I am disinclined to agree with anything Jacinta Allan MP, the Member for Bendigo East, has to say after what she did to the Ballarat public transport system; exacerbated by her refusal to acknowledge the problems, and fix the mess. She held her nerve; however, she is right to roundly condemn the parliamentary pairing betrayal perpetrated by the Liberal-National Coalition party.
The pairing, an arrangement whereby an MP who is absent requests an MP from the other side to also excuse themselves so the numbers are unchanged, was agreed, following MPs Bernie Finn and Craig Ondarchierequest to be excused on Good Friday, purportedly for strongly-held religious reasons.
In an appalling betrayal of the procedure, the two MPs appeared at the last moment to vote, ceding the opposition a numerical advantage. Consequently, the Government’s bill to divide the fire services, and grant presumptive rights to firefighters with cancer, was shockingly voted-down after a marathon sitting of the Parliament.
Their deceptive farce serves, clearly, to reinforce the need for separation of church and state. They have betrayed the system and made a mockery of their own religiosity.
The parliament, and the electorates they were elected to represent, deserve better.
To his everlasting shame, the Liberal Leader, Matthew Guy, whom it seems was party to the duplicitous action, said he would do it again, ‘given the opportunity’. What he has done is, by any standard trustworthiness, cheating, and of the most serious nature. It is endemic in Australia at the present.
The want to win at all costs. His preparedness to tamper with our democratic system is cause for extreme disquiet.
The death from a thousand cuts is not a cliché. These men and women occupy the highest office in the land; they owe the system, and the people they were elected to represent the greatest respect. Democracy is a fragile institution and must be handled with the greatest of care, and deference. This act of blatant bastardry to achieve a success is reprehensible.
It proves, conclusively, that politicians are more concerned about staying in power than good governance. Victoria has an election in November of this year, while the Federal election is due before November of 2019. Never was it a more appropriate time to think seriously about how you vote, and for whom! Sir Winston Churchill contended: ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time-to-time, and failed.’ The major problem is not with the politicians; it is with us. We elect one of the two major parties; we then proceed to blindfold the leader, tie their hands behind their back, surround them with protest politicians who are bereft of policies and who were elected on a populist notion, and then tell the incumbent party to govern! It is an impossibility.
It creates a conundrum which would rattle the Wisdom of Solomon.
We live in difficult times. I am a swinging-voter. I listen; consider; then make a judgement. Sadly, it is becoming more difficult. In times past we all sourced our information from the same numerous outlets. There was a commonality which no longer exists. There was more truth to what we were being told. We watched the same news services; read the same newspapers; listened to the same radio stations; and debated the political point in meetings and groups. Social media has changed the landscape, irrevocably, and dangerously.
We are hearing of social media attempts to influence, and alter, election results. Sources are less reliable; bloggers tamper with truth as they see fit; politicians and journalist contort and edit facts to suit an agenda; journalists are permitted to editorialise; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are cess pits of disinformation. We live in a news-world of half-truths and misrepresentations. Separating fact from opinion has become increasingly more difficult. President Trump calls it fake news – and he is correct. People will say, and do, anything to win the election. The Nunawading voting card scam of 1985 is a prime example. The former Victorian Premier, Jeffrey Kennett, stated publicly that Peter Batchelor, the state secretary of the Labor Party, and later MP for Thomastown, was lucky he did not go to jail over his involvement.
We have the government and the politicians for whom we voted. It was our democratic choice. We cannot blame other people for a situation of our own making. The solution is simple. Stop the protest voting: ‘I don’t like any other them. I am going to vote for Pauline Hanson.’ Of course, that is your prerogative; however, as you vote, so shall you live! A government cannot function, and bring-about serious change, if it is hamstrung by independent politicians determined to satisfy their own personal agenda. The balance of power is a serious responsibility. So, too, is your vote. Do not waste it. You have the opportunity to make a difference. Listen, and vote wisely.
The German playwright and poet, Berthold Brecht, wrote: ‘Watch closely the film clips of your leaders, walking and talking, as they hold in their cruel hands the threads of your fate’.
Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30.