[Some comments from the ABC Local Radio Morning Program (Sally Loane) Guestbook]
Name: Big Trev
Topic: Get On Board (room for plenty o'more)
Visit Time: 5/07/2005 8:53
A well known large religious movement seems to be getting some pop from Governments of both persuasions and there is no doubt the Christian Evangelical movement has some clout around the world at present...
But who is using who when politicians front up to the opening night of a Religious gathering.
I fear that precious taxpayers dollars will leak in a bid to win votes somewhere sometime and probably secretly, for the cause.
Firstly, are said well-know-large religious movement really that influential? 2% or 3% of community? Surely the 'bible-thumpers' only have as much clout as the numbers allow.
Secondly, even if they are more significant shouldn't we really concede that they have as much right to be 'represented' as co-citizens?
paulo 6/07/2005 9:50Both in the US and here the overall vote for each major party is 40-odd% (which is why I never believe this whole 'mandate' thing, because almost half the country votes against the winner), so swinging a smallish chunk your way can make the difference between winning & losing. With non-compulsory voting, if only 50% of all electors vote, and 80-90% of, say, the 5% the groups represent, can be guaranteed to vote your way, that's worth 8%, which is more than most winning margins if you count the votes right across the country, not seat-by-seat. Religious groups are likely to be able to mobilise a widespread committed section of voters to come out and vote the way their leaders tell them; more than a local school, or motoring organisation, say.
Of course, there are many complications, eg the division into seats & states & particular groups being concentrated in some, but I believe that one dangerous thing with politics recently is that they have realised that rather than appeal to a broad selection of the population, they can target certain groups to gain winning batches of votes. This might be riding the tiger when they have to come up with the policies or money to reward the groups, but it's not the politicians I worry about getting scarred, though, but the ripping apart of the social fabric by pandering to sectional interests.