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.