Every time I attend an event or stop and have a chat with someone in the street, I invariably learn something about them, about me and about our amazing country.
For all our blessings, hard-working Aussies feel like we have lost our way. The sense of Australia being 'the lucky country' is getting lost in the concern about where we are headed. Living costs are rising, employment is less secure, debts are too high and politicians are held in very low regard. Parents and grandparents worry that their children and grandchildren will not have the chance to enjoy the quality of life that many of us have enjoyed.
When it comes down to it, Australians blame the political class for the sense of malaise. In short, everyday Australians say politics is failing to deliver for them and for the country.
Now as someone who has been a concerned critic of the last decade of decay, I know first-hand the system's faults. The cosy duopoly of the two major parties lends itself to an inertia delivering more cans kicked down the road than anything else. Chaotic politics has left us with a national landscape so cleared of strong leadership decisions that we debate the political tumbleweeds and soap operas.
That's why Australians are casting around for alternatives. Indeed, some of these clunky, personality-driven prototypes have delivered more problems than they can ever hope to solve. Our ballooning national debt is testament to the folly of minor party demands and the personal desire for aspiring players to be seen to be 'fixing things'.
Unfortunately these 'fixes' usually come at a huge cost to the shrinking group of Australian heroes we know as taxpayers. They are the bakers of the bread thrown at political circuses for the masses.
If we continue down the current path, our final destination is clear. Our economy will stagnate, our prosperity will diminish and our country will be divided. That's not the future I want to see for Australia.
To arrest the decline we need to follow the four principles that the Australian Conservatives are built upon and that we are determined to uphold. We need stronger families, we need to foster free enterprise, we need to reduce the size and scope and reach of government whilst rebuilding civil society.
What better way to rebuild civil society than to lead by example and build a solution to this problem: a truly modern, community-driven political party. It is an amazing challenge and the most enjoyable thing I have done in my recent working life. I am sure that is because we are working toward a goal that has the potential to truly make a difference in shaping our nation. Of course before that happens there is a mountain of work to do and it is well underway.
Breaking the political mould inevitably challenges those who take comfort from familiarity. For some, it is easier to keep doing the same things (even if it isn’t particularly effective) rather than embrace the new.
Campaigning techniques, member engagement and communications have changed markedly since the tired old parties captured their duopoly on Australian politics. Their old 'business model' no longer works and for new entrants like the Australian Conservatives, copying a broken model isn’t an option.
Instead, we embrace the most efficient, the most effective and the most streamlined methods of enabling Australians to take part in the democratic process. That might comprise modern 'click' activism, or the eternally valuable meeting face-to-face, sharing hopes and ideas for the future. The more conservatives meet and share with each other, the more they realise they are not the 'out-of-touch' people the elites would have them believe.
Every day I am rewarded by hearing regular Australians tell me they know there is a better way. It’s the way that built our country and made it the envy of the world. Together we can make Australia strong again by encouraging others to add their voice to the cause.
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