By Michael Giles
THEY say in politics that you get the government you deserve.
So we must have done something seriously wrong to get the mob we have in Canberra at the present time.
They would have to be the most uninspiring, out-of-touch, unintelligent and self-obsessed group that we have seen in many years, prompting the question: “Where the hell do they get these people?”
On both sides, Liberal and Labor, you’d have to say something was desperately wrong with the recruitment process if Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten are the best we can do.
On the Liberal side, we’ve seen in recent times that they can’t even keep their own house in order, let alone come up with some plausible candidates to represent us. Case in point would have to be the re-appointment of Sophie Mirabella to contest the seat of Indi in north-eastern Victoria.
The Melbourne born, Toorak educated lawyer lost touch with the locals in the Wangaratta to Wodonga area prior to the 2013 poll and they, rightly, gave her the flick. So why bring her back? It’s an insult.
A captive to his own religious beliefs, Tony Abbott was unable to deal effectively with the marriage equality issue, and has rendered himself a lame duck leader as a result, without a vision and still operating as if he’s in opposition.
The Labor selection process, which threw up Bill Shorten as its leader, is no better.
The former Xavier College and Melbourne University educated lawyer is no more a genuine representative of working class Australians than Dyson Heydon.
So what can be done?
Short term, when the Liberal Party MPs return to Canberra next week, they should have the guts to do what they all want to do anyway and throw Tony Abbott out in favour of Malcolm Turnbull.
At least they’d have a vision to take to the next election.
The ALP should do likewise and vote in a person who genuinely represents working Australians.
Long term, we need to reform the candidate selection process and eligibility criteria so that people who are better connected with the community, and better qualified, are encouraged to stand.
We’re almost certainly into the final year of the 44th Australian Parliament, with an election to be called sometime between Saturday, August 6, 2016 and Saturday, January 14, 2017; let’s hope they are able to ignore the news cycle for a moment and make the best of a bad lot by focusing on the things that really matter in the next 12 months.