Allan Takes Aim Blog

Clearly the time has come for new political parties

Posted on: 26 June 2013

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Clearly the time has come for new political parties

Recently any mention of ‘federal politics’ in relation to Australia, made me to fall into deep ennui and caused Boadicea, my consort, to worry. That said I won’t be surprised if other Australians are also suffering ennui, including some parliamentarians.

After posting my last blog, I hoped that during the next few days, which are also the last few sitting days of the current parliament, I hoped I might hear something that would make my ennui disappear and restore my optimism about politics and federal parliament.  What added to my hope was the announcement that Kevin Rudd was leaving for China on Thursday afternoon.

To some degree the announcement lulled me into the belief (later proved wrong) that the end of the current political saga was in sight. No such luck. No sooner had the thought entered my mind than fresh reports on the saga surfaced. Unfortunately, fresh is the wrong word as the news was not new but simply a rehash of old reports. And so my ennui returned, stronger and deeper than ever.

But there’s one thing that parliaments and politicians do well: spring surprises. One such surprise came yesterday when Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, one of the political props that enabled Labor to form a minority government, made the surprise announcement that he would not be contesting the next election.

On hearing the announcement it seemed to me the ‘expert’ pundits who throng Canberra, and whose opinions daily flood the media as news, should have been tossing their crystal balls into the nearest dustbin. In a sense Mr Oakeshott had scooped them. Not one of them had even hinted this was likely to happen particularly as it would have an effect on what might happen at the next election.

However, I don’t think Mr Oakeshott’s announcement precipitated Independent MP Tony Windsor, also a prop of the Labor’s minority government, into scooping the political ‘experts’ although the Oakeshott and Windsor have given heart to many people who want Labor to lose the next election. As for the ‘experts’ who had not tossed away their crystal ball, perhaps the two announcements will now make them change their minds. Experts apart however, the most important opinion of all is that of the general population

While Oakeshott and Windsor might not like being described as props for Labor, without their support Labor could not have become a minority government. Indeed government could have become a rabble because the Liberal/National Coalition could not form government. To some degree, their support of Labor ensured anarchy did not come to Australia though some might argue this is not the case.

Yet I must say I was extremely disappointed by some of Mr Windsor’s remarks when being interviewed this morning on ABC Radio by his indulging in a brief diatribe against Mr Abbott. This confirms the view adopted by many people following the heated misogyny and misandry debate that political behaviour has degenerated to such an extent they now wonder why they bother to vote.

That said: what lies ahead? Australia will have to wait until after 14th September, to find out. Will they opt for change and give government to the Liberal/National Coalition. If they do, what changes will they want made by a Liberal/National Government? These changes could prove interesting.

As I write this blog, ABC Radio has just announced that a petition is now being circulated among Labor Members of Parliament about a ballot to challenge Prime Minister Gillard with a view to replacing her with Kevin Rudd. Apparently the result of the petition and ballot, if any, will be known tomorrow morning.

Earlier I used the word rabble to describe the goings on in parliament and also used the word anarchy. I can only add that such goings on are really not much different to what has recently taken place in birthplace of Democracy. Have the people benefitted?

Comment welcome.

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1 Response to "Clearly the time has come for new political parties"

As a result of the relative decline of parties as hands-on policy-makers, the way successful political organisations obtain policy advice had changed. In all parties, policy committees and party conferences are tending increasingly to produce statements of their party’s broad philosophical direction. This is particularly the case with the ALP’s National Platform, which is devised in platform committees and voted on at the party’s biennial or triennial National Conference. However, parliamentary representatives generally devise the detailed policies that form the election manifestoes, and in office, governments are influence heavily by the work of their internal advisers, the bureaucracy and think tanks. Given the different levels of skill and interest of these groups – party members, advisers, public servants and policy experts – and the fact that their membership overlaps significantly, this is probably the reasonable democratic balance of responsibilities.

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