Queensland goes to the polls next weekend. Leading up to the election we find out politicians behaving badly even when they know their job is to try and impress us. My thoughts concerning the responsibility to vote and a laundry list of what I want from our politicians is not just about Queensland or Australia. It is about every election, everywhere and I think it is time we started to wade through the maze of garbage that politics has become and be very clear about what we want.
1. I don’t want to listen to the politicians anymore. I would like them to shut up and start listening to me. I would like them to listen to you. I would like them to listen to the actual people they serve and the people that their policies are most going to impact. People can handle tough laws that are necessary if they know you have genuinely heard and considered all the arguments before making those decisions.
2. I don’t want to see pictures of you and your family on your Facebook page having fabulously holidays in once-in-a-lifetime destinations, 3 – 4 times a year, clearly sparing no expense. Even if you are independently wealthy and this is not being paid for on the tax payer’s dime, have some sensitivities. No-one voted for you because they want to see how awesome your life is compared to their meagre struggles. I want to see pictures of you doing your job. And sipping champagne at some $500 a plate dinner that you get to attend for free at some picture taking opportunity for some organization you drop in on once a year does not cut it. Try delivering some meals to the shut ins, get out and sand bag during a flood, take the nurses coffee and sit with them in their lunchroom and find out about their concerns.
3. I don’t want to hear that you can’t get along with the people you are supposed to be working with. Let’s take the personality out of this and talk about the business at hand. If your best shot is a personal attack on another member of government then you need to hand in your hall pass and let someone in there who is interested in the matters concerning the country. No-one said you had to like everyone, or invite them over for summer dinners. But you do have to be able to keep focused and find a way to work with everyone. That is what politicians do. Put the business of the country first and your personal insecurities in the back of your closet.
4. Stop suing people, stop demanding the media is not allowed to ask questions, or take pictures, or talk negatively about you. We count on them to point out things and ask questions. We aren’t there. If what you are doing cannot stand up to daylight it is probably not the right thing to be doing. If you are not accountable and not responsible for your actions then who is? You got elected because you said you would be accountable.
5. Own your mistakes. Stop trying to cover them up or blame others.
6. You cannot ask a people to do anything you yourself are not prepared to do. You cannot understand the struggle of poverty if you have never had to go without food or shelter. Don’t pretend you do but seek out the people who do know and listen carefully to what they tell you.
We want a leader who is one of us. We want someone who wants to work for us and with us. We don’t need a sheep herder or a drill sergeant. Include us. Involve us. Spend time with us. Hear us. You need a team in order to be successful and we, the people, are part of that team. If you want to heal the problems facing this nation then engage all of us in the process and ask for our help. Don’t exclude us because that is the biggest fatal flaw of all politicians around the world today, they have taken their votes to their privileged, secluded ivory towers and forgotten that they need the people much more than the people will ever need them.