Look out! Politics.

I’d love to comment on the political scene in Australia at the moment but the last time I wrote anything political (first and last time) the Old Boy made me remove it. He thought it’d upset his family. That’s the trouble with politics; someone is always going to be upset. (Before you get mad at him; he was right even tho’ I didn’t like it at the time. I love the family and, let’s face it, I don’t want to do anything that’d ruin Christmas.)

I really, really want to comment on the current scene because I get so frustrated with the ignorance of the … Nope. Even I can tell I was straying into contentious territory then. I must learn restraint.

My father was very vocal about his political views. As far as he was concerned the Liberal Party were the up-holders of civilization and the Christian way of life. Everybody else were communists. It never crossed his mind that any member of his family would ever consider voting for a political candidate who wasn’t Liberal. Democrats, social democrats, labor party, independents, greens…they all belonged to the dark side.

He was so adamant about this that, when I was a girl, I was convinced that Arthur Caldwell, then leader of the Federal Labor party, was either the anti-Christ or his brother. In primary school my class did a tour of Parliament House and our tour guide was the then leader of the opposition: Labor. I was genuinely frightened of him and kept to the back of the group so he wouldn’t do something ‘communist’ to me.

Every time there was an election – state or federal – Dad was quite open about who he would vote for. When I was old enough to vote, he put a Liberal ‘how to vote’ card in my hand, to make it easy for me to ‘make the right choices’.

I noticed that my mother never disagreed with Dad. She’d never say anything; she’d just smile mysteriously. When I was heading for the polling booth for the first time, my how to vote’ card clutched in my hand, I asked her what she was going to do. She said, “It’s a secret ballot, so I don’t have to tell anyone how I cast my vote. Do what you think is right.” And there was that little smile, again.

It drove Dad nuts that she’d never say how she voted. But, so sure of his own convictions, he just assumed she was ‘doing the right thing’. I often wondered about that. It may well be that she was just playing with him and she was as dyed-in-the-wool conservative as him. But, then again…

I wish I could be as restrained as my mother. Unfortunately, I think I’ve inherited too much of my father’s opinionated, heart-on-sleeve, have-to-tell-you-what-I-think way of dealing with things. I’ve blundered my way through too many delicate situations in my life to think otherwise. However, now that I’m mumbly-mumble and, hopefully, a little wiser I am trying to control myself. I don’t want to lose half my blog-readers because of differing political views. Right?

I will say this: over the years I’ve voted for the Liberal party, the Democrats, the Greens and Labor and an independent in the Senate. (Not all at the same time, of course!) I base my vote on the policies presented and the local candidate who impresses me. I’m not a communist, an anarchist or a one-eyed voter. I try to think about my choices. My father would be appalled but I think my mother would be proud.

 

4 Comments

  1. Wendy Noble
    Jun 29, 2013

    I think the important thing, Howard, is that we’ve grown up enough to be able to make up our own minds. I think every citizen should try to be an informed voter. And, even if I don’t always agree with your opinions, I will fight to the death for your right to hold them. 🙂

    • Howard
      Jun 30, 2013

      Wendy: as I recommended-

      Liberalism in Australia: An Historic Sketch of Australian Politics Down. By Herbert Vere Evatt.

      Free on Kobo books. Don’t be mislead by Evatt’s leadership of the Labor Party because 1 You don’t know where you are going unless you know what’re you have come from ( Allan Jeans- ex Hawthorn coach) 2 if you want a new idea, read an old book and 3 Evatt contends basically, that we have become a Liberal democracy, as distinct from only Liberal when we vote Liberal.

  2. Howard
    Jun 29, 2013

    My father was of the opposite persuasion. On reflection, he barracked for the Labor side like other people cheer and jeer at World Championship wresting. Still does. As a very grown ( borderline old) man I regard myself as a liberal of the philosophical kind. I agree with Menzies home social, home spiritual, home material argument that he espoused in 1942 in opposition and implemented in his succeeding years in the Prime Ministership. He gave the analogy of the Scottish yeoman behind the plough, envisaging better education and freedom in a liberal democracy for his son. The tool for his dreams was his home. I can laugh at that or accept that that is what I have done in my family life; although without a plough. A liberal does not necessarily have the benefit of money, or the safety of union type protection. A liberal cares for his family. A liberal has the freedom to express a view without the incumberance of tribal conformity to a manifesto. The only manifesto I am comfortable with these days is the apostle’s creed: a creed that in my estimation, is a freedom creed. Manifestos are laws with exclusion and retribution clauses and effects. When I was a young bloke I hated Mr Fraser’s guts. Now I respect his capacity to say what he thinks, whether his constituents feel comfortable with it or not. I like Barry Humphries as a comedian commentator for exactly the same reasons. As Nelson Mandella once said- don’t be afraid of your own freedom.

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