Who will win the Longman byelection today?
Is it just me or is everyone a little bit in love with the voters of Longman this week?
Longman is baffling the pollies.
The people of Longman don’t care about Labor or Liberal, they don’t care about the future of Bill Shorten or Malcolm Turnbull’s relationship with the banks and they certainly don’t care for the same old posters and same old slogans.
Both major parties are treating today’s election as a trial run for a federal poll but on the hustings of Caboolture and Morayfield the people aren’t drinking the kool aid.
They are decidedly off message.
Labor wants to bang on about big picture health and education strategies, the coalition wants us to believe they are better money managers and better at keeping Australia safe.
Opinion polls in Longman have shown even if locals care about those things, which they largely don’t, they aren’t buying it.
According to Fairfax’s Ipsos poll, while most voters still think Labor is better at handling health, education and the environment, it’s only just, the gap is definitely closing.
And the real shock is asylum seeker policy. There was a big increase in the number of voters who think Labor is better in this area. The coalition is still ahead, but only just. Our tough stand on refugees doesn’t fit as well with battlers as the coalition was hoping.
Again, it’s not what they care about this election.
In a small way, I feel for the major parties.
In the 1970’s, politicking was so much easier. The political views of people, just like their social status and geographical location was relatively stable. People largely stayed put, in the same job and voted for life.
These days, voters have far more information at their fingertips. Social media, while often mis-informed and surely frustrating for parties, provides punters with endless opinion, discourse, debate and rumour. It often drives debate away from party ‘talking points’ hijacking the message and giving voters an opinion of their own. God forbid.
My sympathy is short lived. Australia is a representative democracy and that means our MP’s are supposed to represent the people, by listening to us, reflecting our views and fighting for them.
Instead, our major parties offer us scripted policy announcements, photo opportunities and sound bites repeated over and over until you want to yell ‘Just say something!’ at the TV. They gag local members and force them to tow the party line.
The by-election has dominated political debate for the past couple of weeks and on a slow news day journalists have actually taken the time to ask the punters what they want.
They want an easier life. They want politicians to know wages are in decline, that in the past decade power prices have doubled and petrol is at a three year high.
Imagine if someone actually listened?