The ALP member is a “rusted on” voter who proudly espouses deep faith in “Labors (sic) traditional core beliefs and values”, and “freely” gives “support to a party that shares similar values to my own”.

As Rick Pilkington rightly points out in some detail, this “rusted on” voter is blind to the real “values” of ALP political practice in Tasmania, demonstrated so fully and clearly in the massive failure of representation of the interests of the people across the whole public policy spectrum, the trashing of due process, the subsidisation of corporate wealth at the expense of social infrastructure, especially in health and education, and so on.

It is a blindness most damaging to the Tasmanian democratic fabric.  It is more than a blindness because it is a closing off, an aversion not only of the eyes, but of all the senses, and of the independent intellect.  It is a refusal, in fact to make sense of the real “values”.

What does this person see, if anything, when confronted with photos of clear-fell logging across Tasmania’s water catchments?  What does he see, if anything, when shown evidence of aerial spraying affecting people, their water and their property?

The “values” enshrined in policies which allow these things are in direct conflict with the democratic rights of ordinary people.  The problem is that the “rusted on” vote ensures that these essential democratic rights (the rights of people to clean air and water are close to the most fundamental rights of all, impinging on rights to health and well-being and even life itself) will continue to be ignored.

The “rusted on” vote is leading us to the increasingly intractable in Tasmania.  A majority of the western, so-called Christian world once believed in a flat earth.  Copernicus’ argument in the 16th century that the earth was part of a heliocentric system was listed as a forbidden text between 1611 to 1835, well after “the world was no longer flat”.

“Rusted on” voters are flat-earthers.  They refuse to look, to see or go beyond the ingrained security of the group-think.  They are our very own Easter Islanders, failing to see what is happening around them, putting blind faith in “traditional beliefs and values” which are at complete and utter variance with political practice.

As long as “rusted on” voters form a majority of the voting population in what is a completely moribund party political system encompassing the Labor-Liberal accord, our problems in dealing with the inextricably interconnected social-environmental-economic issues will continue to worsen.

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Peter Henning
The political position articulated by the ALP member (a self-identified rank and file worker for Labor) encapsulates the essential problem that riddles our whole political system and renders it incapable of dealing with the important issues confronting us all.