Well, it’s been a busy few weeks for politicians, Federal & State.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has dropped the ETS from his legislative agenda. It was supposed to be the greatest environmental challenge of our time. Political considerations have derailed it. The Opposition Coalition parties have chosen a political position that denies climate change, and entrenched a NO vote. The Greens did not think the legislation went far enough, and voted No.
Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has used his blog to voice the right wing opinion that the burqa should be forthwith banned in Australia. his basis is that one criminal has used it in a robbery, so it has now become “the preferred disguise of bandits and n'er do wells”. While Tony Abbott has distanced himself from Bernardi’s opinion, it is, I think, symptomatic of the rise, and persistence of the hard right of the Liberal Party. The proposed policy seeks to be both alarmist and populist, and by doing so, avoid significant argument towards good policy.
In NSW, Labor MP Karyn Paluzzano has been suspended from the NSW Labor Party, and has today resigned from the NSW Parliament as the Member for Penrith and Lower Blue Mountains. She has admitted to an ICAC corruption inquiry that she lied to ICAC investigators, and that she falsified pay slips to defraud the NSW Parliament.
There are at least 3 messages for our politicians:
- If you believe you have good public policy, run with it, irrespective of opponents. Voters will appreciate the commitment to good policy. If it’s not good policy, work on it! Good Policy does not equate to political ideology. (WorkChoices springs to mind)
- As a society, we need to be aware of extreme/extremist political agendas. Cory Bernardi’s blog is a reflection of greater influence of , and agenda-pushing by, the hard right of the Liberal Party. Liberal Party founder Sir Robert Menzies would find it abhorrent.
- It would behove all politicians to check how they are using allowances (taxpayer funds) and Federal funding to electorates. The Federal Auditor-general has previously been critical of the rules, and the apparent use of taxpayer funds for essentially personal and party political purposes. (see reports on Distribution of Funding for Community Grant Programmes and Administration of Parliamentarians' Entitlements by the Department of Finance and Deregulation at www.anao.gov.au)
Work hard, and pester your politicians.