They say a week is a long time in politics. Three weeks however, suddenly seems like a century. Yes, I know we had to wait for them to finish counting the votes – but the three independent MPs who are to decide the fate of Australia were perfectly able to complete all the discussions they needed while the counting was being done. So what’s the hold up? I know I’m not alone when I wonder whether all the attention these guys are getting is slowing them down a little. Bob Katter has become a national celebrity overnight. Usually, you have to make a sex tape to get this kind of attention!
Immediately after the election, when we all realised how close it was, Bob Katter, Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsow all got together and jotted down their wish lists – all the things they wanted in order to give their support to either Labor or the Coalition. In essence, they were quantifying their political price. It sounds a little cynical, but that’s what they all do – that’s how the system works. Or doesn’t, as the case may be.
With these wish-lists in hand, both parties have accused the other of making outrageous promises just to get into power. And just today – perhaps showing the strain of the long wait – Liberal MP, Warren Entsch claimed that Ms Gillard “would go feral” if she got back into power! Such is the class of our duly elected pollies.
It’s certainly been something of a floorshow, with accusations flying in every direction, with no clear winner either way. I suspect that no matter the decision of the independents, we will end up going back to the polls within a few months. Let’s face it, if the decision has been this hard for them to make, what happens when the new government does something they don’t like? Will it all fall apart?
One of the most interesting features on this otherwise desert landscape was the results of two polls released on Friday, that two-thirds of the Australian people want Labor to form a minority government with the independents. That’s great news, really – but honestly if two-thirds of the country wanted Labor in power, why the hell didn’t they vote for them in the first place?
So, in order to bring some sanity back into the discussion, I have decided it’s time to put together my own wish list. I’ve read about some of the parliamentary reforms already agreed to by Labor and I like them. The following are the items I would count as my price for choosing the next government:
- MPs would all sign an agreement to bring about an end to political spin. From now on, when asked a question, they’ll actually answer it instead of repeating the same old tired phrases they’ve been told to say.
- MPs would also agree to not lie about each other. For example, claiming that the PM will “go feral”…
- Ditto for the opposition’s policies. Truth is what wins votes, people, not deliberate misrepresentation.
- An end to political posturing on specific issues. If a party comes up with a good solution to a problem, everybody should work together to make it happen, not use it as a political pawn to beat the others over the head with (if I may mix my metaphors so).
- And finally, if the country elects a hung parliament, then that is what we are governed by. The respective leaders can take turns in being PM – but if either wishes to get something through, they have to garner the support of the opposing party – which means following all of the above.
I know I live in a strange dream world where all this might happen, but it’s a world I love so don’t kick me awake.
My prediction: Labor will form the minority government and for the next couple of months, they’ll be all smiles, going on about how good they are all to work together. Then, something will happen – a by-election or something, and it will all fall apart. We’ll be back at the polls within 6 months. Everybody will vote opposite to what they did last time (well, except me and Sharon – but that doesn’t matter because we cancel each other out) and we’ll end up back where we started from.
There’s a saying: the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions always expecting a different outcome. Until politicians in this country learn from their mistakes, they’re not going to get a different result. We’re tired – not just of this drawn out process. but of all the gas-bagging. Time for some action, guys. Just get on with it.
What would you put on your wish list?