I'm devastated about what happened in the Federal Election, and I want to do something about it.
I read and write fanfic, and I thought - we give our authors feedback - why don't we give it to our leaders?
So, this community was born.
I'm in New South Wales, and I thought that I'd send my first letter to the newly elected Senators here. It'll be the first of many, I'm sure. I'm also going to write to the ALP (what were they thinking?) and to my regional paper this week.
Feel free to use anything in my letters in yours. I'll have this in the mail to the Senators of NSW just as soon as I know who they are. Rock on, the AEC website!
Congratulations on your election to the federal Senate representing the people of New South Wales.
As a voter, and like you, someone who cares about this country, I'd like to share with you some of my thoughts about the issues that impact upon our lives.
I'm concerned about our common wealth, and how we build and develop it. You may have heard of the term social capital. According to wordiq.com, social capital refers to the collective value of all 'social networks' and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other.
I'd like to build more positive social capital in Australia. I volunteer for community services, and work for a community organisation. I'm really concerned that we are becoming more isolated from each other in our society, and that as individuals we're more focussed on ourselves, unwilling to work for our whole community, rather than our communities of interest.
As a Senator, I'm sure you understand what I mean. After all, you need to represent the interests of all the people of New South Wales, and not only those who voted for you.
As John Howard said in his victory speech, "We are happy, we are joyful that the verdict has been given by the Australian people but never forget the fact that governments are elected to govern not only for the people who voted for them, but also for the people who voted against them.''
So you're responsible for building social capital, too! Here's some of the ways that I think you can help do that.
One of the election promises was a tax cut for high income earners. I'm one of those people who would benefit from a tax cut. Please don't give me one. I'd really rather that you voted to put the money into building our country's future. If you put the money into public education, into teaching our young people how to be thoughtful thinkers who rise to the challenge of academic thought, I'd really appreciate it. My youngest child is one of those who went through a public school, with a TER of 97.75 and he's now overseas at university. Wouldn't it be fantastic if he came back to Australia and did research here in Australia that would benefit our society? He's one of the best and brightest who are leaving in droves, partly because of cuts in research funding and increases in the cost of HECS. I couldn't afford to keep him at Sydney University or the University of New South Wales, so he's on a scholarship in Japan, and unlikely to return. Sad, isn't it? He's only twenty. It's really sad for us as a nation, too. Any research he does overseas will be owned by them, of course, and we'll have to pay to use anything developed from it. We can do better than that! Please, spend my tax cut in a way that will benefit us! I'm only going to buy another video player (made overseas) with it, anyway.
Or you could spend the money on Indigenous communties. I'd be really happy about that, too. Youth unemployment is pretty bad here in XXX, but for young Aboriginal people, it's horrendous. You could put my tax cut into the TAFE system of NSW, developing programs that assist young Indigenous students to learn in ways that are sensitive to their different background, ways that make them proud to be learning, ways that lead to jobs and build a future for them. Or you could put the money into specialist support staff in our public schools, or homework centres, that will help them learn and have the side benefit of decreasing opportunity for involvement in activities likely to end with them in the criminal justice system, unemployed and unemployable, with young families that are more and more alienated from our wider community. You can build social capital by helping make our society one that those young people are a welcomed and appreciated part of.
I'd be happy if you worked for improving our public health system, too. Particularly the dentist program for people who can't afford it. Did you know a crown is $1,000? I have private health care - I was pushed into taking it out under the Medicare reforms - and I need a crown. I'd joined a plan and my contribution was more than $1,400.00 annually (I think that means your contribution was about $420.00) but it's not covered by the plan, which was a bit of a shock, so I'm saving up for it. Have you thought about how much of an impact having painful, or broken, or missing teeth has on your ability to get or hold a job? I see an awful lot of people who can't afford dentists, and it does make a difference. Having to have a tooth pulled out because you can't afford to get it fixed is a terrible thing.
I'm looking forward to a long correspondence with you about policies, issues and directions that you will lead this country in.
Please don't just dismiss this letter - I know a lot of politicians do, but I'm sure you'll write back and really talk to me about how you feel, what you believe, and where you'll be taking us in the next few years.
Snapetoy (well, I'm going to sign it with my real name, but you get the point!)