I remember the first time I went to Canberra.

It was December 1978, I was nearly 12 and our family was moving from Merriwa in the Upper Hunter Valley to Bombala, near the Victorian border.

Our furniture and other belongings had left the previous day, and, as we would later find out, would take another few days to arrive in Bombala- encountering a bridge, a kangaroo, a number of pubs, and the front gate in our new home on their way.

In our little party were my parents, my 3 younger siblings, Beau (our corgi), a red hen with her 8 chickens, and enough luggage and food to last us all a few days. All stacked in the maroon kingswood wagon.

We spent that first night in a red brick motor inn somewhere near Narrabundah, smuggling the dog into the bathroom and leaving the chooks in the back of the car with the windows open.

The next morning Dad drove out of Canberra towards the Monaro Highway, taking us past (what is now) Old Parliament House. I was fascinated. A new adventure was ahead, and we were all different shades of excited.

One thing you mightn’t know about broody hens is that they can hold on to their, well, bowels, I guess, for days.  Mother Hen chose not too far out of town to evacuate hers. So there we were- hen and chickens by the side of the road as Mum tried to clean out their box, I had the dog, my siblings were throwing up and my father was heaving and cursing equally.

A year or so later, we were back, this time to check out the sites. We visited Parliament, the War Memorial, saw poor old Pharlap’s heart and drove past some of the embassies. I can still recall the Indonesian embassy with their fish ponds full of colourful carp- it seemed so exotic.

My siblings were bored- I wasn’t. Ok, the War memorial didn’t float my boat, but the workings of government did- and continues to do so.

Fast forward to March 1988, freshly graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and a major in Political Science and I was living there. I moved into town at about the same time as Parliament was being moved to the new house on the hill. I wasn’t involved, but I was there.

I’m not particularly affiliated with one party or the other- although I am definitely left of centre, politically speaking, and there was this one time I helped hand out ALP how to vote cards at Bibbenluke Primary School for the 1983 Federal Election…and I’ve been known to attend Green rallies over the years.

The problem I see with politics at present is we seem to have no choice- both leaders have watered themselves down to appeal to polls, forum groups and everyone who listens to talkback radio. Nor do we have politicians who are prepared to stand up for a cause- well, we do, but they don’t happen to be leading their respective parties.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never wanted to stand or anything- that would mean allying myself to a political party but the workings of it all interest me. And yes, I’m aware that most things get lost in enquiries, and task forces, and backroom manipulations and compromises, but even so… despite this, there’s a part of me that has always wanted to do something. I have no idea what- but something that makes some sort of difference. That’s all.

Linking up on the confessional booth with My Home Truths.

20 Comments on “I must confess: I want to make a difference….

  1. OMG imagining the chaos of the siblings vomiting, dad swearing, your chook-sitting and your poor mum having to clean out the boxes ! If anything was ever going to make me a non-travelling homebody that would do it for me! I am so disillusioned by the whole political scene now, it is such a farce. I think we’d do better to just have Eddie Macguire as our PM, at least he has some charisma and admits when he has stuffed up. I would like to think good changes are on the horizon.

  2. It’s funny Lisa, but I have such itchy feet & love a good road trip- even though the ones of my childhood were generally characterised by the ice cream container Mum kept in the back seat for when my middle sister would hurl. Delightful.

  3. Great post – I am a bit of a political junkie, albeit with no great love for either party, and I always get quite excited at election times. Everyone around me thinks I’m a bit sad, really!

  4. I’m fascinated by the whole thing too. I haven’t always been but since having my son I have found that I have become more interested in what politicians are saying and promising.

    I use my blog to help make a difference and have always told myself that even if it changes the mind of one person, then I am happy.

  5. I feel exactly the same. There is no way I could be induced to stand for a party or stand as an independent (there is not enough money in the world for all the hassle of being an MP) but I would love the opportunity to make a difference one day. I have visited parliament house a few times over the years and it moves me every time I go there – pity most of the current parliament don’t seem to hold it in the same respect or esteem…

  6. I think most people want to make a difference. Politics is one of those things where most people have an opinion. We want to know that politicians are trying to make our country a better place. Lately, it’s just become a joke!

    • Hasn’t it just- it seems that the people who should have an opinion, are the ones who don’t. Thanks for dropping by.

  7. Wow, what a road trip. I’ve moved 22 times now and our last one from NSW to WA was definitely the biggest adventure and hopefully the last.

    I’m a tad over politics at the moment, it really has become a joke and I’m not convinced either party would get my vote at this point.

    • I’m naive- or hopeful. Whilst I couldn’t in all conscience vote for either at the moment, I still have some faith in the system or hope that someone will emerge from somewhere who I want to listen to.

  8. I used to be fascinated with politics in school, and then realised that it is now more a popularity contest with a lot of backstabbing, bickering and closed deals done in secret. I get disillusioned with it all as our system of governance really is a great model. I think many of us would like to make a difference but just don’t know what or how. Great post, by the way.

  9. I often joke about running for office, but not sure I’d ever want to actually do it! (Imagine how much ‘dirt’ my opponents could find on me on the internet!?!?)

    I have to say the machinations of govt don’t really interest me but Canberra is the only place I’ve lived where I played tourist quite often. I had a lot of visitors and would do the sights with them. THat never happened in Brissy and I’d have no idea where to take them!

  10. PS. I’ve also dealt with a lot of good AND bad politicians in my Federal, State and Local Govt jobs and find it interesting how much impact (or not) some have!

    • I like the possibility of doing good- but it’s sad that many don’t. I don’t think it necessarily means that the system is wrong, just that the right people aren’t being attracted.

  11. Me too. There is something in me that has never been able to roll over and let other people decide what’s best for me, for anybody. I like to know that I at least had a say, that I did what I could, that I made a difference. x

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