Allan Takes Aim Blog

The Assembly: a three ring circus?

Posted on: 2 November 2010


 First published The Chronicle, Canberra Tuesday 1 November, 2010 

 Not withstanding the damage conmen (the term is not gender specific) do, apart from the self – aggrandising politicians among them, they attract a sneaking admiration. However, when politicians themselves get conned, the admiration becomes schadenfreude among voters.

People have suggested to me that successful politicians need to be conmen. Although partly agreeing with this suggestion, over the years, some politicians I have known, and still know, have built successful political careers without being conmen. 

While believing that the majority of politicians are not conmen I believe some are narcissistic, inept and inadequate. Truthfully and with their best interests at heart, not only would they be better off in another job so, too, would the community.

This brings me to the ACT Legislative Assembly, often called a three – ring circus (unfortunately without a Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Joanne Dru and Zsa Zsa Gabor) a comparison that wouldn’t please the circus I once worked for as promotions and public relations manager.

The fact is, most people who work in the circus, unlike some in the Assembly, are positive and aware people. For example in Sole Bros, the circus I worked for, people were more aware of the environment than many so called environmentalists and politicians. Unlike many politicians this awareness did not come from reading reports by experts but from real environmentalists they met while travelling the country.

This awareness was their reason for supporting my suggestion of working with the IIllawarra Education Department to develop a programme that would encourage school students to take an interest in both the natural environment and the political environment that affected it.

As I mused on this I wondered what circus people would think if they looked at the Assembly’s political environment. Would they think the Liberals were performing well as an Opposition and showing signs of being a credible alternative government or would they agree with some commentators that although the Liberals seemed to have cured the internecine warfare that once bedevilled them, their ability to govern was still doubtful? It appears this doubt is based on a perception that the Liberals spend too much time simply opposing the Government and because Zed Seselja hasn’t announced future policies.

The commentators could be right but I doubt it. Could it be the Liberals are so occupied with constituents’ problems caused by the policies of the current government that they spend most of their time opposing these policies? And could it be that the commentators who don’t think the Liberals an alternative Government do so because they are miffed at not being made aware of the Liberals future policies? A question: what would these commentators say of an army commander in a war (isn’t politics a form of civil war?) who made his strategies public?

And would circus people think the Greens, given their self -appointed major party status, ready to govern? Perhaps they would think that if the Greens wanted to govern they should forget pacts and stand enough candidates at the next election who, if elected, would be able to form government. On the other hand they might think one Green is ready: Caroline Le Couteur the candidate the Greens forgot at the last election who has turned out to be the smartest Green and one of the cleverest politicians in the Assembly.

And what would they say about the Government? They might conclude that Labor’s pact with The Greens was less a new style of Government than a strategy that gave Labor time quell the kind of internal strife that once bedevilled the Liberals and had the potential to threaten its hold on Government. In other words, Labor agreed to the pact to try and ensure that what it lost on the roundabouts they gained on the swings.

 As for the internal strife, would they recognise it as a factional battle of succession between Andrew Barr and Simon Corbell for the post of Deputy Chief Minister if Jon Stanhope quits before 2012?

The big question is: will he or won’t he? For what it’s worth, let me say I cannot imagine the Ringmaster of Canberra’s three-ring circus throwing away his chance to lead the 2013 centenary celebrations.

dca@netspeed.com.au

The Chronicle for Canberra’s best community news. Published every Tuesday

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1 Response to "The Assembly: a three ring circus?"

[…] The Assembly: a three ring circus? « Allan Takes Aim Blog As I mused on this I wondered what circus people would think if they looked at the Assembly's political environment. Would they think the Liberals were performing well as an Opposition and showing signs of being a credible alternative . And would circus people think the Greens, given their self -appointed major party status, ready to govern? Perhaps they would think that if the Greens wanted to govern they should forget pacts and stand enough candidates at the next . […]

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