Allan Takes Aim Blog

Do we get the politicians we deserve?

Posted on: 6 March 2013

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Do we get the politicians we deserve?

I suspect the invitation lists to dinners, cocktails parties and the many other forms of socialising that take place in political circles have already started to be culled by members of the ACT Liberal Party. The culling will take place not because some members disgraced themselves at previous functions but because of accusations that one group have been underhanded in the election of the Liberal Candidate for the Senate at the forthcoming ACT Federal election.

Indeed the accusations have developed into an argument that would make the proverbial battle between fishwives look like a class in social etiquette. What voters think about it all I don’t know? Will it make a difference at the election? Again I do not know but, that said, I think the Liberal Party will lose the support of some of its more conservative members to the Katter Party.

While the Labor Party will keep crowing about the Liberals internal battle they might be wise to keep their tongues in check because the record of battles between competing Labor candidates in various constituencies would make a not insubstantial tome.

The fact is, many constituency battles are based on the view that even if the constituency is not viewed as a sinecure (a safe seat) it can be the path to a better job than the candidate could ever expect to get outside politics. But more than that, in some cases high profile candidates have been foisted on constituencies though they know little about them.

But the most worrisome is that many of our parliamentary representatives are lawyers, business people, former union officials who go straight into official union positions with no experience of the jobs that members of the union carry out and party staffers. And then we’ve got the academic politicians who are guided more by ambition to become a senior member in a government and more interested in achieving that goal than in serving the interests of the voters who elected them.

But if you think that politics are practiced only by elected politicians you’re wrong. There are more politicians outside parliaments than in them. Many senior bureaucrats were’/are friends of politicians not only because they attended university with them but also and participated with them in both University and social activities. In a sense they are more powerful than the politicians their departments are supposed to serve. If you wonder what old boys and now old girls network looks like the relationship between bureaucrats and their old university mates is the best model I know.

What this suggests to me is that our political candidates need subjecting to closer scrutiny. Though the media provides backgrounds of candidates asked in pursuit of those backgrounds much of what is published reflects the political sympathies of the journalists concerned with greater emphasis on what they think might serve candidates best and will appeal to voters.

This is particularly noticeable on talk back radio where some presenters, much as they will deny it, give more air time to callers in tune with the politics of their preferred party candidates to those who aren’t. The best word for this: BIAS. Unfortunately, this bias can lead to electors voting for ineffectual candidates who then become ineffectual politicians.


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