I remember a talk I did once on International volunteer day. It was about 5 years ago and it was in front of about 500 volunteers. There were also about 8 politicians in the crowd. My speech was about volunteering. I joked about starting the “volunteering party”. That got a few giggles. Yet when I talked about how volunteers should be supported by government through subsidized public transport I seemed to get attention from the pollies. After describing it as both good for Volunteerism and the environment I noted most of the politicians reaching for notebooks and pens and scribbling notes. At the time I thought “wow, they are really taking note of that suggestion”. Yea. Right. I may have been suggesting that all volunteers receive free haircuts for the year. Actually there’s a thought….anyway I digress.
Nothing of course came of that speech. This was a case of politicians looking interested in front of half a thousand volunteers. I only started thinking about that tonight as I watched the news here in Australia. We still have a hung parliament. We are still unclear about future Government. How different might it have been if one party had been brave enough to come up with some policy on volunteering? Yes there was some policy on encouraging students to volunteer but as far as I could see nothing concrete on the infrastructure of volunteering. Or the support of volunteering or anything on reducing barriers to volunteering. And if you think Volunteer Management got a look in then I am sure you are having an interesting time in la la land with the munchkins!
Given that the price of petrol and travel costs can impact on volunteering it would have been good to see some political leadership there.
Today in Australia we have a hung parliament.
According to the latest Australian census we have 5.4 million volunteers.
Did both parties miss an opportunity to clench a deal?
Think about it.