“If this is merit, I give up”: The farce of Australian politics

“If this is merit, I give up”: The farce of Australian politics

Is there a person alive who can look at our elected representatives in Canberra right now and tell me, in all sincerity, that this is “merit” in action? That the blokes in charge  are the best Australia has to offer?

If it is I really despair.

The hypocrisy, the missteps, the colossal blunders keep coming, and, in their wake, a parade of protestations from those in power who are seemingly convinced the Australian public are utterly guileless.

At any other time the issue of a minister misleading the senate on no fewer than five occasions, about a matter as grave as a staff member alerting the media to a police raid, would dominate the news for days.

Not however, when it comes the day before the High Court has to hand down a critical decision on the legitimacy of several politicians, including the Deputy Prime Minister.

Just a few months ago the idea of a handful of MPs being disqualified – for failing to take the necessary administrative steps to secure their eligibility for parliament – was unfathomable.

As has been widely noted Senator James Patterson’s sentiments on the subject didn’t age well.

But the unfathomable didn’t stop at five elected representatives being booted out.

Five days after the High Court’s decision, several months after the citizenship fiasco kicked off, the president of the senate, no less, was compelled to come forward and resign on account of being a dual citizen.

The timing was perfectly ludicrous, and dripping in entitlement. And now we learn Stephen Parry hadn’t strictly withheld this knowledge from the wider world.

He reportedly shared it with a cabinet minister who suggested he keep it under wraps until the High Court sorted out the mess and found in the government’s favour.

Except the High Court, amazingly enough, didn’t “so find” as the PM boldly asserted it would, and instead stuck to the black letter of the Constitutional law and deemed dual citizens ineligible for parliament.

It is diabolical but worse still is the manner in which so many of our still-eligible parliamentarians are responding.

“It’s absurd” Josh Frydenberg said, to question his citizenship, as if just a week earlier a similar fate, which several of his peers had emphatically denied, hadn’t been proven correct.

“I’ve never had so much fun,” the PM said as if the crisis engulfing his government and undermining the legitimacy of parliament is a great big barrel of laughs.

No need for an enquiry, we’re told, as if government accountability isn’t a matter us voters ought to concern ourselves with. Accountability is reserved for unions and those dreaded “leaners” who rely on the government to survive.

Meanwhile, the appalling atrocity unfolding on Manus Island remains firmly ignored by the government. Not our problem, the immigration minister Peter Dutton seems almost gleeful to declare, about the humanitarian crisis.

No amount of political posturing can change the fact Australia is responsible for these refugees, a responsibility that has been criminally abrogated for four years. There are  600 refugees still being subject to conditions so vile that medical practitioners have blown the whistle and yet? Nothing. Not a whiff of leadership or humanity.

Watch even a snippet of footage, read a few lines from those living there, glance at the photos and remember this is happening in our name in 2017. It will remain a source of national shame in perpetuity.


Earlier today when I read the news of Stephen Parry and Mitch Fifield and Kevin Andrews and Josh Frydenberg, I thought it was almost laughable.

If it weren’t real, it would make for a terrific farce, but it is real and there’s nothing funny about it. The past decade of Australian government has been nothing short of disastrous and just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it does.

On Thursday the Financial Review’s Laura Tingle finished her column on the stupidity of the government with this observation:

“When you are finished boys, there is a country to run. But frankly a lot of voters would prefer it was not run by you.”

Isn’t that the truth? And can we all agree that the experiment of a parliament dominated by men has run for long enough?

I’m not convinced that women would necessarily outdo men but, my god, I cannot imagine that they could get it any worse than the blokes have.

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