Dianah Walter

 

The word Parliament has its origins from the French and comes from the word ‘parler’ meaning ‘to talk’. In our South Australian Parliament, a truly independent member must do so much more than talk.

I was recently asked why I was “bothering” to run as an Independent in a “Safe Liberal Seat.” My response was spontaneous! I am standing to challenge and to shift the status quo. I am standing to take a seat. Fundamentally, I am fed-up with my voice being largely ignored, my vote being taken for granted and the re-election of the sitting member to a ‘safe seat’ accepted as a fait accompli.

My years of advocacy and policy, working and volunteering in public and community service has assisted me to strongly position myself to be a truly independent representative for the seat of Narungga.

Based on my lived-experience and broad knowledge of issues, I know I have the competence and aptitude to cut through the noise and the easy three-word slogans. Independents can and should speak with a strong and clear voice to articulate the views and opinions of their constituency whilst operating for the good of our State as a whole. our whole S.

For the past 30 years, and with increasing scrutiny during the last 5, I have followed the rise and the sharp fall of many of our parliamentarians. My heart has ached for those placed in precarious positions and situations. Those who were used as scapegoats for the ‘greater good’ of their party in order to secure deals, to save face or to win at any cost.

I have saluted those who have had the courage to advocate for what they believe in even if it meant not toeing their party’s line or speaking out on important issues, not just issues perceived as popular. Importantly, I have deep respect for the true Independents of our time. They are the politicians who have intently listened to their constituency, exploited their community’s sentiments to bring about a political paradigm shift and rekindled optimism for their electorates.

The constituency holds the most powerful position of influence; people can vote bad parties and policies in or out. You can vote ineffectual candidates out and vote diligent and dignified candidates in.

It is time for a new crop of candidates to run on the clean fuel of integrity and worthiness. Truly independent MPs in a minority government (my prediction for South Australia in March 2022) have immense bargaining power to influence and effect policy reform in areas about which they and their communities are fervent.

Should I take a seat in the House of Assembly for Narungga, the art of deliberation will take on a whole new meaning. Decision making will be born out of robust science and evidence as views may shift with every conversation had and every opinion shared. 2

I like the notion of introducing private members bills on issues of importance to Narungga and the regions. I like the notion of having those bills co-sponsored by like-minded MPs of other persuasions in the Upper House. I understand that it is rare for private Members’ bills to succeed as they must have the support of the majority and are usually defeated. That is an example where, as an independent, I will work purposefully and strategically. I can and will work with every colour of politician on our State’s parliament and will dig deep to find common ground.

Yes, we do need more independents in our parliament, in all of our parliaments. Yes, they will provide optimism and reliability. The duopoly and its adversarial and often dishonest and misleading conduct MUST be brought to order for us to ever have respectable government. I say respectable because you may not share or agree with another’s politics but importantly you will respect their opinion, choices, and decisions.

I am focussed on taking that seat on the crossbench. If improving the argument and training my voice in a way that will deliver better results for the seat of Narungga and the regions, then hear me roar!

Words are commanding and authoritative when written in policies, contracts and delivered in promises. What is more powerful is the actions that reinforce those words and in acting, doing so ethically and morally.

Now is the time for the smart and courageous changes to policy and legislation in areas such as justice, health, and the environment. Now is the time to do what is objective and just, rather than what may be perceived to be popular. Now is the time for more independents in politics. I look forward to taking a seat.