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2016 ACT Election votes on offer

By Paul Costigan - 10 August 2016 9

Legislative Assembly

There has been a recurring conversation of late around how to vote. It was very evident during the Federal elections and has continued here in Canberra as we head towards the 15th October elections for the next ACT Government.

So many voters who have traditionally voted in a certain way now are having second thoughts on what they will do in the future. I have tended to have this conversation with people whose vote has favoured Labor or similar – possibly favouring The Greens.

However included in these conversations are a few who were traditional Liberal voters. For them the latest version of Neoliberal Conservatism as practised by the ACT Opposition and the current national government is no longer what they see as being a Liberal philosophy.

The real focus is on that dilemma of who gets the vote in the coming ACT Government elections. With people I know who believe in the values of a working democracy, along with all its failings, this is presenting a serious set of issues. No one I know is happy about the choices we are being given.

The issues around planning, the environment, equity and a host of social issues, all sit alongside another that is important to myself and many I mix with – that is who among our candidates puts a high priority on cultural matters, aesthetics and the arts (in my case – especially the visual arts).

Locally it is been a long time since we had someone who had experience and a passionate interest in the local and national arts scenes.

CCAS-P1180184

CMAG-P1110619

Public-art-P1180186

On the separate but linked matter, it is very difficult to find local politicians with a real passion for the urban issues – not just planning – but in the total complexities of design and the environment, including a love of aesthetics – not only in architecture but also the many facets of landscape design.

One would have expected that among the many potential politicians now putting themselves forward for the next ACT Assembly, and given the high interest in cultural matters and urban issues among the Canberra population, that there would be at least a handful of local candidates with such interests and passions.

It seems that this is not the case. Or at least I have not had any such candidates pointed out to me. Instead the conversations focus on just how our politicians, and the aspiring politicians, must occupy another world  – different from populations who enjoy the arts.

And when it comes to planning and urban issues, no-one can explain how it is that so many otherwise seemingly caring people, just are not prepared to identify with and do something about the issues that really annoy so many residents here in Canberra.

Even if all those residents have it wrong and all their passionate arguments for change are misplaced, why is that the current politicians are seen as not able to work openly with residents to come up with some creative and well-designed solutions for this city?

It is indeed a mystery that the planning regimes, politicians and bureaucrats, continue to use spin and deceptions in their dealings the residents to progress what is perceived as all manner of inappropriate developments. Just who do our politicians and bureaucrats serve if it is not the local residents/voters?

So when it comes to making up the list of how to vote next time, one easy way is to start down the bottom with all those who should never get one’s vote. (The minimum number has to be five)

I can definitely think of the first name to be down the bottom, or who I will leave out completely if I stick to the minimum required. Yes you guessed it – the politician who is overseeing our current so called ‘vibrant urban redevelopment’.

But eventually someone has to be first, second etc. Well one would hope so!

At the moment I cannot find anyone who would recommend anyone for that first vote – let alone second or others.

And before anyone suggests it – I do not believe that anyone should write a rude message or spoil their vote on purpose. This country deserves better from all of us. But bloody hell – we need some better candidates.

As for people such as myself with a life in the arts and who spent much of my working life around urban issues, there is simply nowhere to place those votes.

Watch this space for more debates around the quality of our politicians.

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
2016 ACT Election votes on offer
Nightshade 10:18 pm 14 Aug 16

rommeldog56 said :

UnitedCitzensAustralia said :

As a candidate in the last federal election for the senate in Canberra and now as an independent candidate for the local election, irrespective of what one see’s and reads on social media regards the disatisfaction with the major parties etc. That did not translate into votes and nothing changed here in canberra and we still have the same old Liberal and Labor senators. I expect no real difference in the local elections here in Canberra yet again we shall see the same old tired outdated out of touch faces and old methodology political parties re-elected again. Change for the better shall not come about until the Aussie voters change who they vote for and how they vote irrespective of what they say in social media.

Correct – and an interesting observation.

The rest of Australia voted in many more independent Senators than there was previously. But not in the ACT.

We did try! Zed didn’t get his quota until the 29th round of preference redistributions. When he didn’t make the quota upfront, I was really hoping the preference flows would see someone else overtake him.

rommeldog56 8:41 pm 14 Aug 16

UnitedCitzensAustralia said :

As a candidate in the last federal election for the senate in Canberra and now as an independent candidate for the local election, irrespective of what one see’s and reads on social media regards the disatisfaction with the major parties etc. That did not translate into votes and nothing changed here in canberra and we still have the same old Liberal and Labor senators. I expect no real difference in the local elections here in Canberra yet again we shall see the same old tired outdated out of touch faces and old methodology political parties re-elected again. Change for the better shall not come about until the Aussie voters change who they vote for and how they vote irrespective of what they say in social media.

Correct – and an interesting observation. The rest of Australia voted in many more independent Senators than there was previously. But not in the ACT.

Perhaps its because of the size of the electorates here (only 2 Senators and 2 MPs) ?

And I also agree that aided and abetted by the new 5 electorates for the ACT Legislative Assembly election in October, that Labor/Greens will be returned. Though its not clear if the new increased number of electorates/MLAs will favor the big 3 parties here or will open the door for a true independent who would sit on the cross benches and not be brought out by offers of trappings of office/ego trip as a member of the ACT Gov’t.

JC 10:40 pm 12 Aug 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

JC said :

So hard to get consensus on anything.

With a lot of the “art” on display at the moment, it has been quite easy to get a consensus on people hating it. It can’t be that hard to get a piece that most people like if we were only given a chance to have our say, instead of just a small elite group that are hardly representative of community views giving the final thumbs up.

Nope like many things in life (developments for example) people like to complain if they don’t like but if they do like something you won’t hear from them. The term noisy minority comes to mind.

UnitedCitzensAustral 9:53 pm 12 Aug 16

As a candidate in the last federal election for the senate in Canberra and now as an independent candidate for the local election, irrespective of what one see’s and reads on social media regards the disatisfaction with the major parties etc. That did not translate into votes and nothing changed here in canberra and we still have the same old Liberal and Labor senators. I expect no real difference in the local elections here in Canberra yet again we shall see the same old tired outdated out of touch faces and old methodology political parties re-elected again. Change for the better shall not come about until the Aussie voters change who they vote for and how they vote irrespective of what they say in social media.

bitterness 12:40 pm 12 Aug 16

With your list of interests, I am surprised you haven’t run into a particular candidate: Tara Cheyne (Labor candidate in Ginninderra). She’s very big on local/municipal issues – spearheading such exciting policies as bulky waste pickup and rubbish bin innovation (not kidding). But also quite integrated in local civic institutions – on the board of the Belconnen Arts Centre, chair of the Belconnen Community Council etc.

Look her up, you might have found a new idol 🙂

pink little birdie 12:28 pm 12 Aug 16

Please interview every candidate in every electorate with the same set of questions with one electorate specific question and one humorous thing (last federal election it was build a representation out of lego).

wildturkeycanoe 10:12 pm 11 Aug 16

JC said :

So hard to get consensus on anything.

With a lot of the “art” on display at the moment, it has been quite easy to get a consensus on people hating it. It can’t be that hard to get a piece that most people like if we were only given a chance to have our say, instead of just a small elite group that are hardly representative of community views giving the final thumbs up.

JC 9:46 am 11 Aug 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

“why is that the current politicians are seen as not able to work openly with residents to come up with some creative and well-designed solutions for this city?”
This is probably because the government isn’t the best art critic to select works for public display. Seeing that these pieces are for the public to view, maybe there should be more consultation with A.C.T taxpayers through open opinion polls or surveys, as to what we should install to boast our artistic abilities. I don’t know who has been choosing the stuff until now, but they were a complete waste of money. The giant steel girders on the GDE, the phallic owl in Belconnen and the goldfish in Tuggeranong are just a few examples of complete eyesores that cost way too much. The flappy bird things at the arboretum look more like some kind of alien power generation technology which doesn’t blend in with the vibe of a natural forest environment, let alone anything Canberran.
Instead of paying a particular artist to produce an expensive flop such as the Skywhale, why don’t we get artists to produce their art at their own expense and then let the people decide what is worthy of our rates dollars? Art’s grants don’t seem to be going to people who necessarily deserve the funds, but I’d put a guess at there being some form of nepotism or insider secrets to decide the “lucky” winner.
As with all government spending, there needs to be some transparency in the processes that decide on worthy projects and art is no exception. Why can’t a budding backyard crafts-person produce something for Canberra to choose as a prominent landscape feature, instead of only a select few university graduates and “successful” outsiders? Give the average person a shot at gaining fame and glory, especially when the rest of us have to drive past it on a daily basis.

The thing with art is everyone’s tastes are different. So hard to get consensus on anything.

wildturkeycanoe 8:26 am 11 Aug 16

“why is that the current politicians are seen as not able to work openly with residents to come up with some creative and well-designed solutions for this city?”
This is probably because the government isn’t the best art critic to select works for public display. Seeing that these pieces are for the public to view, maybe there should be more consultation with A.C.T taxpayers through open opinion polls or surveys, as to what we should install to boast our artistic abilities. I don’t know who has been choosing the stuff until now, but they were a complete waste of money. The giant steel girders on the GDE, the phallic owl in Belconnen and the goldfish in Tuggeranong are just a few examples of complete eyesores that cost way too much. The flappy bird things at the arboretum look more like some kind of alien power generation technology which doesn’t blend in with the vibe of a natural forest environment, let alone anything Canberran.
Instead of paying a particular artist to produce an expensive flop such as the Skywhale, why don’t we get artists to produce their art at their own expense and then let the people decide what is worthy of our rates dollars? Art’s grants don’t seem to be going to people who necessarily deserve the funds, but I’d put a guess at there being some form of nepotism or insider secrets to decide the “lucky” winner.
As with all government spending, there needs to be some transparency in the processes that decide on worthy projects and art is no exception. Why can’t a budding backyard crafts-person produce something for Canberra to choose as a prominent landscape feature, instead of only a select few university graduates and “successful” outsiders? Give the average person a shot at gaining fame and glory, especially when the rest of us have to drive past it on a daily basis.

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