Party faithful

party faithful

Party faithful. It’s a funny phrase. What determines it, do you think? A lifelong voter? A passionate supporter? Card carrying member? A volunteer, handing out how to votes or scrutineering on election day? Or is it just someone who holds the same values?

I used to think you needed all these things. Ticking them off like a list.

As a kid, one of my most prized possessions was a letter from Paul Keating. That and my extensive collection of Barbies. Oh yes, I was that kid. I wrote to politicians not long after I was old enough to write. And in those days, they wrote back.

I even had a badge that I proudly wore that stated “Jeff Kennet’s a bastard”, which was purchased right around the time he was trying to close my primary school. However, the school’s still there and in fact, I probably have the badge somewhere too.

Our house was a political house, bred from two parents who cared deeply about stuff. Lots of stuff. Education, opportunities, equal rights and a desire to make the world better for everyone, not just those that could afford it. They were uni students in the Whitlam era, need I say more?

My dad ran for both state and federal parliament. He never got up, but god he came close. I’m not sure I will ever forget seeing his face on those how to vote cards, chasing down the opposition on election day with metres and metres of plastic bunting, or being there in that intoxicating party room as they called the vote counts.

I have no doubt that this has influenced who I am and what I believe. For years, I would proudly tell people which side of the fence I sat on, and was prepared to defend it if required. I knew it was right. I felt it was right.

In fact, one of Poss’ very first outings to the city was a political march, wrapped up in her pram, marching proudly through the rain with the crowd for a cause we believed in. My sister holding her up so she could see, all before her first birthday. I was proud to be bringing up a little person who I could hopefully pass these values on to.

These days, not so much.

I worry at the next election who I will vote for. And undoubtably it will be the same as it always has been – but this year it’s a shift. I will be voting for the lesser of two evils, not because I truly believe in the policies.

I am desperately sad that I will be voting for the history of a party who has stood up to help the little guy, instead of the party that’s swinging to the centre faster than I can keep up.

I will be voting for the party that inspired my parents all those years ago; giving hope to those that couldn’t afford university and helped them aspire to professions that would be one better than their parents, knowing their kids would do one better again.

I will be voting for the party that states it has a commitment to a more just and equal society. The party that says it has a commitment to fairness, workers, families and education.

I will be voting for a party that may, actually, no longer exist anywhere other than in my memories, old badges, letters and how to vote cards tucked away in drawers.

Maybe that’s what makes me a party faithful.

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Comments

  1. Sharron Redmond says:

    I feel a bit the same way , but I will be voting for all those same reasons that you spoke of . Somewhere deep down I still believe those values ate still there and until recent events was quite disillusioned as to why I was voting for them and if I should . But that said I guess I will always be party faithful 🙂

  2. Exactly, still not sure how I am voting. For the first time I’m my life I am not looking forward to voting. I usually love Election Day. This time it’s a choice between a party I don’t believe in vs one that seems to be willing to trade their values for victory. Not sure which is worse… ?
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  3. I too came from a political house. It wasn’t until I was older I realised not everyone had those heated discussions, the stickers, the badges…
    Growing up in Tasmania in the 80’s meant I learnt my politics from the Franklin below Gordon damn scheme. I have a memory of Dad talking with protestors at Strahan. I knew that people power could change decisions. That politicians listened.
    I alos knew we couldn’t have certain stickers on our car incase the windows were smashed or tyres slashed.
    I cut my teeth on debates over forestry, gay rights, gun laws.
    Now? Now I feel like voices are dampened. People are forgotten. The vote is all.

    I loved election day. Election parties. I used to explain why it was so important to vote below the line. Number every single box.

    Now? This time round? I am at a loss. Do I vote with my intellect, my heart, or with the hope that the lesser of two evils gets across the line.
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