Jan 242011

Politically, I mean. Let’s face it, one year is pretty much like another once you pass 50, save for the fact they seem to go by faster.

No, I mean politically as in House of Representatives politically. Will Abbott actually come good with cogent, rational policy announcements, or will he stick to the tried & true oppose-anything-the-government-proposes tactic? Will Gillard manage to get a policy into gear? There’s been a lot proposed, but precious little actually engaged. In fact, it’s been a less productive government under Gillard than her assassinated predecessor.

I’d be willing to punt that absolutely nothing of any consequence will occur before July, on the basis that a hostile Senate will continue to be in place until June 30. And when the Greens start to exercise their newly found muscle?? The Senate may well remain hostile. Combine that with a dearth of sitting days, and a nothing year is highly likely.

It’s a sad state of affairs that Australian politics has sunk to, when neither of the two major parties can effectively construct viable social policies independent of the other, and display the courage & tenacity in the face of childish cat-calling from the other to make those policies stand alone. Both sides of the divide are to blame. Both are equally bereft of imagination or anything approaching statesmanship. Whether it’s the impact of the 24 hour news cycle, the perceived need to be in the social media, in the online rags, on television I really can’t say, but I can say the level of engagement with the electorate has reduced to mindless head-nods, bible quotes out of context, dashes across the country to appear in this or that disaster zone or four word bogan-slogans such as Great Big New Tax.

We, the voters, are not the fools the elected representatives clearly believe we are. Peter Van Onselen makes a valid point in his piece today, identifying this dumbed down approach to the electorate by politicians practically across the spectrum. I reject his reference to the NBN as an analogy, but he is correct in the treatment we, who elect them all, get. We live in a democracy, apparently, but the choices of who we choose to act in our collective stead are hardly exciting. When will it change? Will it ever change? Based on the current crop, and the increasing demands of media, I don’t think so.

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