There is little doubt that voters are tired of the mainstream parties. Depending which polls are to be believed the next round of elections could see a mass desertion of the ALP, Coalition and Greens.
In Victoria the Daniel Andrews ALP government has been on the receiving end of seemingly endless front page lashings from the print media, and is perceived as scandal prone, ineffective and soft on crime.
Liberals leader Matthew Guy is hardly faring any better with allegations of a corrupt relationship with an underworld figure, and other issues which make voters wonder if he can be trusted. The Greens continue to lose support from their grassroots as leader Richard DiNatale prosecutes a war on complementary medicine, and advocates ‘softening’ the party’s long held position on GMOs. These days voters can almost see the strings being jiggled by lobbyists as political puppets say the exact things they think will get them voted in whilst enacting policy that benefits elite vested interests.
Against this backdrop of mounting voter fatigue and cynicism some minor parties have been building a supporter base and recruiting credible candidates who will pose a real challenge to the established order. Without the funding of the big parties the minors depend upon the passion and loyalty of people who work for free and are motivated by a genuine desire to see positive change. Recently the Democratic Labour Party was involved in a court action which will allow them to contest the election as “Labour – DLP”. State secretary Steve Campbell believes it is high time there was a true “Labour” party providing a credible alternative to the ALP. “We won the right to contest the election as Labour DLP, after the ALP were forced to withdraw legal action and accept the DLP’s right to the name Labour”, states Campbell.
“The DLP is the original Labour Party”, he says. “We are the custodians of the original Labour values. We have been around a long time and have had some electoral success in the past but I think we are now at a point where we are poised to make an impact. We have some great candidates and our policies and brand have all been refreshed. People want a party that stands for real Labour values. They are sick of social engineering experiments and want something traditionally Labour. We are going into this election with the slogan – “Labour…..as it should be” and I think that says it all.”
The party’s candidate for the Lower House seat of Werribee is Kathryn Breakwell, who has a classically Labour job – she is a tram driver. She is hoping to provide a real challenge to the incumbent, Treasurer Tim Pallas. “I am not a career politician”, she states, “but I have had leadership and project management roles in the corporate sector so I know how to handle big budgets. I live in this community and when I talk to people the feedback I get is that we are all sick of being taken for granted because it is seen to be a ‘safe’ ALP seat.
We should be represented by someone who is of our community and will have to live with the consequences of the decisions made at Spring street. We deserve better than a few promises being made a month before the election. If this was a marginal seat I have no doubt that some of the critical problems we have to live with would gain far more attention. This was a government that felt it was perfectly okay to put a detention centre right in the middle of our community!”