Are the Nationals the ‘New Greens’? Has the National Party been commandeered by the Progressive Left? What does the National Party stand for any more? G.K. Chesterton said: "When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.” Equally, it could be said that when a political party loses its reason for existence and its moral fabric it will inevitably allow anything.
There is nothing of more importance to a successful democracy than trust. In recent times democracies across the world are suffering a crisis of confidence as trust in the political system wavers. The recent behaviour of our state politicians to push through “The Reproductive Health Bill 2019” has done little to lift confidence and trust. They have failed the test of transparency and public scrutiny.
I take no pleasure in writing as I do and would much prefer to praise our sitting members. There is, however, sufficient suspicion around the actions of our National Party State Members in Armidale and Tamworth at least to make this voter uncomfortable. I hope you will forgive my cynicism.
Our state National Party leaders like to make clear that “The Reproductive Health Bill 2019” was presented as a Private Members Bill as though it came as a surprise and they were not responsible for it. Judging from the number of politicians quick to second this Bill it seems unlikely there was any surprise at all. Judging from the speed with which this Bill was being pushed through parliament and understanding its dangerous implications, it seems our politicians were either prepared to act ignorantly or deceptively to get it through. Neither ignorance nor deception is a quality we want in a politician, particularly when it involves the lives of people.
In the Glen Innes Times, July 31st, Adam Marshall is reported as saying that “the electorate probably agrees with his position.” That is just irresponsible and all of us should forever remain concerned that Mr Marshall will serve our region on the basis that he thinks people probably agree with him. I hope we can all see the danger of the presumption that lies behind such a statement. Equally concerning is Mr Marshall’s stated concern in the article about the Bill itself. He said he was supporting the Bill as a bush MP because, and I quote, he did “not want women that have to terminate a pregnancy to have to travel to Coffs Harbour or Newcastle or Tweed Head to do that because that’s dangerous for them…” The Bill is about decriminalisation not destination. It’s hard to know if this is just ignorance or a deceptive way of seeking to pass a progressive left agenda through our parliament at the expense of properly informed voters.
My concerns go further as Mr Kevin Anderson explained that he would go to the voters and vote according to the collective mind of the community. I understand that some constituents in Tamworth were polled prior to the Lower House vote. Mr Anderson then informed the community that 50.9% of people polled were in favour of the Bill. Hardly a resounding victory and little information was given as to who was actually polled. And putting aside the questionable reliability of the poll, a margin of .9% is so narrow that one would think it wise to at least slow down the decision making process. A responsible leader would then make significant attempts to inform and educate the community before taking a more significant poll of the wider community. I would think that if children in utero were polled the outcome would have been very different.
I recognise that people will think differently on this issue but the handling of “The reproductive Health Bill 2019” has sadly revealed again the rancid underbelly of many in state politics. Whether they had advance warning of the Bill or not our local members cannot hide from their culpability in this legislation, as they voted for it. A conscience vote was offered our State Representatives and I will forever be pastorally concerned for them as every life terminated unnecessarily will forever be on their conscience. That is a significant load to carry that only repentance and faith in Jesus Christ will answer.
Our current members’ handling of this Bill would suggest it is time for us to look for new representatives and perhaps a new party that will better represent the communities of which we are a part.