29 January 2013

'Time to remember why we are ALP members'

In the grand scheme of things, I’m a nobody. Not famous, haven’t achieved any earth shattering or ground breaking moments; one of billions, living on a small, blue grain of sand in an unimaginably vast universe. As a member of the ALP a similar description could apply but herein, I try to do my bit and have had minor achievements. A recent conversation with a wonderful ALP friend; a gracious person, devoted friend, unstinting Party member and loyal to the end, got me thinking about my Party membership. Why I joined the Party.

I would offer a variety of reasons – a long interest in politics, dismay at the third - time election of a Howard government, an abhorrence of conservative politics, a belief in equality, equity, social justice and the proverbial fair go and being tired of saying and asking, “Why aren’t THEY doing this or that?” ‘THEY should be doing this”, “When will THEY do such and such” when the recognition came that I was ‘THEY’ and I should be putting my money where my mouth was. And so it came about that through a friend I threw my hat into the Labor ring.

I joined the ALP. I didn’t join a personality cult. I didn’t join because I liked a particular politician. I didn’t join because of what I could get out of it. I joined because there was no other party to join. I joined because of the ALP’s rich, rich history and it’s proven record of fighting for and winning a multitude of battles, rights and justice for we, the people. I joined to help in that fight and cause.

As proud as I am of my party membership nothing could take the place of my pride in my membership in Annerley Branch. Such an honour to be associated with some of the hardest working, devoted, faithful, True Believers. The activity of this Branch is infectious. How could you not want to work and help? How could you not want to spread the message?

This questioning of my membership has caused me to wonder why others join? What are their motivations? And in some cases, I shake my head in disbelief, anger and frustration. Am I being judgemental? You bet I am! I make no apology for the offense these ramblings may give to some and I challenge each of us to question our membership.

We don’t like a certain politician? So what? We don’t like a certain policy? So what? We have the opportunity as members to change, through plebiscite or motions, that politician or policy.  That politician or policy is not, I repeat, IS NOT, the ALP. None of us is always pleased with certain outcomes but from my experience, after discussion, rational argument and a general agreement reached, we can at least be content that our voice has been heard – if it is raised – and if we bother to get involved.

I’m finding it increasingly hard to comprehend why we can’t get more members out on visibility and information stalls. Why members don’t want to help maintain ALP governments. Why this task falls to the few.  Why, when we have victories, all are only too pleased to take the credit and pat backs but when some have in fact done very little to ensure that victory.

All of us, no matter the level of our involvement, know we have the fight of our lives on our hands in 2013 to keep this federal ALP government. Knowing that, it behooves all of us to be out their spreading the good news and fighting like we’ve never fought before.  If an Abbott-led Coalition government takes control of our country towards the end of this year, will we be able to hold our heads higher than ever before and say we did our darndest to prevent it, or will we be the ones, ringing our hands, wearing sackcloth and ashes and asking, “Why didn’t they do this?” or “Why didn’t they do that?” – in the words of that ancient teacher from Galilee – ‘Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!’

You don’t like Julia Gillard? You don’t like Wayne Swan? You don’t like Graham Perrett? So what? Can I offer a not too gentle reminder that Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Graham Perrett ARE NOT the ALP but, they are the politicians who will advance policies reeking with social justice: Politicians who will advance progressive agendas: Politicians who will benefit the nation far more than a conservative government ever will.

I’m not going to beg and plead for more help. God knows we can do with it, but I am asking for a searching of conscience, a reason to maintain party membership, a recommitment to that initial fervour that got us involved in the first place.
John Lincolne is Executive Co-ordinator (Events) of the Annerley Branch

1 comment:

  1. John, congratulations on this piece. It is incumbent on each of us to revisit the reasons that we are in this organisation - revisit why we believe, think and act; revist what we can and should be doing to advance our cause(s). Your advocacy for active involvement is well take, I also would hate to reflect that I could have done THIS, or THAT to help stop the 'Forces of Darkness'!