AH! ELECTIONS. WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT THEM?
Some weeks ago I banged on about how tiresome elections in Australia can be and how uninspiring our political leaders are especially when on the campaign trail. I guess the problem is of our own making whereby we have elections every three years, so politicians have to be constantly in election-mode. As a result, we’re constantly force-fed expedient and short-sighted policies to shore up the popularity of each political party. This is potentially catastrophic for refugees, our aborigines and climate change to name a few issues that are severely compromised by narrow, populist decision-making.
Well, our current Prime Minister (of how many weeks is it now?) - Kevin Rudd - is out there beating up a storm as he tries to reverse the fortunes of his shambolic, recast government (the Labor party) before the 7 September elections.
So there he is on the evening news everyday scooting around Australia, captured by television sitting on classroom floors entertaining bewildered schoolkids with his propensity to talk non-stop just about anything, while flashing his pearly whites apparently in delirious joy (shades of President Jimmy Carter’s fixed Cheshire Cat grin?).
For whatever reason, schools seem to be his preferred launching pad for Labor’s revised propaganda program – oops, I mean policies.
In the meantime, his opponent and leader of the opposition (and favourite to be the next Prime Minister), Tony Abbott, (the Liberal – National Party) can be seen on the news every night continuing to do what he seems to have been doing since he became Liberal leader – visiting factories; packing boxes with products at the end of production lines; wearing silly hats and fluro hi-vis vests; eating meat pies fresh out of a factory’s oven with the enthusiasm of someone eating a gourmet meal; and so on. After that follows his 15 second grab where he solemnly condemns the Government for total incompetence on all fronts and reassures us undecided voters that a vote for the Libs is our ticket to paradise.
Oh dear, is there no escaping this stuff? It’s constantly on TV, radio, in newspapers and magazines and over the Internet.
Then again, perhaps I’ve been too cynical, intolerant and closed-minded to the democratic process? Perhaps I should change my negative attitude and look for ‘the good’ in this experience?
Re-programmed accordingly, I decided to read today’s election news in ‘The Age’ newspaper today with fresh eyes and from a positive viewpoint.
Here are two articles that grabbed my attention:
1. Ex Labor Premier of the State of Queensland, Peter Beattie, who fled politics in 2007 vowing never to return, has been unexpectedly persuaded by Rudd to run as a candidate for the seat of Forde, which is narrowly held by Liberal National Party MP, Bert Van Manen by just 1.6%. When Beattie’s candidacy was announced, “Rudd looked on, proud as a burglar who had pulled off the perfect job. …… Bert Van Manen, a former banker and failed Family First candidate rose from obscurity to near anonymity in the federal parliament. But Rudd Labor, which is tagging a small bucketload of electorates in Queensland as its great hope of retaining government at the September 7 election, still was not sure it could consign Mr Van Manen to even greater obscurity. … Secret talks were opened up between Rudd, his chief tactical adviser, Bruce Hawker, and Peter Beattie.” The rest is history! Who said entertaining political journalism was dead?
2. All democracies have to put up with loony parties and would-be-if they-could-be loopy politicians from either the extreme right or extreme left of politics, or from outer space! I like this example from today’s paper. Headline: “One Nation Candidate mistakes Islam for a country. Is it halal, (foods allowed to be eaten under Islamic law), haram (something forbidden or punishable under Islamic law) or Koran? Just don’t ask Stephanie Banister, an anti-immigration candidate vying for the Brisbane seat of Rankin in the coming election. The 27-year-old “poster child” of the One Nation movement did her campaign no favours in an interview with Channel Seven on Wednesday, mistaking Islam for a country and confusing haram with Koran. “I don’t oppose Islam as a country … but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Ms Banister said in an interview in her Queensland backyard. The mother-of-two’s attack on Islam began with a claim that 2 per cent of Australians “follow haram”. … She also advocates a ban on halal food.”
I GET IT!!!
Now I’ve embraced a new attitude, I now fully understand and appreciate the comedy and the farce of politics and our politicians. Previously I was taking things too seriously. I get it!
Henceforth, whenever I see Kevin Rudd sitting on a grubby classroom floor in his Italian made-to-measure silk suit, or I see Tony Abbott, silly hat and all, nearly regurgitating a meat pie at a pie factory – instead of getting deeply offended by these pathetic attempts to raise voters’ levels of consciousness – I should open my mind to the in-your-face slapstick humour and give these guys the credit they rightfully deserve. I mean, who else would have the nerve to make such asses of themselves and remain oblivious to the fact that their behaviour offends anyone who has a brain?