Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Independents Ask Major Parties for Inconvenient Truths

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Independents Ask Major Parties for Inconvenient Truths

Article excerpt

IS it just me or does everyone think the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?

I'm no Franklin D Roosevelt, by the way. In the 2007 federal election I ran as an independent against our notorious incumbent Peter Slipper.

Some might recall I polled 13.3% of the primary vote, barely a speed hump in Mr Slipper's taxi trip back to Canberra.

In my job as a radio announcer I am regularly approached by people who have a problem and are looking for an advocate and I get more than my fair share of emails that start with, "You should do something about thisC*".

Most who contact me have already tried the office of the federal member. In the past month we put hundreds of calls to air from people disillusioned by both major parties with no idea who to vote for.

But what did you do? You voted for the major parties. In Fisher you voted for an incumbent who has proved time and again he won't take your issues to Canberra.

In fact, he's rarely interested in meeting with you to discuss them.

Peter Slipper enjoys what must surely be the safest seat in the first world. Thanks to the Liberal National Party grandfather clause, he is unlikely to vacate it.

I didn't run again because I knew I'd get another flogging, but I'm still passionate about change. And even for dyed-in-the-wool Liberal voters, it won't hurt a bit, I promise.

Most people have noticed how much Labor and Liberal seem to agree on.

That's not fatal. In fact, it's part and parcel of more than a hundred years of stable government in Australia.

But at best it's unrepresentative and at worst, undemocratic.

Did anyone else notice that no-one used Peter Slipper's high spending to stop Tony Abbott's "Stop the waste" slogan in its tracks?

That's because Mr Slipper is not alone. Being generous with each other "within the guidelines" is all part of the nudge and wink.

In two decades of blatant misuse of public funds for party political and personal purposes, independents have been the voice for restraint and change. …

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