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Mayo by-election …

I note with concern the report in today’s Islander in which candidates in the current Mayo by-election are asked “What will you do for us..?” as if this should be the key factor in deciding who to vote for.

I cannot fathom why anyone with any understanding of our Federal parliamentary system would think this question has anything to with the reasons for which a Federal member is elected.

Of course local members should know their electorates, and where possible, should have life, work and educational experience in them. But imagine every member thinking their job was to gain every possible advantage for their own electorate. It would be chaos.

We are not electing a lolly lady. We are, or should be, electing the person we believe has the experience, education, energy and intelligence to make a strong, long-term, positive contribution to an effective national government.

“Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests;
which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates;
but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole;
where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide,
but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole.”
Edmund Burke