My family had a zoom on the weekend. Everyone sat around chatting, spending time with each other, hanging out.
It was fun.
One thing my nephew said struck me—we were talking politics, and he was annoyed by people who “think if they just argue enough they can get whatever they want”.
It’s an interesting point. Basically the premise is that people are powerless, and we have no right to want things to be different.
I think this is wrong.
So, for anyone feeling fatalistic or powerless out there, this blog post is for you.
It’s 10 examples from my life and history where arguing with politicians has changed the world.
- Backpaid Rent
In 2014 I lived in a rent-controlled apartment. My rent went up unfairly and stayed up for too long. I contacted my landlord, who did nothing. I then contacted the Mayor of the city I live in, who was kind enough to write to my landlord. My landlord reduced my rent, and back-paid me 6 months of rent at the reduced rate. Win!
In the 1990’s a park close to where I live was going to be turned into apartments. Many people were distressed by this. The community got together and protested, and protested and protested. We won. Those parks are still parks, and there’s a plaque on them celebrating the community.
- Law Changed Due to Suggestion
My Mother-in-law’s local member was having a question and answer night in the local RSL. She went along and suggested a tweak to a law that was currently being debated. The local member heard it, thought it was a good idea, and my Mother-in-law’s tweak was included in the law.
In 1965 a group of Anglo-Saxon and Indigenous Australian students rode through country towns of NSW trying to highlight racism and put a stop to it. This played a role in the 1967 referendum where Indigenous Australian’s were included in the Constitution as citizens of Australia with the right to vote and were no longer considered flora or fauna.
In 1997 my whole science class wrote to our local members, asking for Dugongs to be protected. Over the past 20 years, a lot of other people have done the same. Until 2017 Australia had a National Dugong and Turtle Protection Plan. Most Dugongs living in Australia live in marine parks (restricted boat speeds, and mesh net fishing restrictions).
In 2017 Australia voted to allow gay and lesbian people to marry. This followed a long running campaign of activism and public education about gay people.
Between 1976 and 1991 all Australian states changed their Marital Rape laws to mean that if one member of a partnership forced the other to have sex, they were criminally liable. This followed a long campaign of activism by feminists and other groups.
In Australia we have Work Health and Safety Laws. These provide Workers Compensation for any workers who get injured, and make managers criminally liable for the safety of staff. These were brought in after a long campaign by Unions and other groups.
In 1948 Australia brought in the 40-hour work week. This followed years of Union campaigning. Since then, we’ve introduced a 38-hour work week. There is work to be done here, though, as many salaried workers hour’s are much higher.
In the years leading up to 1215, a group of Barons threatened to rebel against King John I in England. In 1215, John created the first elements of English Democracy. He gave some of his powers away to the Barons and gave them the right to make some decisions through a council. This eventually (with much work) lead to the Democratic processes we have today.
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I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching The Good Place for nerds or artists.
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