Australia’s ongoing problem with prime ministers is getting serious 8

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Australia, we may have a problem.

In the last six years we’ve had five prime ministers (one of them twice) and unfortunately they’ve all bared the same fate. Dogged by bad polling numbers, political in-fighting and constant power struggles, Australia has seen one leader after another take the top job without too much success.

While this may sound blunt, the numbers speak for themselves. Kevin Rudd enjoyed the highest satisfaction rate with a whopping 71 per cent approving of him in 2008. Following his reelection in 2013 though, his numbers plummeted to 32 per cent. After that it all becomes even bleaker.

Julia Gillard only had a 50 per cent satisfaction and a low of 23 per cent. She was followed by Tony Abbott with a high of 47 per cent satisfaction and a low of 24 per cent.

Given Mr Abbott’s low numbers, the Liberals decided to oust him and try Malcolm Turnbull instead. Unfortunately, he hasn’t fared much better. While he enjoyed a 60 per cent satisfaction rating in 2015, numbers out this week show he has now fallen to 23 per cent – lower than the number he believed justified Mr Abbott’s ousting.

So why can’t we get a PM who keeps the nation happy? While there are always going to be divides between voters, the plummeting numbers from both parties seem to prove that even people who are traditionally staunch supporters of one party aren’t happy with what’s going on.

Shouldn’t a prime minister be someone who inspirers and leads the nation into a better future? To many, it seems all we’ve had lately are people who divide and disappoint.

Of cause it’s not all negative. Each of these prime ministers have had their moments in the sun and each have a band of faithful followers who praise what they were able to achieve in their time in office.

The problem is that overwhelmingly, numbers show that as a whole we are not happy with them. There has been outrage from the public about expense claims, harsh budgets and a single-mindedness that many say has been about putting pollies first and leaving every-day Australians to fend for themselves.

The relationship between both major parties has also been fraught with bitterness, with each hypocritically bad-mouthing the other for their failure to hold onto a leader.

The last prime minister who had the most impressive numbers was John Howard, with a 67 per cent satisfaction rating and a low of 28 per cent. Although his time as leader was considered to be trying by many, when asked in 2011 a whopping 50 per cent of Australians named him as the best leader we’d had in years.

It makes you wonder what they’d say if they were asked now after both Mr Turnbull and Mr Abbott have been named to the mix.

Would the Australian public be able to say they’re satisfied with the leadership we’ve had in the past six years? Would they say they had faith in their prime ministers to do the right thing by them and put their needs first?

As politicians these men and women have a responsibility to put the interests of the country and their voters first. It’s balancing these two priorities that can cause them trouble though.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey, and his boss Mr Abbott, suffered major backlash after they delivered particularly harsh budgets according to some. While supporters argued they were doing what was necessary to keep the country’s economy afloat and bring it out of the red, others accused them of sticking it to the people – especially the country’s most needy.

Finding this balance seems to be imperative for a leader if they are to do their duty to both the country and the people. The question is: will we ever have a leader who can do both?

Do you think we need better candidates for PM? Who do you think has been the best PM for Australia?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.