Rudd: Politics is a childish farce and it’s getting worse
Rudd thinks Federal politics is “childish” and has become worse over the past decade.
Sorry - not that Rudd, who frankly we’re all sick of hearing about - but his brother Greg, who is now a business consultant.
Don’t expect him to provide any behind-the-scenes revelations from Camp Rudd over the past few weeks - he hasn’t actually spoken to Kevin since May last year, saying they “agree to disagree” in many areas. But he does have a background which qualifies him to speak with some authority on political machinations at the federal level.
Rudd is a former staffer in the Hawke-Keating Government, and by his own admission played the adversarial game pretty hard in his day.
But he says the system has become so obsessed with political point scoring, driven by young, aggressive political advisers, that it has descended almost into farce.
And he says that there is an admission, even amongst many federal politicians, that the system is broken.
“We’ve drifted into an area where we seem to be more involved in politics and entertainment and personality politics and the cult of celebrity rather than serious issues that affect Australia in the longer term,’’ he says”
They’re trying to convince the public that one side of politics is going to wreck the economy totally and vice versa - it’s just childish. I think we should able to do better. We don’t run other things like that, we don’t run major companies like that, we don’t run schools like that, we don’t run charity groups like that, so why do we run parliament like that?
The game has actually got worse. There are more apparatchiks that come through, having done political science or whatever at university into offices… they just don’t want to give an inch to the other side. My point is that it’s not a game.
Rudd points out the childishness of a system where a good idea is knocked on the head because the other side had it first.
“Even when either side of politics does come up with a good idea, I’ve heard it numerous times over the past 20 years, people will say `shit, that’s not a bad idea. We can’t do it now of course because the other side came up with it first’.”
One of the problems of this system is exemplified in the current scenario, where the Liberal opposition has so wedded itself to hating the Government’s major policies - the carbon tax, mining tax and the National Broadband Network - that it has committed to unwinding them if it wins the next election.
“What’s being said at the moment for the first two years they’re going to get rid of the the carbon tax, get rid of the mining tax, get rid of the broadband network,’’ Rudd says.
“You’ll never convince me that eight years of taking up senior level policy thinking time and taxpayers’ money at the federal parliament level, to end up with a zero outcome, is smart.”
Rudd says there is a need for strategic planning in Australia to ensure that core nation building projects are not sacrificed to the political machine. He proposes that the government - on both sides - identifies initially two or three core areas which will not be used for political point scoring, because they are simply too important.
But at the moment, strategic planning is being sacrificed in the name of political expediency.
“If you go to anyone on either side of politics in the Federal Parliament and say, for the sake of Australia’s, what is the five year, 10 year plan to ensure that the standard of living doesn’t go down and we’re ready to do that crossover when the resources boom levels out and we need to have other sectors ready ... the normal answer is `**** that we’re just trying to win the next election’,” he said.
“People in the political parties say `Greg it’s all too hard, we just hate each other too much and we’ll never cooperate’. I just don’t think that’s a good enough answer.
“Imagine if you were working in a primary school and that was the answer: `When you grow up kids you’re going to go to various workplaces where everyone just hates each other’.
“It’s just a waste of time.”
Rudd has proposed Question Time being split into thirds, with one third of the time set aside for the public, and the renaming of the opposition as the alternative government - a nomenclature which he believes reflects their obligation to come up with alternative policies, not just oppose everything the government of the day does.
Rudd’s final point, in candid terms, is that there’s no point just “bitching about it”, whether you were a disenfranchised cabinet minister in Kevin Rudd’s government, or a voter annoyed with the constant bickering of politicians”
“I’m convinced that 95 per cent of people are unhappy with the outcomes of our political process at the moment. Everyone bitches about it but what I’m convinced of is that left to themselves political parties won’t change a thing because it’s not in their interest.
“My view is that, is that one thing politicians do listen to is public sentiment. If it starts to ramp up and they listen to the public and they listen to the media…”
Rudd says that the public needs to put pressure on both sides of government in the lead up to the next election to agree on some core, bipartisan issues which can be advanced in the nation’s interest.
The ball, it seems, is in your court.
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