I lived and breathed politics at one time in my life. The left side of politics was under threat in Newman (iron-ore mining in the North West of Western Australia). Robe River Mining had taken on the Unions and beaten them – it was a bitter fight. Other mining companies tried to shake off the unions and there were lots of strikes – lots of nasty name calling as well.
I didn’t work for the mine but I did some casual work with the local Labor Member of Parliament. I then took on the Secretary’s job at the local ALP Branch. I loved it. All sorts of issues came up and I wrote letters to anyone and everyone. I realized that one person writing one letter can make a BIG difference to a community. I represented the branch and that had some impact.
We fought against issues like “fly-in, fly-out” contractors. They came to work for two weeks on and one week off. They didn’t contribute anything to the community infrastructure – in fact services were under threat as the number of school children reduced so teachers were withdrawn etc.
I’m not so passionate about politics today. I still believe that one person can make a difference though. Cynicism can take over if you let it!
The politicians visited town often and the local ALP branch members used to put them up over night. It was so interesting to get the inside story. I know they worked incredibly hard with long hours every week. Is it the power that drives them to keep going? My lads gave up their beds for the night so that a couple of them could stay over. One of them left their silk dressing gown behind once and I had to parcel it up and send to his wife with a message I hope she believed!
Sometimes I would get up in the morning and find one of them doing my dishes. That was a pleasant sight 🙂