It’s no secret that Australia has been through the ringer when it comes politicians over the past few years. Deposed leaders, sacked senators, in-fighting and scandals, we’ve had it all!
Despite the fact that these pollies have lost their job and felt the full weight of public opinion rain down on them, they can’t seem to stay away.
Our two best examples of this would be Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott; both former prime ministers who were dumped by their parties and ridiculed by the Australian people.
Both, however, seem to be incapable of staying away from the limelight. Mr Rudd took up the high-profile role of foreign minister after he was ousted, before plotting his own coup to land himself back in the top job again.
While Mr Abbott suffered incredibly low approval ratings, it didn’t stop him from holing onto his seat and securing a position on the backbench from where he could loudly give his opinion on a number of topics. Just yesterday, one of his close friends published a column in the News Corp papers, with his permission, basically stating that if Malcolm Turnbull wants to heal the rift between them he should give Mr Abbott the Indigenous Affairs portfolio to make him happy.
So why can’t these politicians seem to stay out of the limelight? In most other western countries, when a leader is finished with their role they step out of politics and move into less publicised roles.
Many former European and US leaders have gone on to become advisors for big businesses or sit on the board at major companies. Others go into philanthropic work or take up more diplomatic posts.
Not our Aussies though. Both Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott have proved time and time again they’re not done with politics yet and want to have another go, whether the Australian public wants them to or not.
On the one hand, you could argue they have every right to stick around and try to make a difference in a political role. If politics is their passion and they can do some good, why shouldn’t they have another go at it?
On the other hand though, is the more common commentary which sees people saying, “you’ve had your shot, now bugger off”.
Both Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott brought a lot to the table when they were prime minister. Mr Rudd is an intelligent strategist and skilled in the art of foreign relations, while Mr Abbott is passionate about community work and Indigenous issues.
Unfortunately, each had their downfalls though which lead to their eventual demise. While Mr Rudd enjoyed mostly high public approval ratings, the general consensus is that he was disliked by the party who eventually kicked him out.
Mr Abbott’s problem was the opposite: he was well liked by his party colleagues, but suffered incredibly low ratings in the public polls.
So what do we do with these two men and what do we, the public, want from them in future? Politicians seem to be made for life in the public eye, but once they’re out do we really want them to hang around?