Allan Takes Aim Blog

Pragmatic or Principled? Australia’s next PM

Posted on: 19 July 2013

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Pragmatic or Principled?  Australia’s next PM

 Now you might think that picturing Australia’s next PM would be easy. No doubt the zealots in every party contesting the election and a number of people with limited knowledge of what each party represents will do so with ease. The former will find it easy because in a sense whether right or wrong like sheep they will follow the party’s bellwether.

The latter are more problematic. Real bellwethers among them will be few and far between because their flocks are rarely to be found on what is now recognised as politics main paddock, Radio, TV and Newspapers.

In Australia the bellwethers are: Kevin Rudd, Labor leader and PM; Tony Abbott, Liberal/ National Coalition’s Leader; and Christine Milne, Greens Leader. The latter is an exception to the rule of bellwethers being castrated rams. But bellwether or not is there a real leader among them?

Indeed if voters are relying on television to help them decide they could end up even more undecided. At the same time although the official election campaign hasn’t started it is clear that Kevin Rudd is already campaigning. Is this just politics or is it cheating?

In his TV ad he says, among other things, that he will give Australians first class health and education services something he says Tony Abbott won’t. He describes Tony Abbott as the Mr Negative of Australian politics because he opposes everything he (Mr Rudd) proposes.

It is said the age of miracles has not yet passed. That having been said, it would be nothing short of a miracle for a political leader to congratulate their opponent on matters he/she proposed. Indeed, why a new leader if everything they proposed was thought OK?

As to Mr Rudd’s advert, his performance seems less than impressive. While Mr Rudd might see himself as a great performer, the advert lacks sincerity. He also looks like a Billy Bunter with mannerisms that put me in mind of old time advance men in the entertainment field who spruiked a coming show as the greatest show in the world.

I have seen Mr Abbott on TV many times, but not in an election advert. While no Billy Bunter, unfortunately for him, the aggressive image he tends to present, his accusations of Mr Rudd as a politician without principal and his continual rejection of proposals put forward by Mr Rudd, tends, subconsciously, to make some voters endorse the latter’s opinion of him as Mr Negative.  Are they right?

All I will say is that I have always understood that principle underlies policy in a democracy be it in Australia, Britain, U.S., Canada, France, or wherever else democracy is said to exist. Sadly, and too often in politics, pragmatism displaces principle, a situation to which Australia is no exception.

To explain what I mean, let me use same sex marriage as an example of political pragmatism displacing principle.

Until recently Kevin Rudd has been an opponent of same sex marriage as was Prime Minister Julia Gillard. However in the tortuous world of Labor Politics, Julia Gillard had deposed Rudd as Prime Minster although Rudd claimed Julia had his full support as PM.

Suddenly he changed tack on same sex marriage action many people think an attempt to gain support for him to again become Prime Minister action many people think an attempt to gain support for him to again become Prime Minister (or was this an attempt to put himself in the same class as President Obama?).

Ultimately his attempt proved successful although many are of the view that Rudd’s support of same sex marriage was based more on pragmatism than belief.

Abbott, however, despite poor poll ratings, has declared that his opposition to same sex marriage remains though if he changed his mind no doubt some of the antipathy towards him would disappear. However, it has to be said that, I can only add that if you were in an army and had the choice of appointing a leader, out of Abbott and Rudd, who would you pick: Abbott the principled leader or Rudd the pragmatist?

But Christine Milne, Leader of the Greens Party also has a role to play in Government until election time after which her reduced role might be further reduced or disappear altogether. Whether or not you like her policies Mrs Milne displays a very steely determination to stick to them. For her, principle also seems to win over pragmatism. I should add that the Greens are supporters of same sex marriage.

Comment welcome.

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4 Responses to "Pragmatic or Principled? Australia’s next PM"

In May 2013, however, Rudd announced he had changed his position based on personal experience and the fact that his children had long thought him “an unreconstructed dinosaur” for not supporting marriage equality legislation. He went on to say that “I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage” while opposing any compulsion for churches to marry same-sex couples if that was not their wish.

I am aware of Rudd’s pronouncements but the blog asked: would Australian voters prefer a pragmatic or principled PM? It also asked if Rudd’s reason for changing his mind was simply political and not real belief in the proposition.

This morning, Ms Hanson-Young said she hoped the numbers for and against same-sex marriage would again be tested before the election with a Greens’ bill.

How does she propose to test them? Not being a member or follower of any religion I hope same sex couple are never allowed to use the word marriage to describe their relationship. Using the idea of ‘love’ as an excuse for same sex marriage clearly shows that, although married, Ms Hanson-Young has little or no idea of the complexity of marriage. Indeed it would be useful if she and those others who agree with here took the time to sit down and explain how same sex relationships compare with marriage.

I have no religious belief. My belief is the gift of procreation is not a process given to man by some divine being but is simply Mother Nature’s wish to ensure continuance of her creation – humanity. Unfortunately while she endowed all men and women with the capacity to procreate she did not endow all of them with the capacity necessary to fully maintain it.

It would appear this imagined lack of equality is discrimination. That said perhaps she would like to take Mother Nature to the Human Rights Court. However, I suggest she would be better off employing common sense to solve the imagined problem that almost certainly will continue through all the millenniums yet to come.

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