In the inner Sydney seat of Grandyler where I live we have as a choice of candidates, starting on the left: two varieties of socialists, the Greens, a rare Democrat sighting, the sitting Labor member and a Liberal candidate who is so young that the picture of youths being sent off to war as canon-fodder comes to mind.
Compare this to, say, the rural NSW seat of Riverina and you have, starting at the right: One Nation, Independent, Christian Democratic Party, Family First, Liberal Democrat, Nationals, Liberals, Labor and Greens although there may be some discussion as to the relative ‘rightness’ of some of these candidates.
In other words, we have remarkably different worlds just a few hundred kilometres apart. It’s a common divide between the city and the bush and grows wider with relative distance from major city CBDs.
While there are overlaps and exceptions, we would do well to understand and respect the differences in priority and perspective between the inner city ‘chattering classes’ and the rural ‘tractoring classes’.
One lesson is that the Greens have taken a step up from being a minor party that falls into an organisational hole when elections drawn near. They are mobilised even in electorates where they have more chance of being mistaken for a vegetable than winning.
If parties such as the CDP or Family First aspire to real political influence they must find their support base, represent it powerfully and broadly and do the hard yards of political foot soldiering.
As for making sense of it all, an election article of mine has been published in Sight Magazine or visit my Australian Christian Voter blog to find a link and vote in an election day survey – what’s your tip for election day?