I really don’t like getting involved in politics, especially amongst all my friends; opinions differ, passions can be roused and people can get very angry, even over comparatively unimportant issues. As the pundits say, “Never discuss religion or politics with friends”, and in most cases I believe that to be very true. However, there occasionally comes a time when, whatever your point of view, everyone seems to be in agreement with your thinking. I wonder if now might be such a time!
It wasn’t so very long ago that politicians, especially those in the higher echelons of either party could be regarded as statesmen — they possessed a certain dignity, they knew what they were talking about and they could indulge in a healthy discussion or argument without insulting each other. Even Bob Hawke, and little Johnny Howard could handle situations quite well, they were of the old breed and they were well aware of the requirement to not annoy the ‘customers’! On the other hand we have the new breed that followed, led by Paul Keating, a man with little regard for the niceties of politicking, who was happy to insult anyone and would bully his way to success, whatever issue he proposed.
Unfortunately, it would seem that a majority of modern politicians like Keating’s methods and have adopted them for themselves, but without his quick wit and great use of language. Switch your television on to the ABC on any afternoon, and you’ll find yourself in Australian parliament, listening to a din of insults, interruptions and invective, with very little of it providing anything in the way of advantage to the average Australian. They are like a lot of unruly school kids, and spoiled ones at that, who have never been told off by ‘Mummy’ for being naughty, and never been taught respect for the thoughts and ideas of others. We are stuck with them, unfortunately!
It seems to me, a large percentage of today’s politicians, rather than looking outward to see what they can do for Australia and its people, look inward to see what Australia and its people can do for them! Coincidentally, although there is no way I would want to vote for them, the one party I feel ‘keeps its eyes on the ball’ is the one called Green; they may, in the opinion of a lot of people, have some rather ludicrous, if sincere ideas, but there is no denying the fact that they are dedicated to those ideas!
There may even be a small glimmer of light on the horizon anyway, a glimmer caused by the antics of our present politicians themselves, with the first signs of it started by the indomitable Pauline Hanson several years ago and now being gently fanned by the good doctor’s win in Wentworth. Kerryn Phelps and Pauline really both belong to a new form of party — the Independents, a group of albeit politically-minded people who owe no allegiance to any of the major groups, and who have a genuine desire to do something for their country rather than for themselves.
Now may be the perfect time for these people and others like them to step forward and present themselves to the public, a public obviously fed up with what we are putting up with at the moment. The last few election results prove that, with Governments trying to operate with the tiniest of majorities, due mainly to lack of real ideas to guide voters, from either party. The major parties have massive machines to protect them and their members of course, but I can’t help feeling that these machines won’t necessarily be helpful in the present political climate.
If only we had ‘first-past-the post’ voting, instead of the silly proportional representation we have to live with at present, this could be a perfect world, though ironically the Liberal member for Wentworth would have been voted in last week, had the ‘first-past-the post’ system applied!
Perhaps now our elected representatives have some time off to enjoy the festive season, they might also take some time to review their performance for those they represent and make the necessary amendments before the first sitting in the new year.