“Do our Aspiring Politicians Really Care about Old People?
.... or do they lack Political Courage!”
Jane Timbrell (Convenor of the Vintage Reds) asked, “Do our politicians really care about old people?” when she examined the returns from aspiring Canberra politicians to a survey we conducted in the lead up to the Territory’s elections. Jane went on to ask “... or do they just lack political courage!”
The Liberal Party made no responses to the survey at all; ACT Labor sent a pro-forma response to half the questions on behalf of all their candidates (which regurgitated party policy). This left a majority of Green candidates; most of the Sex Party candidates and a group of Independents. The candidates who did respond, responded very well and very caringly! But, what about the rest?
“We asked 5 closed questions (yes or no) with space for comments. Our questions were not hard, just hot”.
We asked people if they supported marriage equality; voluntary euthanasia; climate change caused by human activity; the light rail project; and union negotiated enterprise agreements for the ACT Public Service. Only the light rail drew a couple of “no” answers from a couple of Independents.
“We then asked 5 open questions designed to ask candidates to think a little about what they would do if they were elected to the ACT Legislature.” We were not expecting them to contradict party policy, but rather, to think about the issues and the implications for the ACT electorates.
The big policy items for the ageing community are Health, Housing and Transport. These open questions were about preventative health care, the extent of poverty in the ACT, public transport in Canberra, rates & utility costs, and a specific question on dental care for the ageing community.
Jane went on to say, “Our Committee was pleased with the efforts of candidates who responded. Some admitted, for example, that they had not thought about dental care for seniors!”
In conclusion Jane said “I think it is unfortunate that our aspiring and mostly young politicians are being trained to lack political courage, while the major parties are pre-occupied with making themselves a small target”