Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Politics Has No Holidays.

We've been on holiday for a few weeks. There has been so much to catch up on returning.

Politicians have holidays, too. But not, it seems politics, and the leaders of the major political parties are never far from a microphone, a journalist, and a 10 second gabfest.

Julia Gillard has been kicking deftly at a number of targets. Public School teachers, the Australian Education Union & its state teacher affiliates, and Private School teachers and teacher unions, and some parent organizations have come in for some sharp words over their opposition to the national publication of schools testing data. In one interview she even exhorted parents to approach teachers (directly) about thier school's, and students', performance. The message has been 'don't mess with me, I'm the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Education'. So there!

Tony Abbott has hit the media with his advice to women to remain a virgin till marriage. That's not something he practised, and he didn't advocate it for men. Still hasn't. On this issue he seems to have used all of his appalling 'people skills' to have 51% of the population thinking 'who's he to tell me what to do or not do?', and the rest laughing at him. Nevertheless, for all Abbott's lack of people skills, perhaps the underlying issue is one of the sexual health of people. The Australian Government website makes the following points:
  • the rate of STI's is increasing. ie more people, mostly 15-29 have more infections.
  • Young people, 15-29, account for 75% of cases
  • HIV is increasing again
  • insufficient people use condoms, and using a condom reduces the chance of getting infected. (not that they provide absolute protection)
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott might have been better to raise the issue of rising rates of STI's on the health and well-being of people, rather than trying to preach to just 51% of the population. And Deputy PM Julia Gillard wasn't going to miss the chance to score easy political points against him. Shame she didn't come up with any sensible suggestions for policy.

2010 will be a year of politicians looking after politicians, and the chance to get (re)elected. It's a (Federal) election year. Good policy, and intelligent public debate, along with a functional Parliament, remain a dream.

Sir Henry Parkes said "All great questions will be dealt with in a broad light and with a view to the interests of the whole country." - Tenterfield Oration, 1889, arguing for a Federal Government. He is undoubtedly spinning in his grave at the cheap antics of our politicians.