We are now off and running in the 2016 federal election race. It’s going to be a battle of endurance with a 55-day campaign sure to test the mettle of runners and support crew alike.
This election is the first double dissolution since 1987 and the first since Senate voting reforms were enacted earlier this year. That means the outcome in the Senate is almost impossible to predict accurately.
I’ll be seeking re-election to give continued voice for common sense conservatism and remind my colleagues of the principles upon which we should be making decisions on behalf of the Australian people.
I am very grateful for those who have chipped in to support my campaign so far. The level of commitment has been unbelievable with hundreds of individual donors contributing what they can.
That is what a true grassroots conservative movement should comprise and represent: the hopes, goals, aspirations and support of middle Australia.
Just as important have been the messages of goodwill and encouragement. At times it feels like conservatives really are swimming against the socialist regressive tide. It’s easy to think we are swimming alone but we are not.
There are hundreds of thousands of Australians with us who are yet to find their voice but rely on others to speak for them. They are the silent majority who apply common sense to their everyday lives and are suspicious of government promises and agendas.
They wonder how we got to the current circumstance of debt and deficit in such a short period of time without improving the lives of middle Australia.
They observe the results of the progressive social engineering experiment and question how did so many get it so wrong. The evidence is there for all to see. As we have lowered our standards, a plethora of societal problems have been on the increase.
It’s clear something isn’t working and we need to change the direction in which we are headed.
Instead of accepting reality, the leftists are doubling down on their corrosive bets with ever greater demands for accommodations of their latest whims. Should they win the result will be social dislocation, the likes of which we haven’t seen in many decades.
It will ultimately fall to conservatives to right the wrongs.
The big question now is what can be done to restore the values, principles and policy approach that is necessary for future success?
It starts with this election.
Put simply, if you want political outcomes that align with your views, choose representatives that represent your values and have the courage to stand by them.
I don’t see the point in protesting against a particular discontent by casting your lot with an even more destructive force. I can assure you, common sense conservatives will always have more influence over a Coalition Government than a Labor-Greens one.
In the Senate, we have seen the poor performance of those bereft of a core political philosophy, and we now need more Senators who have the courage of their informed convictions. Whether the new Senate voting system delivers this remains to be seen.
The next eight weeks will be a test for all of us. The campaign will test the patience of the electorate, it will test the endurance of the campaigners and it will test the objectiveness of the media.
Most importantly, it will be an important test for our nation, because the result could define us for a long time to come.