Allan Takes Aim Blog

Posted on: 12 July 2013


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Politics has become a variety show

Much as I am interested in politics and not just Australian politics but politics across the world, there are times when I get fed up when I hear the word. I am also curious by nature and though fed up with politics I felt should watch Q&A a show on ABC TV hosted by a man called Tony Jones that featured a panel of so called celebrities who, even if they didn’t merit the celebrity soubriquet, thought they were.

Many of the panel come from the world of politics although it has to be said that members of the Australian Labor and Liberal parties, Australia’s two biggest parties, usually formed the bulk of the panel who were asked questions.

In an effort to show that Q&A was unbiased it was filmed before an audience though it must be said that even the majority of the audience seemed to be Labor or Liberal supporters. But no matter how unbiased Q&A says it is, opinion generally says it is and that it seems biased towards Labor as does its Moderator (a euphemism for Master Of Ceremonies) Tony Jones.

In this case MC better fits the bill as Mr Jones conducts the show in a manner reminiscent of old time variety where MCs often saw themselves as bigger stars than the artists on the bill, something he does on Q&A.  At the same time, some of the celebrities on the bill not only see themselves as better politicians than the politicians but also as better comedians.

The show makes some attempt to get a balanced view by asking some members of the audience to ask questions of the panel. In most cases the questions asked expose the political bias of the questioners which generally is in favour of Labor thus adding to the overall perception of the show having a Labor bias.

However, I do have a problem when on the national stage the Prime Minister becomes MC of a quasi- variety show called the Federal election with a number of people hoping to become panel members on Australia’s biggest variety show, the Federal Parliament.  More to the point, one in particular will also be trying to oust him as PM.

While the latter’s wish seemed like a lay down misere a few weeks ago, the last shuffle of the political pack has changed players hand so that the lay down misere now seems less than certain. Indeed if a week in politics a long time and a time when anything can happen, then a few weeks ago is a lifetime and many things can happen.

And with Australia’s federal election seemingly still weeks away, clearly there is time for lots of things to happen. The current PM clearly wants to keep the job so perhaps he might be wise to remember that he gained his position due to panellists (MPs) picked by individual electorates. The only votes for him were cast in his own electorate and not all were for him. However, it is more likely than not that a sufficient number of them will vote for him again though it can’t be certain candidates in individual electorates will enjoy the same support.

Clearly he is popular but what he is not is a Solomon or messianic politician with the cure for all the ills currently affecting Australia. Indeed some people think he was the cause of the ills and if he stays as PM the ills will return.

On that basis, I also think they will let him know in no uncertain terms that being Prime Minister is not award for being popular and that good one liners are not enough to keep them happy and that they want a serious parliament not a political variety show with him a MC.

Comment welcome.

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