AN ELECTION in Sydney is on. Unsatisfied with the existing government? Sure. Nor is Sydney at all interested in Canberra becoming the dumping ground for so-called undemocratic outsiders.

Petition signs, symbolically ugly and so patently out of line with the character of our city and with the values of the Sydney Liberals, will be long gone by the time the little yellow cars of veteran Liberal spokesman Ted O’Brien swoop down to rescue us from our current tyranny and bring us back to the future where we fully and simply welcome back to the political process those with a heart to share, abide by the rules, and lead free lives.

AN ELECTION will not bring back a status quo that does not cater to our significant values, values that will grow and are manifest throughout the lot of humanity. Instead we will have a strong and capable leadership that achieves at all times what is right.

The reasons of so many sensible people who favour reforming the electoral system all agree that a fair election is not only desirable but necessary.

Why isn’t Canberra feeling this pain? Partly it’s because, like Sydney, it would mean a federal election in which the Liberals would no longer claim the majority of seats but they might still be there in March 2020. Why should we look back on this election years later and wonder what would have happened if Liberal MPs had crossed and supported the Upper House from their constituents’ perspective, as Labor and some Coalition MPs may have?

Or let’s take even bigger, gaudier considerations: why wouldn’t we wish to have Canberra back? It was in Canberra. It was in a much darker time.

A blizzard of issues, initiatives and trials docked right down to the neck of the spear were aired in Parliament over the years. Surely a fresh start at the federal level should involve change of leadership and culture as well as views, positions and ideas among politicians in general. Where are the large-scale, localised, thoughtful debates across the country about what it means to be a community citizen in today’s digital age? Are there gatherings and classes such as the entire Phoenix Cricket program in Sydney and Eastwood?

We want better people, much better. But it’s not a matter of “send in the marauders.” It’s about calling out the offenders. No young Australian can afford to live a life of naff socialites and bloated, preening elites, and it’s up to Canberra to be their community.

The Gonski report revealed the great work that can be done by ordinary people making an improvement in schools and police services. Let’s put Gonski aside as a political football and instead focus on the real matters confronting Australian society.

In changing the electoral system, we no longer receive apathetic people offering platitudes or distractions, if we believe what they’re saying – as we’ve done elsewhere in the world – that the system is too old, dumb and down to state governments, and that the real ills are due to incompetent politicians and their staffs. We receive non-stop, main street, local, individual, cross-partisan, substantive, genuine debate, and like it or not, there is a dynamic about this system that is unprecedented in Australian political history.

We get MPs from all sides of the political spectrum discussing their platforms and addressing concerns. But people vote on local issues and then follow the lead of their peers in the other team.

Where we don’t have government ministers with the initiative and initiative to facilitate real governance and decision-making, there’s always the promises, the last minute challenges, the delays and it looks increasingly as if politics doesn’t have a pulse.

It’s a bit of a Scrooge-like environment when we judge the three major parties on their programs.

And yet there is absolutely nothing in the Federal Parliament today that reflects the immense concern that Australians feel over these negative forces that are taking hold.

Ultimately we will do something about our second past the post and that’s where we live and grow. Our hope is that other states can look to Sydney’s example to see that we can do the same.

Peter Dutton

PETER Dutton is a senior community engagement officer at Good Samaritan Hospital.