Thursday, November 8, 2012

talk is cheap*

2 point 6 billion.
Well, that’s what the ubiquitous ‘they’ say the US election cost the parties, what with ads and wotnot.

Some local pundit has suggested that the next Australian election will be fought on personality lines, presidential style. This is not a totally new idea – there is always a percentage of voters who make their decision based on party leaders’ personalities [despite Costello’s assertion that we are all about policy and party philosophy].

From what I have seen at polling booths, personality-voting crosses all boundaries of language, culture, and educational background. It would be unfair to expect all recent immigrants be intimately acquainted with how our political system works, party philosophies etc, when many 3rd or 4th generation Aussies have no idea.

To my credit, I do know the name of the state member for Frankston. This may or may not be due to his scandalous abuse of his parliamentary vehicle to make deliveries for his private business.
Today we received flyers with pretty pictures on them and the headline “Delivering more Police to Frankston”. Presumably the irony would be lost on him. But I digress.

In any case, as it is a cardinal sin for MPs or Senators to cross the floor on any issue, personality voting doesn’t seem all too silly.

Opinion polls tell us at regular intervals who is the preferred prime minister – A or B. We are now even getting A, B, C or D poll results: Julia/Kevin, Tony/Malcolm.

I find it inordinately frustrating that the pre-selection process is so closed in Australia. Yes, I could sign up to a political party, but this is evidence of where Costello is wrong: How can one support a party based on its philosophy and/or policies when they so rarely seem to stand for anything at all? When, truth be told, they so often stand only to make negative comments about other pollies’ personalities, and then sit down again.

A good buddy is a Labor die-hard. She goes along to meetings, conferences and all that, then reports to me how meetings are stacked, pre-selections rigged and more. I have flashbacks to stacked and manipulated meetings during the days of compulsory union membership, and beg her to stop.

My dream – pipe dream that it is – is that we could have a Presidential system. It is irrelevant to me whether we retain allegiance to the monarchy or not.

Martin Luther King Jr had a dream, but it was one that tapped into a rising tide of public opinion. He was not a leader in the sense that he created the dream from scratch, but a leader in that he was able to help people identify ways to achieve that shared dream.

An argument often used to counter the Presidential idea is that the US Presidential race is so expensive it effectively disenfranchises poorer would-be Presidents. Has no one noticed that we have had a succession of extremely wealthy Prime Ministers, for decades?

A real leader, theoretically, is able to elicit financial help from people who support his/her vision, and feel that the leader can be trusted to deliver on it.

The Sunday Age reports “it is estimated the Liberal Party will spend up to $35 million in the push to install Mr Abbott into The Lodge”.
“The ACTU put in place a compulsory $2 a member levy on its 1.8 million union members in September.”
Labor staffers have been asked to contribute “as little as $10 a fortnight” to a fighting fund.

In an extraordinary quote at the bottom of this article, new Greens leader Christine Milne has openly called for donations for an “anti-Labor fighting fund”.
There must be something I’ve missed. Tony wants to repeal the carbon tax, and thinks [heaven knows how] that Labor is soft on asylum seekers. The Greens’ support is the very thing that keeps Julia in The Lodge.

Oh, wait a minute. None of this is about policies. I keep forgetting myself.

Will we be going to the polls in March next year, before the budget blowout is announced? Will we miss out on Joe Hockey’s performance of the “I told you so” tango?
Thank goodness St Patrick’s day is on a Sunday – for there will surely be many sorrows to drown.

*this has been unpaid waffle posted on a free blogging network


  1. You SHOULD be in politics FC, I'd vote for you for sure!! Seriously, it really is getting harder and harder all the time to take politicians seriously, to believe that they really do have the average person's interests at heart. It really shocked me just how much was spent on the US elections, but as you say it's not peanuts here either! Off with their heads haha!!

    1. Grace, you're very kind to tolerate my constant whining about politics. I would be very happy to participate in a benevolent dictatorship!

      Off with their heads indeed! Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is the most sensible political primer I've ever read!