Thursday 14 June 2018
It’s strange how we humans judge each other. We seem to attach ourselves to others or teams of others all with varying qualifications, distinctions and virtue.
We lock ourselves into groups for various reasons be it sporting teams, spiritual leaning or political parties.
“No man is an island” did I hear you say?
Is it just plain bias, the need to be on the winning side, or many others?
Take for example, politics. People seem to adhere themselves to two major parties with an increasingly large proportion of misfits in the middle.
When Tony Abbott became Leader of the Opposition in 2009 he became an exception to the rule of how Opposition Leaders behave. The media called him the best opposition leader the country had ever seen.
How did he achieve it? Well, every day he called the Prime Minister Julia Gillard a liar. He visited, almost daily, any manner of industrial plants and told with gross exaggeration so many lies, with so much force of personality that he became known as Dr NO.
Conversely, Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister after espousing a personality that charmed people. With voice of velvet fog he spoke of purpose, manners in debate, sensibility and innovation. He believed in science, a republic, equality in marriage and a solution to climate change.
Abbott tried to bring the same negativity to his tenure as Prime Minister and was an agonizing failure. Turnbull proved to be, after ditching a persona of “Manor of the House” to become the greatest hypocrite of a politician the country has seen.
In view of my opening remarks this of course brings me to the question of why people are attracted to an allegiance of one but not others.
Bill Shorten of course lags behind Turnbull, despite the opinion I have just given about Turnbull, which I regard as factual and fair. Shorten is probably the most unpopular Leader of the Opposition ever.
“Why is it so?” asked the professor. His crimes of personality trait are on a par with Abbott and Turnbull. He has been involved in the dismissal two Prime Ministers. He has given evidence before a Royal Commission over corruption deals and found not guilty on all counts. He is accused of giving AWU Union money to GetUp! without permission and of other Union matters pertaining to wages.
On this basis he is more unpopular than a Prime Minister who conned the people into believing he was somebody he wasn’t. In Shorten’s favor is the fact that he has never tried to be anything other than what he is: a well-educated Union Man.
I admit to having reservations about him for a long period of time but on Monday night’s Q&A I saw a more mature Bill Shorten. One who with the passing of time has become acquainted with the reality that it is really possible that he will become Prime Minister at the next election.
His performance was one of a highly skilled media performer who was on top of all the subjects, having it all down pat, as if he were talking to each questioner, personally. Prime ministerial if you like.
This must be the “Town Hall” Bill they speak of, casual and relaxed. Seriously fair dinkum handling tough questions like Turnbull promised but has never delivered.
Those at home would have seen not the leader they had formed an opinion about but one who in a Town Hall format was gracious in manner and succinct with answers. He listened to and answered questions like this with aplomb:
“Your unique use of zing, dad jokes and eccentric metaphors,” the questioner said, “despite opinion polls suggesting you’re likely to win the next election the same polls indicate you’re one of the most unpopular politicians in our country. “Do you worry that these zingers and the Coalition’s ‘Kill Bill’ strategy represent you as an untrustworthy and shifty character, and undermining your suitability as a potential PM?”
“They say to be PM of Australia you’ve got to have a thick skin. The Opposition Leader’s job is good training for it,” he added.
“I tell you what the polls tell me if you want to obsess about them: any Saturday for the last two years we would have won the election. Of course obviously there hasn’t been an election held. So I take them all with a grain of salt.”
Speaking to a captive audience of roughly evenly divided people who had firm opinions about him when they walked in I wondered how many might have changed their view after hearing him talk about basic wages, unemployment, apprenticeships, housing affordability, negative gearing, aged care, and power bills, and using economic fairness to make his points. Then he turned on the Turnbull Government’s association with big business and the big banks.
“This is more fair dinkum to me than half the rubbish we carry on with in Parliament,” he uttered as the curtain fell on a very revealing Q&A.
My thought for the day
“It is obvious that Question Time in the Australian Parliament is just an excuse for mediocre minds who are unable to debate with intellect, charm or wit, to act deplorably toward each other. And in doing so debase the parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals. Question time should be the showcase of the parliament and badly needs an independent speaker.”