Growing up with left-wing parents, and myself always aligned with the goals of the Labor Party, I pretty much always voted ALP throughout my life. However, it wasn’t until Bill Shorten became Opposition Leader and offered annual membership for $5 that I actually decided to become a member of the ALP. It wasn’t really about the price, it was because I personally received an invitation, because it was easy to join and because I decided it was time to stand up for my values.
Then, when Annastacia Palaszczuk formed government in Queensland, I received an invitation to meet her at a function at Parliament House. So I went along. It was at this function that the then president of the Queensland ALP, Dick Williams, encouraged me to join my local branch. I didn’t know that my membership wasn’t valid until I had actually registered. In particular, Dick Williams encouraged me to participate and influence policy on the things that mattered to me. He was an inspiring president and I’m sorry he has stepped down now.
Another reason for joining the ALP was that I became quite concerned about many things that were happening under the LNP – such as the lack of funding for public education, the proposed increases in university fees, the eroding of Medicare and our public hospital system, the fact that large multinational corporations and the very wealthy were paying little tax, all while the unemployed, the unwell, youth, the disadvantaged and single parents were getting an ever-decreasing share of the wealth of our nation. The LNP’s lack of a plan for a transition away from coal was another concern I had. The LNP just don’t seem to believe in science, or fairness, or equality. I really don’t quite get the mindset. We must stand for what we believe in, otherwise we don’t get to complain is how I see it.
I still feel very uncomfortable with the general direction that the nation is heading under the Tories. They don’t seem motivated to protect our environment, and instead promote an elitist culture where the rich and powerful control government policy.
When I went to my first branch meeting I was pleased to meet a local family who I knew from my son’s school. Everyone else was very welcoming as well. The branch has been very receptive to my input and helped me to draft motions on issues I care about. It is very heartening to know there are others who share my vision for what Australia could and should be.
My branch, the Annerley Branch, is lively with an interesting cross-section of people across all ages, ethnicities, occupations and backgrounds, all united by a common purpose to create a more fair and inclusive society.
I always look forward to our meetings and I am still keen to help get rid of this federal LNP government who, in my view, are damaging many of the institutions that make Australia a great country. In short, the LNP are ruining things and they really have to go.
The ALP isn’t perfect and there are some policies on the state level, as well as federal, that I don’t support, but I do know it is possible for members to shape their Party, influence policy and move towards a vision that we can all believe in. And, as I see it, there is certainly room to help shape policy by getting more involved in the Party, and to express disapproval at the decisions we don’t agree with. That’s all part of our job as the grassroots of the Party!