Democracy Under Threat

Well here I am with my first blog written in response to an opinion piece by Jessica Irvine which featured in Courier Mail 6th June 2013

 It was the headline “Give Abbott the keys to the Lodge now” which first spiked my ire.

 While there is plenty in the article itself that ranges from speculation to misinformation, it is the assumption that an election would be a waste of time & money and that the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott should be installed as Prime Minister in a LNP led Government as quickly as possible. Lets completely ignore the fact that we currently have a democratically elected government which is not in care taker mode. Business of the government is continuing, bills are still being passed and supply is not compromised as in 1975. (Although that too was politics at its worst)

 What I object to most by Irvine’s assertion is the blatant disrespect for democratic processes. Firstly of a democratically elected government and secondly of my right and the right of all Australian citizens to vote. If the Australian people decide for a change in government when an election is called then that is what happens, it is not up to journalists to decide for them.

 As a feminist and human rights activist, I take my political franchise seriously. Australian women first gained the right to vote in 1895 in South Australia with other states eventually following. The right to vote for women followed long political campaigns by suffragettes. During their struggles, many women were imprisoned, beaten and in some cases died  for the cause. Women’s suffrage is explicitly stated as a right under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations in 1979. However in many countries this right is still denied to them. Women in Saudi Arabia will vote for the first time in 2015. Imagine the struggle Saudi women have had and the small step to equality and justice their vote will give them. I stand proud and tall on the shoulders of women who have gone before me and I never take the privilege of citizenship for granted.

  Universal suffrage in Australia was not reached until 1967 when Indigenous Australians, men and women,  were given political citizenship. It is a shameful part of our history that they were denied this right for so long.  Many women and men have been murdered in their campaign for suffrage in numerous countries including the USA during the civil rights campaigns.

 In some countries, people defy military, insurgents, threats, bomb scare & violence to get to polling booths. Such images are often brought to us via television and internet. I still remember the long queues of people waiting to vote in South Africa in 1994 at the end of apartheid when the right to vote was extended to all adult citizens.  In some villages people walked for miles and queued for days singing with euphoria. It annoys me when people say they don’t bother voting. Citizenship carries responsibilities which impel us to exercise our civic duty in an informed and diligent manner.

 I will leave it to others to comment on some of the more exaggerated claims within the article but as for giving Tony Abbott the keys to Lodge now. NO Jessica Irvine you can not usurp my democratic rights in your own pursuit to grab some opportunistic headlines.

Betty Taylor

About Bettsie

Writing on things important to me... Feminism Australian Politics Social Justice
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21 Responses to Democracy Under Threat

  1. Tas says:

    Great blog post. It really makes you think, somethings are so insignificant to some of us, they are taken completely for granted – but to someone else, the very same thing is worth more than gold (in this case, the right to vote).
    Some folk really have no idea how good we’ve got it right now – but should Abbott win in September, they soon will.

  2. jack craig says:

    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

    Abraham Lincoln

    Great Post Bettie

  3. Spagirl says:

    I agree!! Thanks Betty- it’s time the media in the country did just that- report and provide unbiased information- a rare commodity these days. Where is the critical analysis of what Abbott has to offer as an alternative leader of a government??!! Where is the informed real political debate?
    Instead we have soft fall journalists after a quick sound bite, a 24 hour news cycle that robs us of real analysis and proper reporting, a cacophony of shock jocks that screech misinformation and hatred for Prime Minister Gillard and her government ad nauseum. Voting should not be taken lightly. Great blog!

    • bettsie says:

      Thanks Betty. Decided to start this to speak out more. Tired of complicit media. Abbott looks to be elected with no costed policies and a race hate agenda. Australia deserves better.

    • bettsie says:

      Maybe this could be the start of our “You Dont Speak for Me ” Campaign

      • Amanda Mack says:

        Yes!

      • Think that Kate Ahearne at Fair Media Alliance would be a good place to start this Campaign. We are looking for good ideas and a slogan of “You Don’t Speak for Me” and perhaps more along those lines would be great.
        We are hoping to get some PEOPLE POWER happening.
        Thank you Bettsie for speaking up. You will make a difference. You have shown that to keep silent and just stew about something as important as this is not where we should all be right now. Well done.

      • bettsie says:

        Hi Sandra. Thank you for your kind feedback. Yes I do believe in peopple power. I love the quote of Margaret Mead..” Never doubt a small group of committed people can change society, in fact it is the only thing that ever has” Together we are finding our voice.

  4. Colleen Mcgregor says:

    Excellent blog Betty,we need to be reminded to value democracy & the hard fight that many had to to endure to achieve that right,& many still do…we will NOT ‘give Abbott the keys to the Lodge’ …it is a privilege to vote & no one will take that away from us! Thanks for fighting / writing for that freedom,keep it up- we will vote ALP because they advocate equal opportunity for all! Well done Betty.

  5. cowper133 says:

    A timely reminder to the lazy journalists that keep on using such provocative headlines because they don’t bother to do their job properly. Using time poor arguments is no excuse. They have plenty of time to write column after column of rubbish, so why not a few lines of fact.
    I love the idea of a “You Don’t Speak For Me” campaign. Sick of being treated as though I am too stupid to think for myself. Have been voting long before most of the current crop of journalists were born and have always taken my responsibility seriously.
    Keep up the great work.

  6. Amanda Mack says:

    An important point well made, Betty. The reporting on political issues during the term of this government has been appalling. Love or hate the government, I would have expected the media to be analysing policy and reporting on that. Instead we have seen them CREATING the news with their endless speculation about the ALP leadership, non-coverage, non-analysis of government initiatives, uncritical heralding of the Coalition despite the Coalition having disclosed very little in the way of policy, and an assumption, going back many, many months that the election result is as good as sealed. Even worse than suggesting we give Abbott the keys to the Lodge without the bother of an election, mainstream media reporting has taken away our democratic right to choose by feeding us a steady stream of hyperbole, conjecture, bias and misinformation. Thank heaven’s for bloggers and other social media types who are prepared to do a bit of analysis!

    • bettsie says:

      Hi Mandy.Thanks for your wonderful comments. Like you, I am also tired of hearing the same old media bias and spin. Especially now dragging out the leadership yet again. If it is not that it is aslyumn seekers. All disgusting. Keep up the great work you are doing Destroying the Joint.

  7. lmrh5 says:

    Reblogged this on lmrh5.

  8. Pingback: Democracy Under Threat | lmrh5

  9. Susan in Regional NSW says:

    Great article. I am so frustrated with the way MSM operates these days.
    Just report the facts, the whole facts, nothing but the facts.
    What part of the phone hacking scandal do ppl not understand? How can anyone with an IQ of room temp believe anything written in Mr.Murdoch’s press when his business could hack a murdered childs phone?
    Do they not realise that Mr Murdoch’s agenda is for his benefit and his alone? He does not give a big black rat’s hairy A for ordinary ppl. They are just mugs that line his pockets by buying his media in all its myriad forms.
    Today I realised that, while I have never been a keen shopper, I really hate visiting my local shops as comments from poorly informed ppl both customers and assistants assault my ears and drive me nuts.
    And what’s even worse many gloat over and revel in their ignorance and bigotry.
    And they will vote against a terrific local MP just because that “fountain of knowledge, beacon of tolerance and fair mindedness” Ray Hadley rants and raves on local radio against him.
    Truly I despair.
    As I said to the younger members of my family if anyone had told me when i was an idealistic 20/21 year old that in less than 40 years Australia would be a thoroughly bigoted, mean, nasty country I would have told them they were delusional. Sadly how wrong I was.

    • Thanks for your comments Susan. MSM certainly have a big sway over people’s opinions. So many people take everything in without questioning. Shame people dont see what is happening

  10. czerni says:

    Exactly. Radio ABC Brisbane passed a joke where a “voter” said he knew who will win. A friend told him, all his friends KNOW and the interviewer must be “the only one who didn’t know…”
    That’s not how elections work, and yes, what is happening here is taking democracy away from Australian voters. Certain countries do not allow polls directly before elections, mainly so not to discourage voters to actually go and vote. This obviously looks different in Australia with your (odd) obligatory vote, but it’s clear the polls have gone into overkill.
    No one knows what effect the participation of the newly formed Palmer United will have on the election. “protest voting” can significantly change an expected result.
    I am VERY frustrated not to be able to vote in Australia yet, the country i chose (!) to live in, but I m also sad to see how little serious many citizens AND politicians seem to take the most basic of democratic rights. And you are very right to point out how it was Fought for and is indeed a privilege considering how MANY are still deprived of it I this world.

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