Our political system is in an extreme state of disrepair.
There is no doubt that many of our politicians are not only self-serving and self-indulgent but corrupt as well. The collective of those elected to office is replete with individuals who have little or no regard for the average citizen and apparently also have little or no conscience. They show no shame when caught out in lavishly indulging themselves on taxpayer funds or when caught failing to declare gifts or donations or misuse of allowances or services and facilities provided for work related matters.
Of course, some of this has always gone on. There are always those who defy all ethical and moral standards and there always have been. However, it seems that such practice has become so commonplace that other than for some brief media attention and faux outrage of political enemies, nothing is ever actually done to end such practice. On the contrary, often what is considered to be a major penalty – the loss of a ministerial position or other prominent and more highly recompensed role – is as far as any redress is taken, and even that is rare.
Bronwyn Bishop, for instance, probably the most biased Speaker we have ever had, finally lost her pre-selection and seat after chartering a helicopter at a cost of approximately $60,000 to travel about 60 miles. Tony Abbott, despite having a salary greater than that of the US President, claimed almost three times that amount in allowances. Commonly, MP’s claim overnight allowances for staying in Canberra when they actually stay in houses owned by their partners or friends. Allowances that amount to half a week’s wages or more for many Australian workers.
The system is sick. Many of those who supposedly represent us in it are also sick, immoral, unethical and so arrogant that they indignantly deny any wrong-doing and show no sign of genuine remorse or attacks of conscience.
Of course, this situation is not all of their own making and they are not alone in corruption, lack of conscience and immoral behaviour. Ordinary Australians have been fed a diet of neoliberal deceit that puts profit before people and encourages a mean and nasty individualist greed. It is one that promotes self-serving materialism as an honest aspiration and that insinuates that wealth is a legitimate criterion for power and a legitimate reward for wielding it against fellow citizens and, indeed, fellow human beings wherever.
Our politics is not the politics of privilege, of parsimony, of fear, and of duplicity. Privatisation of government services has meant not only the failure and degeneration of most public services and assets (or previous assets) but has resulted in large corporations milking as much profit as possible from these privatised services, not least by skimping on staff, facilities, maintenance and other essential factors. The public generally don’t realise that this is what has caused the collapse of many service that they have come to expect for it is kept well hidden, not least by government rhetoric that constantly decries the public services as inefficient and praises large and wealthy corporations as “job creators” and “growth” as the most essential aim for a better and effective society.
It is a falsity. It pays no attention to the reality. It simply ensures that the gap between rich and poor widens as each year passes by. It also gives effective control of the national agenda to large corporations. Put simply, the corporations do the damage and take the profits; the government picks up the pieces and takes the blame.
Because most of the electorate do not see this or have been socialised to believe in the consumerist, materialist and individualist ethos, they elect the very sort of politician who will work against their own interests. Assisted by a populist appealing mainstream media, the general public adopt the meanness of spirit that elects a government that tortures and indefinitely detains people who have fled for their lives and the good of their families from impossible circumstances.
The list of perfidy is long and not confined to one Party, although certainly the Right-Wing parties and independents are responsible for most of the unconscionable and inhumane treatment and situations to which people are put. Fred Nile, Pauline Hanson, Peter Dutton, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Roberts, Scott Morrison, and George Brandis are just some of those who are not fit to hold office in our parliaments and who, in no way, have worked or do work for a just and equitable society. They are a blight on our social fabric and devoid of intellect or rationality. Their positions are those of myopia and dogma, mostly misinformed, distorted and against the evidence.
Our society really does need to change this. AUSTRALIA could be The Lucky Country again but not until it prevents the election of people of this ilk. We need to review the system for elections, introduce some form of demonstrated positive contribution to the community as a criterion TO EVEN STAND for election, ensure that all potential candidates meet all Constitutional requirements before being registered, and alter voting requirements to provide a realistic reflection of the varied community attitudes, not simply funnel all of those views into one of two, barely differentiated lines.
The rorting of allowances etc. is bad. It needs to be stopped. However it is only a small symptom of a greatly diseased system that no longer represents the Australian people and their diverse views and that rarely gives power to a Party with more than 30% to 40% of the Primary Vote.
We need change and we need it NOW.
Federal politicians claimed more than $55 million in expenses over the second half of 2015, new documents reveal.