Allan Takes Aim Blog

Old fashioned politicians needed

Posted on: 13 April 2011

First published The Chronicle Tuesday 12 April 2011

The recent elections in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, shows that the Australian Labor Party is under siege from both the Coalition and to a lesser extent The Greens. That said the ALP now needs to ask itself if it can it raise the siege and return to its previous position in Australia’s duopolistic two party system. With an election looming in Queensland and facing a rejuvenated Opposition it is a question that needs answering sooner rather than later.

According to former PMs Bob Hawke and Paul Keating plus many prominent Labor luminaries, the omens look less than favourable. Indeed they seemed to think that, unless corruption was removed and union influence reduced, its condition could become terminal.

 Many rank and file members and once rusted on supporters said it had become a party that did not listen, Research following the NSW election showed that voters in general supported this view with the result that they deserted the party in droves because Labor was no longer a party they could trust to govern on their behalf with the integrity, honesty and transparency.

In general NSW voters did not want to be governed by arrogant people who thought themselves gifted with a level of intelligence equating to genius who saw election to Parliament as a means of climbing aboard the political gravy train. History shows that many of the elected were geniuses, not at carrying out the wishes of voters but in looking after themselves and preventing intelligent candidates who would do so from becoming MPs.

Such thoughts are not particular to NSW voters. Unfortunately for the ALP faces the view that on a nationally voters think such arrogance is rife within the party. That being said, can Labor raise the siege and produce policies that will prevent supporters from deserting the Party at the next State and Federal elections?

Having been involved in politics for a long time in Scotland, England, New Zealand and Australia, it seems to me that too many in the Labor Party are stuck in the past. I suspect that John Robertson, the new Labor Leader in NSW and some members of the Federal Parliament, is a man in that mould.

Labor that once thought itself the party of radical thought is now a party of conservatives with too many of its elected politicians afraid to risk putting out new ideas and getting offside with the party. They are conditioned to view that getting elected and re-elected as the most important issue they face and so measure ideas only by how they fit within parameters of party policy.

Gone are the days when many Labo(u)r politicians, many of them without the benefit of higher education came equipped with a level of common sense that can not be obtained even with the highest level of education. They were politicians who took risks; politicians who looked into the future and studied how to use technology not only to imagine what the future should be but also went on to create that future; they did not have tunnel vision nor move as if on tramlines.

Unfortunately we have too few people like that today in politics. Now we have parliaments with too many lawyers, PhDs, political scientists, economists et al, with little real experience of life outside the cocoon of safety enjoyed by politicians. This also applies to the Coalition parties.

It is interesting to note that these early visionaries lived in troubled times and much of the future they envisioned was driven by both economic and social issues and often by war, with the latter causing death on a scale even greater than the plagues.

For these reasons they encouraged sensible economic development, development of education and development of the Arts. More broadly, they encouraged the development of science, new machinery, new sources of power and new methods of transport etc that would help reduce disease, lighten mankind’s workload and help create an awareness that the wonders of the world should be available for everyone to enjoy, not just a few.

Thankfully for us today, their horizon of thought changed every day, which is why the time has come at both the local and federal level to elect people like them again.

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