John F Kennedy once said:
“Voters chose us because they have confidence in our discernment,
when we are in a position that allows us to determine what best serves
their interests as a part of national interests. This means that we –
according to the situation – we have to lead, instruct and correct the
opinions of voters and sometimes not even consider them, exercising the
discernment we were elected for”.
For me to be comfortable with that, which I would love to be, I would
need to have confidence that our elected representatives were people of
integrity. I would need to feel that they had sufficient intelligence
to grasp the issues, that they would listen to expert opinion, that they
were honest when speaking to their constituents, and that they had
enough courage to protect us from those who would seek to exploit us.
When a politician is elected they are given temporary custodianship
of our common wealth. It is a huge responsibility. They will be making
decisions about how best to invest the money we entrust to them and how
best to grow the country’s assets and raise living standards for all.
Instead of attracting people of integrity, politics in this country,
and many others, has become the haven of career politicians whose goal
is to secure a comfortable lifestyle for themselves now and into the
We elect people to lead, but many have just become followers. They
follow a party line, a lobbyist or an ideology. In so doing they are
abrogating their responsibility and failing in the job they were elected
to do. Every utterance, every decision, is made with the view to being
re-elected. Far from being leaders, our politicians follow polls and
focus groups searching for what will make them popular.
What other job can you get with a starting salary package of hundreds
of thousands of dollars with no qualifications, no experience, no
essential criteria, no application other than saying you are eligible
(and you don’t even have to prove that), no interview other than by the
media, and no ongoing performance assessment other than an election in
three years’ time whose outcome has been decided by Rupert Murdoch?
The required paperwork to apply for welfare, to open a bank account,
or to get a driver’s licence is much tougher than to run for Parliament.
It has been said that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Our method
of paying huge wages and entitlements has attracted gorillas – those
who have, from a young age, worked out how to milk the most they can
from their mediocrity.
Look at Tim Wilson – appointed by George Brandis after an enjoyable
evening spent together at an IPA bash where Tony Abbott lauded Rupert
Murdoch as one of the finest Australians in history. Lo and behold, as
soon as George gets the power he kicks out our Commissioner for the
Disabled and employs Tim at a salary package approaching $400,000 – no
application, no interview.
Previously Tim had been for seven years policy director of the
Institute of Public Affairs during which time he vociferously called for
the abolition of the Human Rights Council.
One can only imagine the phone call.
“The HRC…that hotbed of leftie tree huggers? No way! They should
all be sacked to save we taxpayers….huh…what’s that you say? Are you
sure you can get me a gig? How much does it pay? Ok…I am sure I can
whip them into line. You do your bit by undermining Gillian Triggs in
every way you can and I am sure I will be able to take over when you
force her to resign. I was a real force in the Young Liberals….I can
make this thing work. Ummm…I don’t want to appear pushy but what
entitlements do I get and I’ll need school holidays off”.
On appointment to the HRC, Wilson resigned from membership of the
Liberal Party. Look, no more conflict of interest … now what are we
working on again, George?
He has been arguing for Section 18C of the 1975 Racial Discrimination
Act to be revoked, calling the prosecution of broadcaster Andrew Bolt
(who, I might add, was the MC for the IPA bash) for vilification of
indigenous Australians an infringement on Bolt’s right to freedom of
speech. After finding himself with nothing to do after the government
responded to the public outcry to dump the changes, Tim briefly
resurrected himself after the shootings in Paris. He seems to have
faded away again no doubt enjoying his backdated pay rise over the
When the Prime Minister sets the example by keeping his colleagues
waiting for an hour while he gets his photo taken so he can claim
entitlements for attending a private function, and has the gall to admit
to it like there is no problem with that, one can see the total disdain
he has for propriety and that Tony is very much in it for the money.
Let’s face it, his career before entering politics was hardly stellar
and it is rather hard to imagine what he could be successful at other
than being Howard’s attack dog.
The blatant cronyism, the rewarding of donors, the hiring of climate
sceptics to advise about everything, the dogged determination to unwind
all reforms introduced by the previous government, the exploiting of
entitlements, the silencing of advocacy groups whilst allowing paid
access to ministers by lobby groups and rich individuals, the backing
away from tax reform measures (FBT on novated leases, taxing super
payouts over $100,000pa, tightening corporate tax evasion profit sharing
loopholes, mining tax, carbon pricing), selling off our assets,
unfettered mining with no regard for the environment – all of these
things are proof of how the Abbott government considers our common
wealth theirs to do with as they will.