2016 ACT Election dilemmas

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There has been a recurring conversation of late around how to vote. It was very evident during the Federal elections and has continued here in Canberra as we head towards the 15th October elections for the next ACT Government.

So many voters who have traditionally voted in a certain way now have second thoughts on what they will do in the future. I have tended to have this conversation with people whose vote has favoured Labor or similar.

However include in these conversations are a few who were traditional Liberal voters. For them the latest version of Neoliberal Conservatism as practised by the ACT opposition and the current national government is no longer what used to be a Liberal philosophy.

But let’s leave the issue of how to vote federally as being a done deal – for now.

The real focus here is on that dilemma of who gets the vote in the coming ACT Government elections. As with others I know who believe in the values of a working democracy, along with all its failings, this is presenting a serious set of issues. No one I know is happy about the choices we are being given.

The issues around planning, the environment, equity and a host of social issues, all sit alongside another that is important to myself and many I mix with – who among our candidates puts a high priority on cultural matters, aesthetics and the arts (in my case – especially the visual arts).

Locally it is been a long time since we had someone who had experience and a passionate interest in the local and national arts scenes.

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On the separate but linked matter, it is very difficult to find local politicians with a real passion for the urban issues – not just planning – but in the total complexities of design and the environment, including a love of aesthetics – not only in architecture but also the many facets of landscape design.

One would have expected that among the many potential politicians now putting themselves forward for the next ACT Assembly, and given the high interest in cultural matters and urban issues among the Canberra population, that there would be at least a handful of local candidates with such interests and passions.

It seems that this is not the case. Or at least I have not had any such candidates pointed out to me. Instead the conversations focus on the just how our politicians, and the aspiring politicians, must occupy another world  – different from populations who enjoy the arts.

And when it comes to planning and urban issues, no-one can explain how it is that so many otherwise seemingly caring people, just are not prepared to identify with and do something about the issues that really annoy so many residents here in Canberra. Even if all those residents have it wrong and all their passionate arguments for change are misplaced, why is that the current politicians are seen as not able to work openly with residents to come up with some creative and well designed solutions for this city?

It is indeed a mystery that the planning regimes, politicians and bureaucrats, continue to use spin and deceptions in their dealings the residents to progress what is perceived as all manner of inappropriate developments. Just who do our politicians and bureaucrats serve if it is not the local residents/voters?

So when it comes to making up the list of how to vote next time, one easy way is to start down the bottom with all those who should never get one’s vote. (The minimum number has to be five)

I can think of the first name to be down the bottom, or to leave out completely if I stick to the minimum required. Eventually someone has to be first, second etc. Well one would hope so! At the moment I cannot find anyone who would recommend anyone for that first vote – let alone second or others.

And before anyone suggests it – I do not believe that anyone should write a rude message or spoil their vote on purpose. This country deserves better from all of us. But bloody hell – we need some better candidates.

As for people such as myself with a life in the arts and who spent much of my working life around urban issues, there is simply nowhere to place those votes.

Watch this space for more debates around the quality of our politicians.

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