Street talk: ‘One leader’s too soft and the other is untrustworthy’

Grandmother of twelve, Denise T. of Altona, believes there is a changing attitude within the community which fails the test of rights, responsibility and respect which she believes has been the cornerstone of the Australian community which made it so attractive for her to immigrate 40 years ago. She has raised a large family and lived in Altona for a quarter of a century believing our rights come with a need for responsibility and respect.

She worries about the changing values within the community which once emphasised individual participation and responsibility to now where the government seems to be providing for those who shout and scream for their rights without considering all of us. She is concerned these changes to community attitudes will reduce the opportunities her grandchildren – which she says is ridiculous in such a great country.

Denise is employed in the education sector and has witnessed the normalisation of trendy social values override basic essential teaching of curriculum and witnessed standards drop in literacy and mathematics. She even laments the reduction of health education in primary schools which is not taught as much as the social engineering lessons so prevalent these days.

Denise also laments the arguments of school funding, “State governments fund public schools and they provide little or no money for non-government schools, these are funded by the federal government, yet they are criticised for doing it.”

“I’m a swinging voter and focus my mind on economic policy to determine if it will provide job opportunities for my family – but it seems the money both parties want to spend is wasted by spending on ridiculous programs which only means increased taxes to pay for it.”

“Wages can’t sustain the daily demands of prices, mortgages and taxes and it isn’t any wonder most parents have to work and place their children in care. When did we as a community decide that putting very young children into daily care is a good thing?”

“I would like to see more spent on developing the nation like infrastructure and increased water storage. I don’t want to see my taxes wasted on spending programs which have no benefit to the nation.”

“We all demand rights, but with these rights come responsibilities to work for the benefit of the community and taking responsibility for ourselves. There is little respect for the history of our country anymore, which is sad. People just complain and seem offended too often these days and there seems to be too much resentment in the community.”

As to our political leaders Denise seems very discerning – the prime minister, Scott Morrison seems to sit on the fence too much and wants to please everyone “He’s too soft.” Bill Shorten on the other hand, “doesn’t seem authentic or genuine, and I don’t trust him”.

“I just don’t understand why we as a nation cannot set goals for 50 years and every party and politician agree to the plan, instead of changing the plan and the rules every few years whenever there is a change of government. There was a plan for a tunnel and the new government cancelled it, costing us a billion dollars. Now there is a new different tunnel plan costing us plenty. Where’s the vision we all agree to?”

As to who she thinks is the local Member for Gellibrand – “I have no idea.”

The insight that Denise provides is interesting as she continues this common lament from voters about the standards and values of the community being shifted to lesser ideals. Her distrust of both leaders is worrisome and continues the trend of lack of respect for our political process. How we have to come to this place of disrespect for our leaders would be an interesting question to ask. Why are we cynical about our political leaders? Is it because they treat us like idiots by twisting the truth and don’t give us a long-term planning process?

Sometimes we are just caught up in the polarisation of politics where we just can’t have rational debate anymore without folks shouting and getting offended. Do you agree?

Street Talk will discuss the federal election with voters during the campaign to identify their concerns for the community and if what they learn during the campaign has changed their view.

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