Alan Stokes wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek column for the Canberra Times this morning – “Life under Abbott: please don’t panic”. He holds the view that both major parties are as a bad as each other, and that life just won’t be that different under Tony Abbott.
It’s the last bit that I find difficult to stomach.
IF Tony Abbott wins the Federal Election, and IF he seizes control over both houses of Parliament; Australia will be a fundamentally different country. It will be a country where the core motives behind policy decisions are based on political expediency and a regressive world-view that denies climate change science and women’s rights. It will be a country where brutal slash-and-burn job cuts are just a means to an ends, and it will be a country where the always frustratingly slow (but still important) incremental progress we have been making on issues such as marriage equality and reform of our refugee policy will be completely destroyed.
An Abbott-controlled Australia is not where you want to live if you are a woman, a public servant, a young person, gay or poor.
Adam Stokes’ article argues against being fearful of an Abbott government holding balance of power. I’m all for hope. And, I am all for trying to create a more visionary and progressive Australia. But right now, we are facing a very imminent threat. And that threat elicits an incredibly rational fear.
The fear of Tony Abbott backpedalling on everything we have fought so hard for – the fear of him repealing the carbon price and cutting our climate departments, the fear of him managing to legislate his archaic and dangerous opinions of what women can and cannot do with their bodies and the fear of more deaths at sea because Tony Abbott continues to perpetuate lies about asylum seekers.
This fear motivated me to move to Canberra to work on Simon Sheikh’s election campaign. But it’s hope and determination that have compelled me to put my life on hold for the rest of the year because I know we can win.
Tony Abbott will only win this election if we let him. And here in Canberra, the race is going to be very close. Winning this Senate seat could effectively mean stopping Tony Abbott seizing control over both houses of Parliament and pushing his radical agenda through without any checks and balances.
Today Sid Maher wrote a piece of the Australian based on recent polling that paints the very ugly picture of what our Senate could look like if we don’t win this fight – it’ll be PM Tony Abbott with John Madigan, Nick Xenophon and a Katter candidate from Queensland holding the balance of power. We’re talking about our Government being held ransom by a man who has already made his anti-choice position clear and a representative from the anti-marriage equality Katter party!
But, now is definitely not the time to concede defeat, pack your bags and look for casual bar work in Hawaii.
The research shows that we can win this seat.
Last election, the Liberal party broke quota by only 38 votes. With changing demographics in the ACT, and the Liberal preselection in-fighting; the numbers show that we’re in this with a real chance.
We’ve got the figures and the figures say that we can do this, now we just need the people power to make it happen. We can only win this seat with a strong and committed grassroots campaign that will only grow from now until the election.
I honestly believe that this is the most important thing I could be doing with my time this year – for the climate, for asylum seekers and for marriage equality. No system is perfect, but a system controlled by Tony Abbott would be intolerable.
Will you be a part of it? http://www.simonsheikh.com/
**NB: We’re in the process of revamping the website, soon it will be a digital playground for organisers. Give it a week!