Measuring democracy

It has been an extraordinarily tumultuous 12 months in federal politics. Yet, despite it all, the government has been able to pursue a reforming agenda for Australia.

In spite of disgraceful tactics by the opposition, the prime minister has emerged stronger than before.

Closer to home, state government education cuts threaten the very fabric of our communities. One positive story came from the people of Gunning who took direct action and secured a better, safer source of water.

Yet we cannot be consumed by the past when events of the gravest importance lie just over the horizon.

The federal election next year will be one of the most important in the history of Australia. We will be faced with a clear choice between Labor's vision for a fair, prosperous and happy Australia and the mind-numbing emptiness of the Coalition.

Australian conservatism has always struggled to define itself and stand for something other than the naked pursuit of power. Even here in Hume the conservatives are in total disarray, with a renegade former National running against the Liberal candidate.

That's the true measure of how much the Coalition cares about our community and the people of Hume; their petty political conflicts always come first.

The truth is that the people of Hume (and Burrinjuck) have long been cursed with appalling leadership and inattentive representation. Decades of negligent have left us all the poorer.

Our farmers have no advocate for their access to the global marketplace and our small-business owners have no one fighting for their access to greater assistance.

Forget about the federal contest, the next election will give us an opportunity to finally get serious and active representation. No matter how you have voted before, think outside the box next year. Only a Labor representative will guarantee real leadership and results for our community.

This is my last Labor Lines column for the Yass Tribune, as opportunities will take me out of the district, making it impossible to continue to fill this space. However, the column will continue with a new, dedicated writer articulating the Labor view.

Finally, I need to mention this paper, the Yass Tribune. The residents of the Yass Valley need to realise how lucky they are to have a local paper like the Trib.

Like regional papers across the country, the Trib is the backbone of our local democracy. We need to keep the Trib and its dedicated team here, keeping the council and our representatives to account. Our democracy is richer thanks to newspapers like the Yass Tribune.

It has been a great privilege to, through this column, talk to you on a regular basis. I hope my contributions have challenged and encouraged you.

Ultimately, it’s you that matter, you who make the decisions. That is the only measure of democracy. Never, ever forget it.

Brendan Forde will now finish up as the Tribune's Labor Party columnist.

Brendan Forde will now finish up as the Tribune's Labor Party columnist.