Voices groups are often challenged with questions like:
“Aren’t you just a political party by another name?”
“Teals aren’t real independents, they’re either Liberals or Greens in disguise.”
As a Voices group, we are not a party, nor will we run candidates. The name “Teals” is a tag-name coined by the mass media (mostly Murdoch press) and often used in a negative way to belittle this major political movement. Some people think of “Teals” positively. But it underestimates the powerful differences these Community Independents are championing.
So let’s unpack what a Voices group is about, and how they relate to Community Independents.
The Community Independent candidates and elected representatives like Zoe Daniel and David Pocock are proud to be Community-minded Independent people – directly representing the communities they come from. Community Independents are not representing corporate lobby groups like coal, oil, gas, tobacco, gambling lobbies and the like.
Being 100% independent of party ideologies and political ploys, Community Independents draw upon local voices, verified facts, science and evidence bases for their decision making.
Community Independents are politicians; each running their own independent election campaign.
By contrast, Voices groups are non-partisan independent local networks of people committed to making democracy work better. Committed to having peoples voices heard and well represented by those who are in office or vying for election.
The role of a Voices group is to:
- LISTEN to the community voices through surveys, events and meetings and aggregate them into a meaningful set of priorities.
- PUBLISH and PROMOTE the findings of the listening events so all political parties and independents can stand for them.
- EDUCATE the voting (and soon-to-vote) public about the importance of the issues the Voices of Tasmanians have shared
- CAMPAIGN for those voices to be included in all the candidates policy platforms – not just the Community Independent candidates.
So, how does this relate to Voices of Tasmania? After we close this first survey, we will analyse the results and provide a transparent report for each of the 5 Tasmanian electorates and Tasmania overall. These reports will be published on our website and provided to ALL the relevant candidates and representatives so that they hear the voices of Tasmanians loud and clear.
We will then support communities engaged in the political process in each electorate to come together and choose ideal community-minded candidates who will campaign on the issues highlighted by the Voices reports. Our role will be to provide and facilitate workable frameworks for those communities to unearth, vet and choose winnable candidates.
In summary, Voices groups are forming in each of Tasmania’s five electorates to increase participatory democracy – encouraging active engagement in community driven politics. In summary:
- Voices groups are not connected to any political party.
- They are community-focused, and truly independent of each other.
- They/we want to hear and represent what this local community is most wanting right now.
- Voices groups are community groups; not “Teals”
- Community Independent candidates dislike the term “Teals”
- Community Independents are also truly independent – though they usually have shared values – they are free to vote on their constituents’ behalf every time.