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If our politicians aren’t embarrassed they should be

If our politicians aren’t embarrassed they should be.

They are doing such a woeful job that the Australian public has said pullover, I’m taking the wheel.

The Reform summit overwhelmingly agreed that our politicians are trapped in legislative lethargy, consumed by poll driven populism, too afraid to do what must be done, too absorbed by political posturing.

The summit brought together business groups, unions, welfare groups, educators, economists, think tanks, NGOs, journalists, ex-public servants and more. Many different opinions were expressed but nearly always backed up by reasons and suggestions.

It was the absolute antithesis of parliament. People of diametrically opposed views were able to state their case and respond to points others had raised. There was no sense of doom and gloom, just a myriad of different ideas about how we can address the problems we face now and into the future.

A few contributors were very obviously pushing their own barrows but the vast majority made a commitment to not do that. They weren’t there for self-interest for their particular group but to listen and find compromises – to learn from each other the different aspects of both problems and suggested solutions.

Some described it as just another talkfest but it was more than that. It was encouraging, thought-provoking – there was a real sense of purpose and a feeling of let’s get this done. It was a slap in the face for our politicians who were sidelined. Let us work out the game plan and then we’ll tell you how to play it.

And it isn’t just meetings of the community leaders that are taking over.

Look at the success of small community and Indigenous groups in Queensland in saving us from the economic and environmental disaster threatened by mining in the Galilee Basin. The judiciary was forced to remind the government of the separation of power.

Operation Fortitude, where Melbourne was to be invaded by black-uniformed paramilitaries stopping people they came across to ask to see their identity papers, was announced and cancelled quicker than you could blink thanks to social media.

Abbott axed the Climate Commission and within weeks they had over $1 million donated by the public to continue their important work renamed the Climate Council.

Sadly, women speaking out against giving themselves rolled gold paid parental leave were so successful they had their current conditions taken away.

Gillian Triggs and Julian Burnside and others, including the Pope, are fighting tooth and nail for human rights for asylum seekers. This is one community fight that has so far been unsuccessful.

There is so much to do. We have the ideas and the people and the resources to do it. We just have to get these learners out of the driver’s seat.




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  1. Bronte ALLAN

    The tragic reality of Australian politicians today is, no matter what Party they represent, they are (almost) all incompetent for the job of running the Government of this Country! There are a few exceptions, Nick Xenophon is one, but the vast majority could not run a successful chook raffle! They have shown by their deeds, words & actions that they are a bunch of lying, rule bending, very hard-line in their opinions & views, & do not, at all, seem to be able to actually serve in the parliament for the benefit of their constituents whatsoever! What this Country is crying out for is someone, or some party, to represent ALL Australians fairly, not tell lies, not rort any perks they currently get, look out for “our” interests with any problems etc overseas, act like they really enjoy representing the people of Australia, & LEAD this Country forward with confidence, jobs for all ( or as many as can be!), forget ANY “Free Trade Agreements/Partnerships etc” with other countries that do not keep us living in the conditions we currently do, in other words, NO “overseas workers” allowed here, NO “deals” that flood our country with shoddy, unhealthy etc goods /foodstuffs, no more “selling off” of our industries, No more allowing foreigners to purchase land & properties here, really do “something” about the reality of Climate Change, the list could go on!

  2. Kaye Lee

    Nick Xenophon was part of the push against wind farms which really disappointed me.

  3. Terry2

    This morning Abbott was lauding the success of Noel Pearson’s Direct Leaning system at the Bamaga State Primary School , Cape York.

    This learning system has received massive funding and is being eternally trialled at Aurukun, Hopevale and Coen schools on Cape York BUT not at Bamaga.

    Who briefs this man.

  4. eli nes

    Politically men can be one because of a natural misogyny. they treat – Aborigines, women, asylum seekers, unionists, workers and pommie immigrants as one when they are many. In Ceduna they are treating the unemployed as one in a human experiment designed by a taxless elitist who should have his welfare funds stopped pending an ATO investigation..

  5. RosemaryJ36

    Maybe we need to take another look at the Swiss model.

  6. Michael Taylor

    So true, Rosemary. Actually, it is something I’ve been intending to write about for some time now.

  7. jim

    Oh well just let Abbott Win then

  8. jim

    Politicians there all the same right! thats what this is saying.

  9. Kate M

    Excellent article. We need an overhaul of our outdated system. We – like many other democracies – use a democratic model that was designed centuries ago.

    Where every other part of our society has moved forward, our parliamentary model has stood still – back in a time when horse was still the main form of transport and communication was by word of mouth or scroll, and when life moved at a much slower pace.

    It’s time to change. Imagine what we could do if we did!!

  10. Wally

    Kate M

    Is the problem an out-dated system or the way the system has evolved?

    Our system of government was never intended to be populated by professional politicians who have made a career of screwing the tax payer to bolster their own finances and agenda. There was a philosophy that by paying high salaries to politicians and judges you put them above temptation to take bribes or to partake in questionable dealings. Unfortunately high salaries and lavish perks has attracted people who have little interest in performing their duties in the best interests of the majority.

    I think the problem has more to do with the people in parliament than the system itself, if we changed the system there would still be Tony Abbotts and Joe Hockeys rorting the system.

  11. Kaye Lee

    I would highly recommend reading this excellent article by Mike Seccombe. It is an outstanding piece that touches on so many different issues. Very informative.

    Chaney was a moderate Liberal and a frontbencher for most of his career. He doesn’t think he would last in today’s party.

    Judi Moylan, another 20-year veteran of the Liberal Party, from 1993 to 2013, is quite sure she would not.

    “Actually, I was surprised I lasted so long,” she says. “It was far more liberal when I came in, but as time went by it came to be more and more dominated by right-wingers. It hadn’t moved to where it is now, where it is starting to look like the American Tea Party. I think, unfortunately, the party will pay dearly for its extreme views in many quarters at the next election.”

  12. Mercurial

    The problem with views like yours, Bronte, is that they only favour a political presence that is essentially untested by power in parliament.

    As soon as Xenophon gets enough votes to actually be a power force, watch him settle into that same miasma of talking points and focus group slogans.

    I don’t think it’s the individuals, but as soon as any group gets a sniff of power in Canberra, they are subsumed by the idiotic media cycle that forces them to dumb everything down. It’s something about politics in Australia.

    Xenophon only looks attractive because he doesn’t have that to deal with yet.

    How about we consider a party that has to deal with those forces on a daily basis, and therefore we know how they handle them? The ALP, and to a lesser extent, the Greens (only because the Greens are slightly less exposed to the above idiotic requirements). You’re clutching at straws to thin people like Xenophon will really make any difference.

    And having just read Jim’s comment, I agree. What are we going to do, just let Abbott win again?

  13. Mercurial

    Terry2, it’s not his briefing, the man is a liar.

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