Monday, September 30, 2013

Political Reform - ALP Style

When you ask people about Politicians, what is the most common response you get?

"They are just as bad as each other!"
"They all suck!"
"I wouldn't trust any of them as far as I could throw them!"

You know you're the only one for me Senator!
You get the idea.

Aside from lawyers, many of whom end up going in to politics anyway, politicians are universally not trusted, disliked or looked at with contempt.

But why?

I think there are a couple of reasons.

Governments can't ring and ask your opinion on every decision they make, so someone is chosen to represent you - the member in your electorate. But you have to remember that, in general, half the people in your electorate didn't want the person representing you to be the person representing you. Not a fantastic beginning you have to admit.

So, a politician is someone who is making a decision on your behalf, whether you voted for them or not.

"Vote Quimby!"
Now consider this, as an adult, you get to have some pretty nifty responsibilities. You can choose lots of things, like what job to get, where to live, who to go out with or whether you will have pizza for breakfast. You are in charge. No more doing what you are told at home, it's freedom baby yeah!

Adulthood - very groovy baby!
Except, wait...what's this? Someone is still telling me what to do? I've made it all the way to being an adult and someone still wants to control me?

Yes, it's the government. Sheesh!

But wait...politicians can also, on occasion, give you the impression that they are putting their own interests ahead of those of their constituents. Be it 'allegedly' rorting their entitlements, paying back those 'allegedly' rorted entitlements once caught out, or simply through being entitled to entitlements in the first place.

Superannuation anyone?????

The Minister's strongly held views on the NBN were very important to him
So the perception of the average politician is something along the lines of, they are rich, self-serving scumbags who I didn't vote for anyway who keep telling me what to do.

What I've just detailed is why we don't trust politicians in general, but what of the specifics?

Here in Victoria we have a state government finely balanced with a one seat majority in the lower house, much like how the Gillard Government was positioned at a Federal level from 2010-13.

There is also a 'rogue' independent effectively holding the balance of power.

Now we're all familiar with the positions held by the then Government and the then Opposition at the federal level with respect to the "legitimacy" of the Government which was being propped up by the "tainted" vote of an independent with legal issues besmirching their name and causing angst for all involved. It was ugly stuff and quite frankly was a little embarrassing.

The exact same views are being repeated by Victorian politicians now, but the sides are reversed.
The ALP is the one pursuing the Liberal Party and the Libs are strongly denying they are doing anything wrong and that the matter should run its course.

Both Parties tricked the other by playing their trump card!
The problem with this predicament is that is goes towards the public's willingness to trust their politicians.

If one thing is good for you one day, then the opposite is true the next day, your moral high-ground is seriously compromised, making you "just as bad as each other".

So why am I saying all this?

State Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews (ALP) seems to be going pretty hard on the reasons why the State Government "wasn't elected" and isn't the government the people of Victoria voted in.

Sound familiar?

It should, because it is the same bullshit argument that Tony Abbott hammered on about for three solid years at the Federal Level.

Abbott tried desperately to get the Gillard Government to fall, he really did. But in the end he realised that by simply waiting things out, the Government would hang itself and he could glide into power across the corpses of his enemies. Smart work - why walk up the escalator when it moves you there on its own.

Mr Abbott helped Ms Bishop into the caucus room despite internal objections
The Victorian State Election is at the end of November next year.
What the hell is the bloody rush to get into Government?

I know it's probably no fun being in opposition and as someone once said, you having nothing to do but make a noise. But how about making some noise that wins you some respect?

Take a stance on this issue and show the people who will vote in just over a year that you're not in to cheap political point scoring, you're not so desperate to gain power that you will do and say anything, even if it completely contradicts the position held by your federal colleagues, because you are better than that.

The electorate are crying out for a better polity.

I volunteered to hand out 'how to vote' cards at the Federal Election and noticed an air of disinterest: "They are just as bad as each other!", "They all suck!", "I wouldn't trust any of them as far as I could throw them!".

It wasn't directed at one party, it was directed at ALL parties.
The primary votes for the major parties at the 2013 election were lower than in previous elections. People don't like politicians!

So here is my suggestion to the state ALP.

Stop sookin' about the hung parliament. Be better than that. Wait your turn and reap the benefits of not being so hungry for power that you will compromise your integrity and moral legitimacy.

If you want people to like you in politics, there are some simple rules:

1. Have good policies that help people
2. Point out the shit policies of the other team
3. Be consistent beyond political point scoring
4. Don't fight with each other (thought I'd better throw that one in)

I'm no politician, perhaps I'm being naive, but you know what, I'm not the one with the public image problem.

But make sure what you are being consistent about isn't stupid


  1. I agree with everything you have said except the bit about WL being my favourite online quadraped (which is actually Grumpy Cat). You're my second favourite.

    Also, there seems to be only two political party that creates policies that help the people. Other political parties are only interested in creating policies that help themselves and their friends. If we can overcome that little chestnut, we might have a solution in hand.

    1. Partial credit, Grumpy Cat is an allowable exception ;)