The longest election campaign ever

Karin Sowada

With five sitting weeks of Federal Parliament left before the September election, much will happen but little can be done to arrest voter malaise with Labor. It will feel like the longest five weeks of sitting and longest election campaign ever.

So on what policy issues should churches and Christians focus in the lead up to the poll, particularly with an Abbott Government on the horizon? Here is a suggested list. It does not include gay marriage, as this has been largely settled for the meantime as a federal issue.

1.      Poverty. The church should never lose sight of the poor, and those suffering disadvantage through ill-health, disability, caring for others, unemployment or personal circumstances. As a starting point, let’s hear more Christians joining the chorus of opposition to the Government’s recent policy of moving single parents onto the much lower Newstart allowance when their youngest child turns eight. Raising the level of this payment for everyone would also help lift people out of poverty and homelessness.

2.      The other side of this coin is jobs. Jobs lift people out of welfare dependency and help provide a sense of structure, daily purpose and personal responsibility. Work is part of God’s design for humanity. The creation of economic settings which create sustainable jobs is a key function of good government.

3.      Gambling. This is also a state issue but this is also a hot button matter for the feds at present. Time once again to campaign for betting limits on pokies and hold the parties to account on advertised betting during televised sport.

4.      A new conversation about and with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander people. Lower life expectancy, chronic health problems, substance abuse ... the list of issues faced by indigenous people goes on.

What is your list?