makes a difference to who represents us as a State, whose values we choose to represent us. Whether that’s the Liberals, Labor, Motoring Enthusiasts, Shooters and Fishers, the Sex Party , The Greens etc.

Votes are such important documents, and it is treated like such a chore by some people. If the attitude towards voting can change at a grass-roots level then we can improve the quality of the people representing us. WA is getting a second chance at this, I think we should make the most of it.

Because I know the thought of voting below the line on an Australian Senate paper [pictured] makes you want to pull this face [also pictured]:
senatepaper

My next entry will be a more in-depth breakdown of the WA Senate re-election: how to understand a Senate Paper, and a short brief on all the parties standing in WA for the April 5 re-election.

In the mean time, have a go at my poll! Feel free to comment any thoughts as well!

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.

– PIK

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