Problems: Victorian Elections 2018

Posted on 23 November 2018

by Liam Kay, guest blogger

Where is my Vote?

by Hamed Saber 2009

A few people have asked me why I’m ‘in politics’ but not interested in being a candidate. If it isn’t clear from the past few weeks, politics is a really nasty game. That’s what it is. It’s rarely about genuine leadership or representation for most of the people in politics, it’s about your team winning for 4 years and starting the cycle all over again come next election.

We’re in an unfortunate situation where we want people with totally clean histories, but also people who are real and not groomed from the political class to be politicians. But unfortunately that’s just not reality. Everyone has a past, and I think the people who go to extreme lengths to have no past are people who can’t be trusted to represent us.

Mistakes are integral to learning and understanding. Don’t get me wrong, some mistakes are much much worse than others and I’m certainly not saying mistakes shouldn’t have consequences. But, I think many of us will make (or have made) mistakes that aren’t small, and might hurt other people – even if we didn’t intend it.

Most of us at some point were awful in some way. Whether it was sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, or ableism, part of growing up is understanding the way we think and do things, and how that might affect others. And while most of us will try and do the right thing, this process doesn’t happen without some tension and conflict. It’s just the reality of how we learn and understand.

No matter who you are now as a person, there will be people out there who will want to sift through your entire history to damage your character. This also includes people or groups you have been involved with, be it friends, family, lovers, religious organisations, political groups, etc.

I don’t think I’ve done anything that would damage a career. I’ve had my moments on social media and I’ve been wrong pleeeenty of times on issues I’ve been really passionate about. Many of us have been on social media since MySpace. I think I got my account in 2005 or 2006. I was around 11 or 12.

Can you imagine all the stupid things I put on the internet between now and then? Sure, none of it was criminal or wrong, but embarrassing or cringeworthy? You bloody bet.

So to finally get to the point I wanted to make, I think we’re in trouble right now with our standard of politics and I don’t want to be part of it. Democracy is great when people understand how it’s supposed to function, and it’s great when people genuinely care about the society we live in. Neither of those are the case for us in Australia.

Voting is the bare minimum when it comes to democratic participation, and even then we have people who fail to do that. For a democracy to thrive, we all need to participate. I understand many of us can’t participate fully because of our circumstances, but that’s **exactly what we should be talking about right now**.

I don’t want to put the people I care about in the public spotlight. I’m actually starting to enjoy some privacy since I’ve started to recover from a crippling anxiety disorder and now that I’ve been able to be myself.

I really care about my community, about Victoria, and about Australia. I really want us to do the right thing for everyone and I really want us move in a direction where life is better *for everyone*. But I know the kind of people who may be our future leaders in the two main parties, and it seriously doesn’t look good.

Already we have young people spreading lies, engaging in dishonest politics and moral posturing, and even false allegations of polling day misconduct. It’s really disgusting how far some people are willing to go to achieve a ‘victory’, even if it’s just a fleeting moral victory. Even years later, it’s disappointing that most of these people refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoings.

I’m going to continue doing what I do now. I really appreciate the Greens’ platform and I hope they can continue to expand it. I’m really excited to see how the Victorian Socialists go. I strongly believe the future of left wing politics is through multi-party coalition governments. It’s the best way to ensure we get fair democratic outcomes. Voters also have a role to play in holding people to account for their policies, promises, actions, and statements, but also knowing when someone deserves forgiveness.

Liam Kay is an honours graduate from Deakin University and a member of the Victorian Greens. His passions lie in political activism, grassroots democracy, social justice, LGBTI rights, and global development.

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