To: My Elected Rep Re: Your Concience

Dear Sir/Madam

As my duly elected representative in a representative democracy, I write to remind you that your ‘Concience Vote’ in parliament does not belong to you.

You are elected to reflect the collective conscience of my electorate. The extent to which you reflect it will determine your success in the next ballot.

Please do not think that because you have been freed from the confines of party policies that you are entitled to reflect your personal views in parliament. You were elected because people believe you reflect views that closely match their own, and made promises which people felt were worthy of support. You are your electorate.

However, it is unreasonable to expect that you will be in-step with your electorate on every issue, especially those which carry significant moral and ethical contention. You must consult widely and reflect the view of the electorate in your conscience vote.

You are not in Canberra as my gladiator or superstar. I will not support your ‘courageous’ or ‘deeply held’ convictions if you cannot claim a broad consensus. I expect you to vote against your personal beliefs if you cannot convince your own electorate – your own neighborhood – of the merits of your position. If you are unable to represent my own position in Canberra, I will still support you if you can show that my own view is in the minority.

Because your conscience vote does not belong to you, it is not a commodity that can be bought or traded. You do not have my permission to consult with anyone other than my fellow electors when deciding the vote you will cast on my behalf. I expect you to be transparent and explicit about this process.

I wish you well in parliament. Please consult me, represent me, and let me know how you get on.