Is it appropriate to ask the PM these kinds of questions?

Last week I was talking to a couple of friends that I met while travelling. Two are from Canada, one from England and one from the USA. They’re all visiting Australia and they’ve loved it. But one thing has surprised them – how much we bash our politicians and the fact that political news is always at the forefront of our minds.

While the political history and current state of their own politics is something that we too could criticise, they were amazed at the lack of respect the average Australian and more so the Australian media had for politicians.

I hadn’t really thought of it much until I was reading an interview yesterday between Tony Abbott and ABC radio host, John Faine.

The transcript says that in response to the anti-bullying video Tony Abbott released earlier this week the questions from the host were,

“What credibility do you have on bullying – you’ve been accused of it so often yourself?” and “You yourself admit you have an aggressive streak – isn’t that the core of bullying?”

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And then he was asked on a different matter completely, “Mr Abbott, for a Rhodes scholar, how come you say so many stupid things?”

Now just because we’re all thinking it – regardless of whether you support Liberal or not it’s something that has to have crossed everyone’s mind by now! – I felt like it was actually somewhat inappropriate to address the issue in such a matter.

It was without any respect for him and actually, was an insult.

If we allow for a lack of respect for people’s character to be at the highest level of this country and in the media that touches everyone, how can we look around and expect the people sitting around us to have respect too?

If its OK for people in the media to talk to the Prime Minister this way, how do we teach younger people that it’s not OK to treat other people like that. These questions actually made accusations about the character of a person, something that shouldn’t be criticised because we can’t help the person that we are. It’s one thing to criticise actions and choices but attacking someone’s character isn’t respectful.

So now I’m wondering a few different things… Was it ok for these questions to be asked? Why are we in Australia so vitriolic about our politicians? How do we teach younger people respect when we choose not to display it for our own PM? Share your thoughts in the comments below…