A nation of barrackers

Australian politics has become a battleground where warriors loyal to death raise their political colours to support their chosen party or ideology. The battlelines have been drawn according to political party, or just simple left/right divisions.

This might be a jolly bit of fun if it were merely sporting teams involved, and the real future of Australia as a nation weren’t at stake.

The political discourse lacks nuance, intelligence and informed judgement. Evidence-based policy with a clearly articulated goal has been trampled for populist uninformed initiatives. Shooting sharks, for crying out loud! The treachery dispensed to asylum seekers has no basis in law or policy.

Long-term initiatives to address the challenges of the future, climate change being the most pressing, are ignored in favour of short-term [again] populist actions. Where is our 10/50/100/500 year plan? What do we see for this nation in 200 years’ time? 20 years?

Who does this serve? Certainly not democracy. And that is why I’m deeply concerned by this new phenomenon of political barracking. Democracy is only served when citizens are informed and able to discriminate between self interest and community interest; between short-term outcomes vs long-term benefits. In most cases, a coherent analysis is needed to understand the purpose and impacts of government policy. Only an educated population can do that. Not just educated in vocational and professional skills and knowledge, but also as citizens. As citizens in a democracy we all have the right to protest and make our views known. Genuine civil disobedience is a democratic right, even though there may be judicial consequences. Many a protestor who has been able to demonstrate their actions were of concern for the public good have been acquitted.

Where there is a vacuum it will be filled, and when democracy starts to fail, those with power that would otherwise be contained will fill that void.

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