A steady stream of locals have been taking advantage of early voting at Gladstone's Toolooa Street booth. Picture: Rodney Stevens
A steady stream of locals have been taking advantage of early voting at Gladstone's Toolooa Street booth. Picture: Rodney Stevens

OPINION: Taxpayers pay politicians to deliver for communities

THE Queensland Election 2020 campaign, and the tactics used by some parties, are sickening to the core.

Having worked on multiple state and federal election campaigns since the 1993 Federal election, both as a journalist, and before I became a journalist as an Electoral Commission polling booth staffer, I have never experienced anything so toxic.

While politics has always been a controversial game, I have never seen such desperate attempts to gain, or retain power.

The ‘influencing’ of constituents began months ago, for those who were switched on, with political pledges, COVID based advertising, promises, statements and good old-fashioned paper, whether it be newspapers, or political advertising.

Today, from online media to television, to print media and radio, in the final week of the campaign it is almost impossible to avoid.

This election has become a battle of who can brainwash the impressionable into swallowing their agenda, hook, line and sinker.

From advertisements stating you can’t trust ‘such and such’ to others claiming, ‘such and such will sack X thousands of employees’, parties have gone to any level, in a desperate attempt to secure votes.

Then there is the Pandora’s box that is social media, with memes, allegations and negative posts about all sides and candidates.

Every single statement, sentence, and word that has been aired in the media is designed to do two things, to influence voters, and to plant a seed in constituents minds so they will question what they believed was true, and ultimately, influence which candidate they for.

Back before the days of saturating social media and constant bombardment on television, radio and any other platform they could utilize, political parties relied on more traditional methods.

Handing out leaflets.

Letterbox drops.

Corflute signs in strategic places.

Meet the candidate’s events.

Door knocking.

The most traditional method political parties relied on were solid, costed policy statements.

Statements defining what they promised to do for the electorate as its elected representative and how much it would cost taxpayers.

Statements that, if not honoured, would be used to hold the elected representative to account.

These words and promises were what savvy voters, who only wanted progress and the best for their community, relied on.

After all, politicians are elected to put their community at the forefront of their every thought, word and action – not to boost their own profile and inflate their own ego.

Politicians are paid by the taxpayer to serve their community, to fight for their community to ensure it gets the absolute best their elected representative can deliver.

Contemporary politicians need to put their egos aside.

If candidates think they are elected to public office to satisfy their own agenda and line their own pockets along the way, they are not worthy of nomination, let alone election.

Politics never has, and never will be about, the profile of the candidate or elected member.

Elected politicians will always be measured on what they can, and do, deliver, to improve and make their communities the absolute best possible place it is to live for their constituents, the taxpayers who pay their wages.