Jeff Kennett: “Australia doesn’t need popularity, it needs leadership”. Do you agree? 394



View Profile

Jeff Kennett has warned Australia that “popularity alone isn’t enough to fix our problems”.

In a recent Herald Sun editorial, the former Victorian Premier argued strongly in favour of a leader “with the political courage to change the course of our unsustainable lifestyle… Someone who can make tough decisions for our future, not one who is simply a populist”.

Talking about the piece the next day on Sunrise, he expanded on this belief.

“Our expenditure’s going up, our revenue’s going down,” he said.

He cited childcare as one example: it was introduced by the Australian federal government in 1972, costing $6.5 million. By 2017/18, it will cost $8.5 billion.

“We’re approaching a situation where there has to be major adjustment”.

“But in order to do that, you’re going to need a leader and a government that’s prepared to govern, and actually tell us, the public… give us the narrative as to why we’ve got to take this action in order to give us some protection in the future.”

“Up until recently, for the last decade, I think popularity has been seen as more important than good government. In fact, I would say that politicians over the last decade have not managed your or my money very well. In fact, I think they’ve managed it atrociously”.

“So I’m looking for a leader, and I hope Malcolm Turnbull is that man, to actually have the courage with his team to develop the narrative to tell us why we need to make changes, and then have the courage to make sure they introduce the changes”.

“Otherwise, those countries beyond our shores, the world’s economy, will manage it for us, and we won’t be masters of our own destiny”.

Interviewer Karl Stefanovic suggested one such issue is that Australians don’t allow their leaders to make tough, unpopular decisions.

“I’ve just come back from Singapore again”, replied Mr. Kennett. “I’ve been going back there since I was in the army, posted in 1968… and it is a guided democracy, but it is a democracy. And Malaysia has been a guided democracy.”

“Democracy’s a wonderful thing, but if it actually leads to the breaking down of institutions, if it leads to the position where you have high unemployment, then you’ve got to ask ‘is there a middle ground?'”

“We need a leader who is prepared to take the public into their confidence; to explain clearly why we need to make changes.”

He cited New South Wales premiere Mike Baird as another such leader; he went to the last election promising to privatise elecatricity, right after Campbell Newman had lost office partly for that reason, but placed this priority over popularity.

“We need that sort of approach at a federal government level, and I hope Malcolm Turnbull has the courage to do it.”

Do you agree with Mr Kennett’s opinion? Is this what Australia needs? Is it something Australia is genuinely lacking today? And what needs to change?

Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. We need the Liberal Party gone and common sense and decency to go back into the political arena

    19 REPLY
    • I don;t know. I think they are all tarred with the same brush. If only there was someone out there who GENUINELY was in it for Australia.

    • Berndt Rudiger Olesen must be a paid Liberal troll. They get $16 a comment, no penalties for comments on Sundays. I’m thinking of supplementing my income doing the same thing, lol

    • Not living in Australia is the reason he can defend the Liberals. He’s got no idea how bad they are

    • Oh yes and Labour did ssooooo much better. Killed 3 young men with the pink bats fiasco ( or was it 4) oh and Victoria’s desal plant (state -I know!!). Too many stuff ups to recall. Good on you

    • Wendy Cadby I would more be more concerned about what is happening at the moment if I was you, we have Jamie Briggs who had to stand down from the cabinet for alleged advances to a young staffer, he has now leaked her name her photo and her job description to the press, not content to abuse her once he has gone in for a second shot by trying to shame her publicly. Next we have Mal Brough who is being investigated by the Federal Police for theft of Peter Slippers diary, he too had to stand down and more may be involved in that yet. The Slipper affair was a shameful incident in this country he was persecuted by the Liberals

    • Leanne, do you remember the AUD r/e under the Gillard and Rudd governments ? For all practical purposes, it has killed off Australian manufacturing. Do you remember the inflation, certainly in W.A. ? How the unions drove up the cost of doing business and the effect that this has had on Australian projects and investments ?

    • Rosalind Battles So you are of the opinion that because I do not live in Australia, I should not be allowed to have an opinion ? Interesting. I was not aware that there are different rules for Australians in Australia and Australians overseas.

    • Berndt Rudiger Olesen what happens in this country has no effect on you, you live in another country under a different Government. Unlike you we live here and what happens here does affect us

    • Berndt Rudiger Olesen you’re welcome to have an opinion, but if you’re opinion is wrong you have to expect to be pulled up on it. As you don’t live in Australia you can’t possibly have any idea the impact this useless government is having on our everyday lives.

    • David James What do you know about what has an effect on my life ? And even if it does not, I do not think that your opinion is more important, than mine.

  2. Jeff Kennett is absolutely right.

    18 REPLY
    • this turkey does not even live in Australia, so how would he know and anything that happens here won’t affect him

    • We have got to stop privatisation of all of our government assets for a start. Lotteries have gone, electricity, gas.etc. Next it will be the transport system. I have seen in England the results and transport there is owned by so many different companies that if you buy a ticket and mistakenly get on a competitors train you can be fined thousands of pounds. It’s ludicrous, these private companies are making millions of dollars, so why can’t the government?

      1 REPLY
      • Joan our Train system is leased by an overseas Company. Not sure about Yarra Trams.

    • Mike here-of course he is right but like mot pollies & ex pollies he says what the people want to hear but never delivers

    • juneMike if he was so right why did he lose government to the ALP by a 13 seat swing..this man is a has been and a failure

    • What we need is a government that puts us Australians first…instead of big corporations, banks and all those who haven’t paid their fair share of taxation….stop subsidising the high end of town….

    • Victoria Alexandra D’Arienzo Well, if you remember Melbourne before JK, you will know that he changed the city into the world-class city, it is today.

  3. Yes we do need leadership and for politicians to listen to the people on all counts and making tough decisions .but do not hurt the sick the elderly the people who struggle everyday .i don,t drink I don,t gamble I don,t smoke .worked hard all my life .but still live on struggle street .?

  4. After what he did in office yeh sure.

    8 REPLY
  5. We don’t need to listen to Jeff Kennett.

    3 REPLY
    • He made things worse in Victoria. I’m glad he resigned from from his regular segment on 3aw radio Melbourne.

    • All the depression and shit he’s suffered since quitting politics is only a fraction of what that despot deserves!!

    • He was one of the best premiers we ever had! Closing tiny schools in populated suburbs with other options nearby put this state back in the black. I was at one of those schools but even I could see it was a money pit.

  6. “Masters of our own destiny” LOVE that phrase but am afraid that we may have left it a little late. Too much cow-towing to foreign governments and companies. Lost ability to stand on our own feet. Sold ff the land, sold off the infrastructure. Afraid to say what we think (probably because if we did we could be boycotted and since we no longer make anything ourselves, we would be stuffed). Government and politicians with no balls, only interested in self preservation and their future pensions.

    4 REPLY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *