Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Child Protection Party is like no other political party

The time is approaching where there will be a change on the political landscape. People are tired of the two-party system and the influence that corporations, unions and other major players have on the decisions that are made by our politicians. As a community we need to be asking more from those who represent us in parliament. We need to have representatives who believe in the things that we believe in, the freedom to express ourselves the values of equality and fairness, and a desire for our politicians and our governments to be transparent.

There is an unrest in our community. It is fueled by the dissatisfaction that we have in our political leaders, and their inability to be able to understand who we are, what want, and a failure to deliver. In each community the dissatisfaction is pocketed in secular groups, where people can be heard crying to prevent Muslims from entering the country, or the construction of more coal mines, or the eradication of the Great Barrier Reef, or simply dissatisfied because they notice that their income is decreasing year after year. Some of these pockets are those who have given up on the Australian dream of owning their own home of having their own business or being able to send their kids to a better school.

As divergent as all these areas are there is one common thread and that is the lack of voice that these people have to be able to express what they think and how they feel in a way which resonates with those who make the decisions. It may not be possible to meet the demands of such a diverse group, but it is possible to listen to the arguments that they present and assess their value based on the decision-maker’s ethics and principles. The problem is however, that often we don’t know what those ethics and principles are, or who drives them and manipulates them.

In the United States they are holding town hall meetings where constituents are presenting to their representative complaints about the current policy direction and decisions being made. Many of these town halls turn into a disaster where there is only shouting and arguing from both sides. It is rare to see a meeting where the politician just listens. It is fascinating how politicians are more interested in the next election cycle than they are in the issues which concern their constituents. They often find themselves confronted by a set of values and beliefs which they themselves don’t hold. They then argue and berate others with the view that that will change the others point of view. My experience is that the first thing we need to do is simply listen. Only then can we begin to ask questions.

There are many people in the community who will not change their view regardless of what we say to them. They want to believe that the world is flat, so we must accept that that is how they see their world. There is another group of people though who hold the same beliefs that you may or similar principles and ethics, but they also hold other views that perhaps are not factual or realistic.

I am reminded of a woman who recently stated that the new healthcare act in the US is now cheaper and means that her son will be able to receive the medication that he requires. She expressed her gratitude to President Trump for making this change. However, the new healthcare act is still being debated and she is currently living under the affordable care act and it is the affordable care act which has made those changes that have impacted her son. People will believe what they want to believe no matter how inaccurate their beliefs may be.

Recently a woman contacted me complaining about our adoption policy. She has a foster child and clearly would wish to adopt this child. She presented the biological mother as being highly inadequate as a parent and therefore never having the right to parent her child. It may be well true that from her perspective she had the right to adopt this child because the mother may never change. Even though that premise needs to be accepted what was not understood was that not all situations are the same as hers. As we have discovered at the Child Protection Party, one policy, one idea, one initiative does not meet the needs of the whole. What was important for me to understand, while having this conversation, was the basic principle that we are all acting in the child’s best interest.

We may vary on our interpretation but it is the principal that needs to be supported. As a political party the Child Protection Party is committed to the principles of equity, fairness and transparency. There is no wavering from these principles. Every decision that we make is directed by these important principles. The foster mum believes that she is acting in the child’s best interest, and we understand that and we support that value. Because our policy states that a child should not be considered for adoption until they have been in care for five years, those people who wish to adopt immediately once they became the carer of the child will find that aspect of our policy unacceptable. However, in this case, the bulk of our policies around foster care need to be considered and not for the foster care policy to be discounted because it just doesn’t fit with this person on this one occasion.

It is imperative to understand that what is important is the fundamental principles we hold, that we are not beholden to any other influences, that we believe in the direction that we are taking, all of this with one singular view, to improve the outcomes for all children.

We ask ourselves therefore, how different are we from the other political parties, major and minor? We believe that we are as different as day and night. We will never be compromised on our principles. We can’t be bought nor manipulated. We understand that where we are at the moment is nowhere near where we wish to be. As a political force in fact, we have no influence or power at this particular time. We are more than dreamers, because we believe that all children should feel safe and be cared for appropriately. It is this goal which drives us. Nothing will prevent us from attaining the power and influence we need in order to assure each child in this country that they will be listen to, they will be heard, that their parents will be listen to and will be heard, and that politicians who make the decisions that affect children will hear what you have to say.

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