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Australian politics and the mound of incompetence that is Canberra

I was meant to go to the Comedy Festival the other day but then I thought I’d save myself the $20, sit on the couch, turn on the television and watch Question Time instead. Now I know there are plenty of jokes to be had given the latest Labor farce, about politicians being a joke or acting like children or not having any brains, but I have to say that when I turned on the television, I didn’t know whether to be fuming with anger, laughing hysterically or letting out a big sigh, then hiring Ben Cousins’ to lift up his shirt as I shrug and say “such is life”. The reason? You know those roads that you drive on, or those jobs that you go to, or those hospitals you might go to if you’re sick, or those schools we use to lock up children from annoying broader society? Yeah all those important things that we need to go about normal life. THESE people are in control of them. Seriously when did we become the country that encouraged incompetence at the highest level? 

Looking at my current options for who’s going to head up this Mound of Incompetence (formerly known as the ‘Light on the Hill’), I really couldn’t care less. But lucky for me our constitution takes care of this, and only compels me to vote in a seat where if 50% of the constituents, took the ballot paper, farted on it then handed it in, the same party would still be returned. And of course I have to do this at a federal, state and local level – if I don’t, as I discovered recently when I didn’t/cbf-ed voting in the local council elections, had to write a handwritten excuse (I kid you not) as to why I didn’t vote or pay an $15 fine. I wrote “the booths smell of bat shit” and for future reference that was an acceptable excuse to avoid the fine….gotta love bureaucracy…[hmmm take a bet on the fact that this little disclosure comes back to bite me in the future? Hahaha whatever]. I actually think that those in our society who can name their current sitting federal MP, state MP and local counsellor should be given a little badge to pin to their lapel to honour their ability to retain useless information.

But what a minute. This is me talking. I’m actually interested in politics and I’m this disillusioned. Imagine all the people, who in some amazingly accurate, Nostradamus manner predicted that politics was a useless cause and are not interested at all? Through sheer incompetence and policy neglect, the only thing Australian politicians have managed to successfully achieve is UN-inspire scores of voters and destroy all hope of Australia ever having a Jed Bartlett-esque administration, and instead install a Parliament that more resembles the Kardashian household….but I’d still rather watch Kim Kardashian’s fake birth, fake marriage and fake divorce, than place any confidence in current “leaders”.

The way I see it, Australian government should be like running a company and politicians should be the Executive Team – they are accountable to shareholders (ie. Voters), subject to review from all sorts of bodies, and are meant to operate with clear strategy and vision. To hold and to be good at holding these positions of power in a company, you have to work hard, build relationships and show how you can add value. Yet somehow we’ve ended up with a Treasurer who probably only knows how to count caucus numbers and possibly has never opened up Excel in his life, and a Shadow Deputy PM who technically did the same 6-week, $2,000 a day Harvard Advanced Management Course as Tyra Banks and then espoused the alternative theory that tax cuts would increase government revenues – presumably because she thought “cuts” meant that someone goes out and cuts a branch off that massive money tree in the middle of Canberra. This is just a sample of what I think are politicians who are seriously under-qualified for their jobs. You would never have a CFO who had never opened up an Excel spread sheet so why would you trust the Australian economy to a potential Excel-heathen? Of course you’re going to end up creating a tax that raises less revenue that the accounting fees required by companies to figure out their liability under the MRRT, and have the two of the three largest mining companies in the world operating in Australia, (you know, the ones who would most probably fit the definition of having “super profits”) not paying a cent under this mining tax. But seriously how you lose a political campaign based on sharing wealth amongst all Australians, against a billionaire protesting wearing a string of pearls each the size of my living room?

Both sides offer terrible options for what would be the Executive Team of a company and would probably not get a job in most companies. It just seems like they to live in this permanent cocoon that is made of what the media tells them what the people will vote for, what the polls tell them what the people will vote for and what other politicians/strategists/advisers tell them what the people will vote for. No one seems to remember how it is to actually live like one of these mysterious “people who vote” and I’m pretty sure if they can, it was so long ago and so far from Canberra, that remembering that far back would require a psychic medium to speak to their now-dead-former-selves in addition to the spin-doctor interpreter, smokey-mirror clearer, and auto-tune-out button that tunes out politicians like that Chihuahua…I mean Christopher Pyne whenever they start barking…I mean speaking.

Apparently somewhere between Bob Hawke’s drunken declarations and John Howard’s eternally hilarious attempts at bowling, entering politics as a long term career became a legitimate course to pursue. But it shouldn’t be. It should be a service that you go into drawing on your own vast and diverse experiences – be it professional or personal. And I’m not talking the “oh I’m going to spend 4 years as a lawyer, then do an MBA or other study for 2 years not for any academic or research purpose but only to paper chase another qualification to make me look good, then maybe I’ll do 1 year at an investment bank to show that I have economic/finance/some sort of numbers-y credentials, but actually do no deals and have no idea about what CDP or GPI is, then I’ll enter politics”… Josh Frydenburg I’m onto your tricks. Neither is someone who is accused of mis-using funds raised from his union but continues to hold himself out as some victim and holds his seat in Parliament, worthy of being a community representative. These people enter having spent their lives dedicated to how they are perceived and how they look so when it comes to policy-making, they lack any substance to do anything meaningful. No one deserves my vote – if I were at the AGM of this company I would well and truly be heckling by now.

Of course incompetent and under-qualified politicians aren’t the only issue – the media, federalism and of course my favourite compulsory voting, …it all contributes to the permanent circus set up in Canberra…but going into almost makes me think that I should start up my new party called the “One Vote Party” and there will be one policy and one policy only – getting rid of compulsory voting. I’ve even thought of the party slogan – “Vote for me and you’ll never have to vote again”….

In conclusion, Canberra/broader Australian politicians need to get their shit together, stop freaking politicking all the time and start doing what we elected them to do: govern.

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About Arani Satgunaseelan (78 Articles)
Corporate nerd. Wannabe blogger.

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