POLITICS reached a new low in the 43rd Australian Parliament with the blame for an appalling standard of behaviour and a lack of engagement borne by both sides. It was always going to be difficult governing without a majority but the unseemly brawl for leadership on the ALP side coupled with Tony Abbott’s unrelenting negativity made it that much worse. Although there were some almost revolutionary achievements, including the first national disability insurance scheme and the roll-out of the NBN, hardly any of it was explained well to the community.
Can we, for example, even afford to fund DisabilityCare Australia, and are we doing the right thing spending all our money on communications technology that might be out-of-date in a few years’ time? Both the ALP and the Liberal/Nationals have also done the debate about climate change a great disservice – the ALP under its former Climate Change Minister Greg Combet dismissing the need to explain the government’s actions to the community and Tony Abbott using this important issue as simply a point-scoring exercise. Now the “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time” has been consigned to the too-hard basket by both sides of politics.
No wonder the community has completely turned off politics and in almost all cases people have already made up their minds which way they are going to vote. So, at least on that score, it’s a good thing that the election will be over in a month’s time. Sure we’d like to get a government that could manage the economy better, one that had a plan for encouraging small and big business to employ more people and one that provided the basics of education, health and welfare services. We’d like a government that encouraged people to buy Australian products and keep natural assets in Australian ownership… the list goes on. But we’d also like a government that governed for all Australians and politicians who treated the office with dignity and the voters with enough respect to explain their actions.
Yes, sure it’s better than Zimbabwe but that’s not saying much.