In recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the millions of bribes offered in marginal electorates, and listened to the dishonesty of the political advertisements (ads) that have been screened ad nauseum on commercial television.
It seems almost impossible to find our way through the legal bribes of political parties, the fraudulence of media outlets, blatantly supporting one side or another, and the importance placed on marginal electorates. No wonder voters are struggling to maintain any trust in our current political system.
How then can we reach decisions about our voting intentions? What discussions are we having with family, friends and community to help clarify the state of the nation?
Last week, the Australian Catholic Bishops issued a statement asking all of us to reflect carefully on our values and how we will vote in this election. NetAct (a network of Catholic Education, health and justice groups) has also published a kit to help us consider the issues more deeply. They remind us that it is the policies of the Parties (not the promises, not the personalities, not the ads) that must determine our decision.
Mary MacKillop reminded her sisters ‘to find out who are the members proposed’, ‘to get advice’, ‘to pray’, and to remember that not every ‘so called Catholic is necessarily the best man.’ Her advice remains true for us today.
Maybe we could ask, which policies:
- show compassion to those fleeing persecution and death
- strengthen the rights of Indigenous Australians
- uphold the dignity of those at the edge of society – single parents on Newstart, people on inadequate pensions, homeless people, those suffering from disabilities or mental illness
- protect our environment
- protect the rights of those who have been trafficked into this country
Let’s support each other in this critical time.
Jan Barnett rsj