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Our political nightmare

In the many columns I have written over the years, I have normally been careful to stay away from the three topics that have disrupted more pleasant dinner parties than all other subjects combined – sex, religion and politics!

But now as I approach my 70th year, it is time to throw caution to the wind.

Be not alarmed. I am not about to discuss the ten most popular positions in the Kama Sutra and frighten the children; nor am I going to examine the relative merits of The Bible and the Koran (or their adherents) and explain why both are wrong. I am going to do something far more dangerous – I am going to talk about the murky world of politics!

As I enjoy my 70th year, I sometimes look back on the strange political shenanigans I have observed in all that time. I was never a political animal in my youth. My Dad was a member of the AWU by default and we received a copy of The Worker each month. I am sure my Dad voted Labor all his life but I certainly cannot remember my Dad carrying a union banner and marching down Mary S in Gympie singing Solidarity Forever.

My main memory of my family’s involvement with politics and the unions was Labour Day on the Gympie Albert Park oval where all the little kids received a little paper Peters vanilla ice cream bucket with a wooden spoon from a very large green insulated bag full of dry ice. Ah, the memories of youth! They seemed simple times.

So, let us go to today! Somehow, politicians have lost the plot; some unions have lost the plot; and we are the losers. We now seem to live in a combative world of only a black and white approach to every issue and it probably started with the Whitlam years. Gough was an intellectual (but impractical) giant who tried too hard to do too much too soon!

In 1972, I voted Labor for the first (and only) time in my life. Did I vote for Gough – or I did simply vote against the other side? The other side, for those old enough to remember, was Billy McMahon! Google Billy and you will probably turn up a photo of his wife Sonia and the thigh-high split in her dress at a function in Washington – not a photo of Billy! Billy’s only claims to fame were Sonia’s thighs and his nickname Billy Big Ears.

As the Whitlam government imploded, I realised the mistake I had made and, even though in those days I was an employee not an employer, I still realised my mistake in putting economic illiterates in charge of our economy.

Fast forward to 2015!

Are we better served by our politicians or do we just have the “same old, same old” self – servers?

I personally think we are worse off today than we were 30 years ago!

Whitlam actually believed in something, ridiculous as some of his ideas turned out to be. Hawke believed in something, likewise! Keating also had a vision for our country, and John Howard – for all those who hate him – was also a visionary prime minister who led a good team.

What does the current crop of politicians believe in?

Well, “bugger all” actually, apart from keeping their well-padded backsides on ministerial leather!

As a populace, we are not well served by our politicians. And why is that, you might ask?

Much of it is our own fault. The political brain of far too many Australian voters is a vacant space! If ever there was an argument for “non-compulsory” voting, Australia is it. The average Australian is totally disconnected from the political process and the effect that it has on his life. He often just votes like his Mum and Dad voted without engaging one brain cell of his own. Or perhaps he does not register to vote at all. If you ask far too many Australian voters to explain their voting intention, they would not have a clue!

Why on Earth should this be the case?

Well, it is possibly because we no longer have any respect for either side of the political spectrum. The Labor Party is infested with loyal left wing apparatchiks who have never held a real job in their lives, and the other mob seem chock a block full of lawyers who have drifted so far to the right of Menzies, the grand old father of the Liberal Party would no longer be able to see their taillights in the distance.

The other problem is that we no longer teach our children about Civics! We no longer teach our children about our system of government. How can we expect our children and grandchildren to be educated and responsible voters when they have no understanding of the Westminster system that underpins our democracy?

There, I have now got that off my chest. I feel so much better.

It could be worse of course. We could live in a country where the political gene pool is so shallow that only two families (the Bushes and the Clintons) are deemed worthy to supply most of the presidents! I really do worry about the talents (or not) of the other 300 million Americans!

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