Your columnist, Graham Gorrel, recently described party politics as "rotten" and sees the rise of independent candidates coming out of the grassroots democracy movement in many electorates as a potential force for good.
These independents from the citizen-led "Voices" groups have grown organically out of their communities.
They stand for issues the major parties are frozen up on, eg a genuine federal ICAC to counter corruption, waste and misuse of taxpayer dollars, authentic action on climate and genuine representation for their electorates.
A constant complaint from participants in Voices discussion groups is of being ignored by their major party representative or being fobbed off with a meaningless form letter.
Independents that have come out of the Voices movement, such as Zali Steggal (Warringah), Cathy McGowan and now Helen Haines (Indi) are all notable for close consultation with, and responsiveness to, their constituents.
Meanwhile, mass media seems intent on sowing distrust of the new independents, accusing them of taking "dark money" and suspicious as to who they might preference.
The truth is that both they and the Voices movement are almost entirely self-funded, volunteer-enabled and driven by their own time and effort.
As to preferences, their community is their lifeblood and support.
They are not going to preference those that are not aligned with the will of their constituents.
Cathy McGowan promised she would not make deals. Despite pressure from both parties, she kept that promise.
After a year of community consultations around our vast electorate, that welcomed people of all political persuasions but focused on issues instead of party politics, Voices of the Riverina have released their beautifully produced and illustrated report to the public.
They will not be endorsing any candidate but will focus on generating further discussions on the issues and views presented to them by participants in those meetings.
You can view the report and contribute to these discussions through their website.
A society that does not value their vote invites a dictatorship. And remember, democracy only works when you take part in it.
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Questions to readers, and hopefully replies.
If in the next election we elect 76 or more independents out of 150 seats available, can that group link together and form government?
Do they have to group before election? Who becomes the opposition?
Can the whole 150 combine together and elect a government, a set of ministers and also an opposition set of shadow ministers?
The reason I ask is I believe distrust in governments stems from political parties' interests at all cost.
I would like to see independents elected at the next election.
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