Safe seats

August 30, 2021
Dianah Walter

Safe seats - why should they become marginal?

If you take a closer look, it is about as plain as the nose on your face; politicians of every persuasion are now concentrating their efforts on marginalised constituents in marginal seats. Pork barrelling is the order of the day.

Do they really care about the people and the issues in those ‘key’ seats?

‘Key’ to what I would ask? The key to being re-elected or the ‘key’ to unlocking the potential of the resilient and remarkable constituents in those seats considered marginal?

What constitutes a marginal seat?  I can’t really put my finger on it; I believe that the definition is evolving. However, if we take a look at the House of Assembly (Lower House) seats in this State of South Australia, it is abundantly clear that there are seats considered ‘safe’ Labor Seats and others ‘safe’ Liberal Seats.

I believe it is arrogant to trust that your tenure as an MP is secure based on your affiliation with a main-stream political party and that voters will – or should - vote for the party rather than the person.   Votes are a precious thing; they are to be earned rather than just collected.

Allow me to develop this assertion. What I have witnessed over the years is that when there has been a Labor Government, ‘safe’ Liberal seats are largely left to fend for themselves. Conversely, in recent times, there is evidence of this peculiarity during present day during this Marshall Liberal Leadership.  This resulted in heartland seats being largely overlooked by their government. Roads in disrepair, essential services crumbling and access to health care not what you would expect in a first world country.

I believe that the way you choose to vote should not impact on the level of essential services you receive in your electorate, or the way deals are made in an attempt to secure or re-deliver seats which are not-so ‘safe’.  As often written, your postcode should not define your lifespan or quality of that life.

This also applies to seats which are deemed to be “unlosable”. I’ll apply that thinking to Narungga.

Narungga (formerly Gouger from the 1930s – centred around Balaklava - & then Goyder from 1977), has been a strong ‘safe’ “L”iberal (in varying incarnations) seat for many decades.   My non-academic assessment is that it has been a conservative rather than progressive electorate.   

Whilst I have permanently resided in Narungga near on a decade, I have observed a pattern of constituents being overlooked because of a lack of liberalism – small ‘l’ Liberal.   Think personal freedoms of late, for instance, the debate gender equality, decriminalising abortion, and voluntary assisted dying. 

I believe it is time for a new 'crop' of politicians to consider a view far beyond the next political cycle. They need to make decisions, many of which may be unpopular and immensely difficult, in order to deliver healthier communities, food security, water security, climate change, housing and economic security and drug law reform for our State.

Together we can influence policy and effect change – independence is the key and a way to swing the pendulum to a place of impeccable balance.  Regions are deservedly back in the limelight, and I intend to shine a very bright light on our region, Our Place, Narungga.

Authorised by Tim Storer, C/- 59B George Street, Moonta SA 5558
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