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Advice to those about to vote Labor for the first time

By Peter Bowden - posted Tuesday, 18 December 2018

A good friend has just announced that he was about to vote Labor. It is for the first time. As a Liberal supporter for decades, voting Labor for him must be a massive obstacle to overcome. There are many that will be facing that obstacle this coming election. This article is designed to tell you that it is not that big a step, and to set out suggestions that will make it easier. It is not an easy step, but many others have made the switch. Many more are facing up to it.

The biggest obstacle is Bill Shorten. As my friend said, he has sat on the opposite side of the table to a union representative most of his working life. And now he is considering voting for one to become the Prime Minister of his country. The concern over Bill Shorten is a near-universal opinion throughout the country. It explains the reason behind the anomaly of Labor being the preferred political party yet Morrison the preferred Prime Minister.

The first step in converting yourself is to acknowledge that the unions are not that bad. They have achieved many good things in their time. Read the stories about the children down the Welsh coal mines


But that was over 100 years ago you will say. Times have moved on. Today, individual hard work and initiative are the big winners. I have worked hard all my life, many businessmen will tell you; I do not need a trade union to help me. This is probably true. Unions are no longer needed to get children out of the mines and factories. But they are still doing some good. The problems of underpaid workers on farmsor many retail outletswas tackled by unions.

But the biggest argument is deep within yourself. Do you want an Australia that espouses conservative views? Poll after poll has said that Australia does not want a Peter Dutton or Tony Abbott to be its leader. We are worried about climate change, whereas the hard right denies it is a problem. We are concerned about our treatment of refugees, we are still believers in a fair go for all, we think the right wing in the United States – on gun control and universal health care has gone off the rails. Most of us think our health care system is the best in the world – or at least the writer of this article does.

These thoughts are what will make switching votes easier – thoughts on what we believe in deep down, what sort of country we hope Australia will be for the future. It is not the vision put forward by Tony Abbott. Or Peter Dutton, the recent challenger for the leadership of the country. With only the desire for power being his motivation.

Dutton was like the Earl of Essex in the recent TV series on Queen Elizabeth I. He tried to raise the Londoners in a coup again the Queen – The Virgin Queen who had saved England from the Spanish Armada .He had Buckley's chance. The Londoners refused, and Essex ended up with his head on the block. Can we wonder what is the 21st. Century equivalent for Peter Dutton?

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About the Author

Peter Bowden is an author, researcher and ethicist. He was formerly Coordinator of the MBA Program at Monash University and Professor of Administrative Studies at Manchester University. He is currently a member of the Australian Business Ethics Network , working on business, institutional, and personal ethics.

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