Two strong themes have arisen for this election. First, contribute to good government because our future depends on it. Secondly, this is the climate change and political integrity election.
The two are in fact related. Without integrity measures, action on climate change, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and more can’t happen. These measures include a strong federal Integrity Commission, reform of donation law, truth in political advertising, limits on election spending, lobbyist registers, open diaries and a host of similar means to curb the undue corporate sector influence.
Good government has integrity, is responsive, enables citizens to participate and is accountable.
To get good government we need MPs in parliament who will act in the best interests of their constituents.
This happens when they support integrity measures, commit to act on the climate emergency and protect ecosystem processes.
The first trick in getting the correct MPs into parliament is voting for those who have demonstrated a commitment to integrity and climate action. This might be a sitting MP or another candidate. The approach for us, the voters, is to interview them to see who’s best for the job.
Questions a voter may ask candidates include – if elected:
- How will you help me participate in decisions about issues that affect my electorate?
- How will you let me know what you’re doing for me in parliament?
And if you want your representative to be accountable to your community, ask that they commit to vote for:
- Real-time disclosure of donations more than $1000
- Political donations caps
- Election spending caps
- Strengthened enforcement and compliance through the Australian Electoral Commission and a National Integrity Commission
- Legislation to require truth in political advertising.
For sitting members, ask yourself how they went as a representative over the past three years. Find out what they’ve done, how they’ve voted, how they’ve spent, and lots more through Political Gadgets.
The second trick for voters who want to preference a candidate not from a major party is to use all your preferences. Videos on the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy Election 2022 website show how the preference system works, and how preference votes are counted.
This is important for House of Representatives and Senate candidates. The take-home message is to use the whole range of preferences available. For the Senate, this applies for above- and below-the-line voting.
Carefully preference who you want most to least so you get the candidate you want working on political integrity and climate action, and to contribute to good government for the public good.
Peter Tait is convener for the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy, a community organisation focussed on empowering Canberrans to engage in owning and planning for our common future.