Sunday 14 January 2018
With the likelihood of an election this year it’s time for the Australian people to seriously decide what it is they want in the way of governance. Do they want a continuation of the sort of politics as expressed by both Abbott and Turnbull or another three years, or do they want to give the other mob a go? Do they want the participation of others on the right or left who have no chance of governing to unduly influence government?
When you look at the current makeup of the government – as I did when putting together my poll for the worst politician for 2017 – it became vividly clear to me just how many people of ill repute fill the government benches.
The fact is I was rather astonished when I “collectively” placed them all together just how many moronic individuals there were in the Coalition. Most of them have degrees from some of the best learning institutes in the world yet their record in governance is one of corruption, narcissism, lying, chaos, self-importance and bad judgement. They have been, and still are, a despicable bunch of cronies who have delivered nothing in terms of social reform. Until that fact hits you on the head your vote is worth zilch unless you take that into account.
And if you do it’s hard not to see a group of people who have no idea how to govern for the country as a whole, who are purely in politics for what they are able to extract from being an MP for themselves, being able to win the next election.
What a disaster it would be, if for whatever reason they were given the reins for another three years.
When a party is in such disarray the need to stay in “power” becomes the overarching imperative. This gives rise to the likes of Dutton to take any short cut to maintain his and the government’s grip on power. The Coalition’s only policy has been the demonising of those who are not white, Anglo-Saxon, and Christian.
So Dutton and others see no reason to deliver good government so close to an election. They see the rhetoric of blame as a “winning formula”.
Dutton’s attacks on the judiciary are not some recently found can to kick, they are long-held views. Most likely formed when he was a policeman in Queensland. This has also become a Coalition mantra when Trudge, Hunt and Sukkar were on the brink of being held in contempt of court some time back, an apology saved them.
If the Victorian judiciary were to hold Dutton in contempt, and his defence was an apology, that apology should be taken with a grain of salt. His views on “Light Sentences” and “Libertarian Judges” are provable long-held views. Just look at his maiden speech in 2002.
Throw the book at him, lock him up and lose the key.
Here is an extract from his maiden speech that addresses his “concerns”:
“Perhaps the most significant challenge our society faces today is the way in which we deal with the issue of national security, and indeed our continued and ongoing response to the terrorist and criminal attacks generally. The fact is that we live in a complex world.
The terrorist attacks and the attacks on our day-today lives by criminals who have complete disregard for common decency must be dealt with in a measured way. At this point in time it is stating the obvious that in my opinion the courts are not representing the views in the large of the broader community.
Time after time we see grossly inadequate sentences being delivered to criminals whose civil rights have far exceeded those of the victim and others in our society. This imbalance must be addressed, and for the sake of living standards and reasonable expectations for all Australians must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
Dutton wears the traits of an authoritarian like a new suit. He seems to thrive on making explicit displays of power. His public speaking record reveals his naked contempt for due process, opposing views, and especially for non-Caucasian Australians. I believe he has been appointed way, way above his ability and is masking his weakness with bravado founded on racism, insult and rabble rousing.
People are once again questioning Shorten’s merit as opposition leader. However, it has to be said that he surprised everyone with a better campaign than Turnbull’s in the 2016 election He came within a whisker of winning.
So much so that he gained much prestige and respect from the people and the media. As it turned out he was the policy wonker I thought he was.
The areas of education, health and social welfare were big winners for Labor and if he is to continue as Labor leader he must promote an activist image on all these policies together with the NBN and climate change.
Having said that, it is fair for people to question his credentials. Many would agree that in terms of charisma he doesn’t have a lot going for him. He is drearily stoic on television, a wooden personality at best. He is at his best when angered by criticism of undeniable Labor ideology. He is Labor through and through whereas Turnbull is supposedly a leftish Prime Minister leading an ultra-right party.
And why would Labor want to change when it looks certain the incumbent is likely to lose the next election or possibly not be Coalition leader anyway. Having said that, if Labor think they can ride into power on the back of a white horse with golden mane is to ignore the lessons of Brexit, Hanson and Trump where the punters expressed in no uncertain way their dislike of conventional institutionalised politics. To do so is to invite a tidal wave of disaffected voters voting for minor extreme right parties and independents.
On all the policies that count Labor has the better credentials. Education, tax, health, climate change, and even the economy which is traditionally the Coalition’s stronghold.
He also has the advantage of leading a united party who have learnt the lessons of revolving door politics. At the moment Bill Shorten – despite all his shortcomings – is a better prospect to lead Australia.
Labor however does suffer from an emptiness of explanation that requires attention. What does Labor now stand for in the new political world where traditional politics has been given the thumbs down?
Shorten must convince the lost voters who have left our democracy to return. He has to turn Labor ideology on its head, shake it and re-examine it. Then reintroduce it as an enlightened ideology-opposite to the Tea Party politics that conservatism has descended into.
Somehow the lost voters must be given a reason to return. A reason that is valid and worthwhile. A reason that serves the collective and engages people in the process, and a politic for the social good of all – one that rewards personal initiative but at the same time recognises the basic human right of equality of opportunity.
Shorten needs to promote a robust but decent political system that is honest, decent, and transparent, and where respect is the order of the day. A political system where ideas of foresight surpass ideological politics, greed, disrespect, and truth. Where respect, civility and trust are part of vigorous debate and not just uninvited words in the process.
With the government currently unable to do anything right, internal rumblings, and threats of crossing the floor or forming another party I don’t see that Labor needs to replace its leader. It just needs to sit tight and allow the Government to dig its own grave.
My thought for the day
”The right to vote is the gift our democracy gives. If political parties (and media barons, for that matter) choose by their actions to destroy the people’s faith in democracy’s principles and conventions then they are in fact destroying the very thing that enables them to exist”.