Abraham Lincoln said that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not vanish from the earth.
He could not have foreseen the steady diminution of trust and engagement that governments and politicians have experienced globally and particularly over recent years in Australia.
Trust, in particular, of governments (and therefore politicians) is at an all-time low. It must be said in the same breath that the trend for media has been an even steeper drop, although refreshingly recent self-harm incidents from social media platforms is seeing a resurgence in trust in media outlets.
It is therefore encouraging to see the engagement of south-west people with The Standard’s state election survey.
Over 800 people in the south-west took the survey that via more than 20 questions sought to establish the issues that matter to us all in the region.
This is an important and empowering result. In essence, it is an opportunity for people to tell our political leaders and candidates in the November state election what is required of them.
The state of our roads and funding issues for health and education dominated responses. It is clear that respondents want to see more money for hospitals in the region, more incentives for health professionals to live and work here and more money for public schools to give our kids the best start in life.
Similarly, nearly 95 per cent of respondents said regional development was “important or very important” and another clear majority said government departments and staff should be relocated from metropolitan areas to the region.
Many other issues were raised and will be more fully explored by The Standard in due course.
What is clear, however, is that south-west people feel more needs to be done to improve the social and economic infrastructure of the region.
The government, the opposition, minor parties and candidates are on notice.
The people of the south-west have spoken and must be heard: enunciate a vision for the region, fully explored through clear, collegiate policy-making supported by adequate funding for both the present and the future.
The results of the survey are by the people and of the people. Politicians must now act for the people.