Saturday 13 January 2018
I befriended Stuart Whitman around three years ago and we have twice since taken coffee together at the popular Federation Square in Melbourne. We both, I think, while discussing the finer points of life, recognised a common thread of humanity that we both shared. At the time he was working in his own business before taking an opportunity to work for Mark Dreyfus in the Senate. He has now moved onto the Institute for Religion, Politics and Society at the Catholic University.
We soon found that one of the things we had in common was, in terms of political motives, an interest in “what makes them tick”. What makes them do and say the things they do. So, yesterday I was somewhat delighted when I saw these words on Facebook:
“I’ve spent enough years observing now to work out there are generally two motives for people who go into politics – those who enter politics for “who” they want to be, and those for “what” they want to do.
Maybe most politicians are a combination of both but which of those two motives proves the stronger for the individual will often determine the true worth of their time in Parliament and what ultimately separates the field.
It must feel like an incredible privilege to sit in a state or federal legislature, and an even rarer one to become a minister in a government. But it’s all so fleeting. Not everyone gets a safe seat.
Some people sacrifice years and perhaps decades of their lives reaching for that opportunity – giving up family time, attending meetings, befriending the “right” people, making compromises, placing themselves under scrutiny, and building a profile and support base – yet most people with that ambition who have made those sacrifices will never win a preselection to become a party endorsed candidate, and many who do become candidates will never win the election, and those that do may only find themselves there a short time in a marginal seat and because of a more volatile electorate.
After your parliamentary service has finished most names will be forgotten by the next generation. And those few who make it to the most powerful positions will just be footnotes in history books within a few generations. Taking any vain affirmation in the achievement is pointless.
The nature of the system when you are there can soon make you forget why you entered surrounded by flatterers, detractors, gossipers and narcissists.
If you are one of those who sit in parliament for what you want to do, every day remind yourself, have some clear goals and just do it.
Use the privilege of being in those chambers to make your mark, have your priority goals ready and don’t stop pursuing them, leave society a better place for having been there and know when you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve – don’t overstay your welcome.
Make way for the next person who has goals to serve and contribute, and don’t stay so long that the perks corrupt you to a point you take a permanent holiday from your ethics on the public purse.” (Stuart J Whitman).
“Will we ever grow intellectually to the point where we are able to discern and understand the potential for the good within us.”
One example of the above is Peter Dutton. What motivates him to do and say the things he does? Is it purely to stir up hatred of those with a darker skin tone for political reasons? What pleasure does he get from his dalliances into sewer politics? Does he really think that the public falls for his lack of compassion because he is tough on asylum seekers and others? Victoria Police describe Dutton’s ‘African gangs’ crime wave claims as ‘absolute garbage’ and back that up with the facts.
Dutton says that people are so afraid that they won’t step outside their doors.
Kathleen Kildare tweeted:
“Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs, is a disgrace and should be stood down for manufacturing community discontent with the complicity of the Daily Mail.
Furthermore, his Trumpesque attacks on Victoria’s Judicial system smacks of authoritarian overreach, grr!”
The problem I see here is that Dutton is the politician Stuart Whitman describes as the “who” they want to be, and not the for “what” they want to do politician
But today, Mr Dutton stepped up the rhetoric against the judiciary, blaming “soft sentences” on the appointment of civil libertarians as magistrates, and labelling one Supreme Court judge a “left-wing ideologue”.
The judge in question, Lex Lazarus is one of Victoria’s most respected jurists and Dutton would know that by convention he is unable to reply.
And the “who” they want to be’ politician during times of poor leadership is a most dangerous animal because the likes of Turnbull have no power to stand up to them.
So Dutton will keep up with his sarcasm (except for when he sleeps) and other offensive expressions calculated to raise racial hatred and break down society.
We can only conclude that Dutton is not in it to help create a better society with a better future for all. He has been a failure at his two other Ministries and compassion has eluded him thus far in this one. I can only conclude that the Liberal Party when it comes to the immigration portfolio believes that it needs a mongrel in charge, so Dutton was an easy choice.
I have no doubt that what Stuart Whitman says is correct but when you look at the current Ministry it’s difficult to imagine any of them being in the “what” they want to do category.
My thought for the day
“Sometimes it is good to stop, think, evaluate and formulate one’s own opinion instead of being influenced by the media and other vested interests.”