It is very important for us to effectively exert influence on the Parliaments of Australia. By being more politically extroverted we can enact our policies and principles outside the political system and be clearly seen as a party of leadership.
The Democrats are people who are principled, idealistic and yet practical and believe that education and political debate can advance the human condition. We have created a very impressive set of integrated policies which, if enacted, would create a just and environmentally sustainable Australia, of which I would be proud. Unfortunately most of our principles, ideals and policies are ignored by the media and are unknown to the majority of Australians.
The majority of us are politically introverted; we discuss, philosophise and work on party structures; we hope that through an electoral balance of power we will be able to influence the direction of Australia. And indeed we have had a very positive effect on Australian politics. But having a balance of power has limited influence when the major parties are both economic rationalist, bent on destroying our delicate environment and social fabric.
The Permaculture movement gives us an excellent example of political extroversion. They have surprisingly similar principles to the Democrats; personal responsibility, personal action, sustainable land and energy use, use of renewable and biological resources, no waste, recycling of nutrients and our human society living sustainably with nature. Permaculturalists usually work outside the parliamentary system, believing that the most effective way to achieve their aims is to simply buy land, develop it in an ecologically sustainable way and to start living their principles.
It is important to be involved politically as well as at the grass roots level; a balance between introversion and extroversion. But the resulting political extroversion of grass roots involvement would give us results, which would boost our spirits and awaken Australians to our excellent principles and policies. It is what we need to do to change from being a balance-of-power party to a party of leadership in social justice, the environment and in conflict resolution.
This principle of enacting as many of our policies as possible both inside outside the parliamentary systems will maximise our effectiveness and profile. And with the federal election looming we need focus on the nuts and bolts of campaign management without losing sight of why we are involved.
© Copyright Julie Peters 1998