Australian Politics: An “Un”popularity Contest…

In my last post I aimed to pinpoint the source of our repeating disappointment in our elected officials and decided people had a tendency to not really know who they are voting for. Continuing in this theme I am now going to endeavour to understand today’s leadership spill in the Liberal Party and why this annoying phenomena is so damned popular with the public and those in government.

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In my last post I aimed to pinpoint the source of our repeating disappointment in our elected officials and decided people had a tendency to not really know who they are voting for. Continuing in this theme I am now going to endeavour to understand today’s leadership spill in the Liberal Party and why this annoying phenomena is so damned popular with the public and those in government.

It seems that the current climate in Australian federal politics is running on a new system of leadership spills every time polls take a nasty dip. Although it has been known in the last century to happen once every few decades, this every 18 months business is starting to get tiresome. John Howard was elected Prime Minister of Australia when I was in grade 2, age 8, and there he stayed until I was 19 years old. By todays standards that achievement truly boggles the mind. John Howard’s tenure as PM was not free of leadership chatter however, and differing from today’s spectacle he even had a ready and willing challenger waiting for his time to shine from the side lines. In my years of early adulthood leadership spills are becoming commonplace and it seems they are not going away any time soon either.

Diagnosis: Crisis of Authority.

Someone recently described the 2013 federal election to me as a loss for Labor rather than a win for the Coalition (thanks James). Instead of partaking in intelligent debate and making difficult decisions prior to an election, so voters can make an informed decision, we are faced with the captivating passionate declaration of “I am not (insert unpopular opponent) so vote for me!”. Thanks to this system we now have “democratically” elected officials doing things we abhor in our names and with our tax dollars.

The Australian polity are crying out for a responsive, sane and smart leader. Is it possible those adjectives just listed are oxymora to the title “politician”? This could suggest that our entire system of democracy is just not working. Without authority, our leaders cannot inspire respect. Respect that is integral to any civil society and the success of its democracy.

The solution to the Governments unpopularity does not lie in a shifting of leaders. It lies in the big juicy truth pudding that is their policies. Let’s aim for the next election win (whoever it may be) to be about policy and philosophy. Regardless of its leader a political party must have a mission and let that mission be something that Australian’s want. Well, at least more than half of them.

Whatever these poor, lonely backbenchers may think of Tony and his leadership their disunity and disloyalty is making for a bigger crisis for the Liberal party….. not that I mind though.

The Rise and Fall of Tony Abbott

My take on why the majority of Australians are unhappy with our government when a majority of us voted for them.

The recent brewing leadership spill of the LNP coalition seems to be a bright shiny golden arrow pointing to the number one problem in Australian politics.

Australian voters just don’t pay enough attention.

If you put a 1 next to your local LNP member on your green card in the 2013 federal election you should have known Tony Abbott thought human caused climate change was total “crap”. You should have understood that “Stop the Boats” meant you were voting for a system that rejects those most desperate for our help and sends them paddling into a realm of uncertainty (especially on our behalf) where safety is not only doubtful but completely disregarded as a priority. You should not have been shocked by the austerity of the Federal budget since it was what was promised from the get-go. You should not have been shocked by the cuts to ABC, SBS, Education and health since it was outlined in parliament regardless of any promises made on election eve. You should have known that policies like the Paid Parental Leave favoured the wealthy over the poor and never once was it implied that a father might choose to take six months off work rather than a mother.

So why, when such a huge majority of Australian voters did want an LNP government, are we up in arms about our current leader? To be fair, Abbott and Hockey are delivering on their ultimate sanction: returning to surplus through austerity measures. Perhaps it is that voters just hadn’t thought this far ahead, or thought hard enough about consequences of these solutions. Do they not understand how economics and austerity work? (the obsession with surplus might suggest not).

It seems to me, that the Abbott led Libs and Nats were able to make their resounding whopping of Labor Party butts through a masterful use of slogans, emotive rhetoric and media made effective by a disregard for solid truth by we, the voters. Politicians have come to realise that in our fast-paced, face-value loving 21st century society, appearances matter more than reality.

Politics is just another form of competition and survival of the fittest. Through apathy of your average Australian voter, politicians have been able to make the competition easier for them and less beneficial to us. The unbalance made worse by the 60% of voters that are rusted to one party or another with unflinching devotion.

Is all this to be healed by a change in leader? No. Because this is how a modern democracy works, it is the same horse with a different jockey (or “captain” in Tony’s terms). Not long after the election of 2013 Malcolm Turnbull was asked on live TV why the government was choosing to go ahead with his lacklustre NBN policy when there are clearly better options available to us through modern technology. His response was that this was the policy taken to election, it has been voted on, the people of Australia have spoken. According to politicians this is how decisions must be made because it makes life a hell of a lot easier for them. After all, they are the professionals whilst we are the amateurs.

So if you are someone who voted Liberal in 2013 and have found yourself scratching your head or feeling disappointed in our PM then next time make your vote count. Do your research, question your own philosophy and above all else critique, critique, CRITIQUE because the truth is, they need us to survive.