Shut the hell up and get back to running the nation
Australia, which includes the national government and parliament, faces a number of crucial issues.
A short list: the carbon tax; the two-speed economy; problems for the manufacturing sector; real difficulties in the steel industry; coal seam gas extraction versus prime farming land.
Further, there are serious worries about productivity levels; concern about the need for a review and revamp of the industrial laws, which everyone except the unions and the government are suggesting are too rigid.
Even the Governor of the Reserve Bank, who is always very careful with his words, left the impression that productivity might need some attention, and the industrial relations system might need more flexibility.
Some unions responded by demanding that the Board should contain some workers.
Facing a list of crucial issues like that, one would expect the government, the opposition, and the parliament would be beavering away trying to find the best solution for the nation. But these absolutely central issues seem to have been put on the backburner.
So what are the denizens of the parliament focusing on? Greens Adam Bandt sent all 226 MPs out to their electorates to establish the public mood on same sex marriage, and to report back. Perhaps it might have been a better task to establish the public mood on some of the list above.
Independent Andrew Wilkie has emphasized that his support for Prime Minister Gillard – essentially for the existence of a Gillard government, rests on achieving his reforms to poker machine legislation. See list above for a comparison of importance.
The Greens are demanding that Australia moves immediately to renewable energy. That means by-passing gas as a “half-way house” source with less carbon emissions.
Nice dream, but where will the base load power come from? And one faction of the Greens seems to have put demonstrations at chocolate shops which are tied to Israel at the top of the agenda. Again, see list above.
Then there is the case of alleged misuse of union and Labor party funds by an MP. This has been passed on to the police for examination. It would be logical for all concerned that they wait for the police report, and then debate and act. But, instead of that, there has been a Gillard/Abbott verbal brawl, which appears like two rabid Pit Bulls going for each other’s throats.
Meanwhile, what does the public think? The latest Newspoll found Labor at rock bottom on 27 per cent of the first preference votes, and leader Gillard as a deeply unpopular Prime Minister.
The Coalition stood at a two-party vote of 57 per cent, but 55 per cent were dissatisfied with the Abbott leadership. In terms of better Prime minister, 62 per cent said no to Gillard; 61 per cent said no to Abbott. Could there be a clearer statement that the majority of the public want something much better?
I took up the Bandt proposal to find out what the people think. Over the last week or so, I have talked to a non-scientific sample of ordinary voters, and asked their opinions about the policy foci and political styles of the government, the opposition, the Greens, and the two main leaders.
I found a wide-spread mood of deep frustration with politics and politicians.The 226 MPs should go back to their electors and try a similar set of questions, and report back to the parliament.
To summarise overwhelming majority opinion (including the vehemence): “they should SHUT THE HELL UP with the fringe issue nonsense, and get back to governing for the nation”.
That seems to be very sound advice indeed.
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