Friday, 3 September 2010

party nonsense

I read this morning that Andrew Wilkie has made a choice to sign up with Labor and have left the Coalition wondering. One opinion writer phrased it as:
As the Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie stood in a parliamentary courtyard declaring he was a Julia man, it was very nearly possible to hear Tony Abbott banging his head on the wall of his office

That's a funny image, but somehow I think Wilkie may have made the right choice. That writer goes on to say:

Hadn't Wilkie arrived in Canberra bearing a list of priorities, the very first of which was the replacement of Royal Hobart Hospital?

Hadn't he, Tony Abbott, offered to do just that at the cost of a cool billion bucks?

And what was Wilkie's response? Why, holy hell, he'd taken instead a piddling $340 million from Julia Gillard for a hospital renovation and he was out there in the courtyard claiming it was a superior deal, with the big money going to hospitals far outside his electorate!

Which is interesting as perhaps what happened was that Tony Abbot did his usual "whack it on the table" take-it-or-leave-it with strings attached, while Julia did some negotiation.

This is to my mind what politics should be about, negotiating outcomes not bullying.

Later I read that Andrew Wilkie is getting some flack about the distribution of preferences here

But for the Liberals none of this matters. All that counts for them is that Wilkie got over the line with their backing and has now rubbed their noses in it. The next election will bring revenge.

revenge ... right ... sounds more like the sort of unhelpful bully tactics which have been the mainstay of party politics for the last 20 years.

If we want our government to stop being "a place away from us" I think we need to move away from this and move back to the leaders being representatives of the electorate; to go into parliament and do their best to negotiate for the prople they represent (their electorate). Not bend over on towing some party line.


Charles Maclauchlan said...

interesting comments on party loyalties. The concept of a public official being above or immune to party affiliation ended here in the states immediately after George Washington. Thomas Jefferson, vice president to John Adams created the concept of the loyal opposition and set the ground rules that their loyalty is to party first, country somewhere after that... at least that's how it is here.

obakesan said...


thanks for that input. I think I'll read a little more on the US political history.

As it happens Ben Franklin is one the people in your history I really like.

Did you ever read his "autobiography"


obakesan said...

The first thing I read about Thomas is interesting. From Wikipedia:

... distrusted cities and financiers, and favored states' rights and a strictly limited federal government

sounds a like the sort of opinion that I'd hear from Sir Henry Parkes.