Tuesday 29th of November 2022

Where to next (Troy Rollo)

As is now apparent to all, we have failed in our aim to dislodge the Howard Government, both in terms of dislodging the Liberal Party and in terms of dislodging John Howard from Bennelong. More seriously, it seems that Howard will control the Senate, either outright or with the help of Family First. This is, to those of us who mourn the loss of our previous acceptance of diversity and difference, a nightmare scenario.

We now have to accept that certain past issues are now dead issues, politically. The voters of Australia have had their chance to have their say against actions in Iraq, against actions against refugees in the past, and against some other issues. They decided that either they agreed with those actions, or simply did not care. If, as seems likely, there is another Bush-led aggressive war in the next few years, the blood will be on the hands of those supporting Liberal this time, but as far as the Iraq war is concerned, while Howard may some day face war crimes charges, as far as votes are concerned, we have to be prepared to move on. That does not mean we stop believing in the wrongness of the actions - just that it is pointless to continue to argue that point politically.

Of greater concern is the demise of the Democrats. I don't believe the Greens are able to effectively fill the void created by the collapse in the Democrat vote. The Greens occupy a left position (although not as far left as Murdoch and the Liberal party would have people believe) that many small 'l' liberals would have some difficulty with.

There is some movement among independent candidates towards establishing a new party whose role is to support the campaigns of independent candidates rather than to adopt a party position. This is possible within current electoral laws - if we could get the number of members that is necessary for this, we could form a political party that could nominate multiple independent candidates in each electorate if necessary. A suitably drafted party constitution could ensure that the party can never influence the policies or votes of such members. It is an idea that has some merit - the dominant principle of such a party would be that the first duty of the members is to the voters who elected them, not to a party or leader.

Alternatively, some new party, possibly including the remains of the Democrats, together with some other minor parties, would appear to be in order.

What is the feeling of others in the NHJ movement on this? Are we up for this kind of formal organisation - for putting together a new party for small 'l' liberals, or for principles of grass-roots democracy where choice is seen as a good thing? For putting together the people who will be prepared, next time around, to man the booths, to do letterbox drops, to scrutineer, and to do the other support tasks involved in an election?