The Greens have come out of this election mess smelling sweeter than the rest. The ALP pulled at least two wrong reins: not standing on their principles and calling a double dissolution over the emission trading scheme, and then axing their leader and replacing him with another slice of milk toast on climate change.
How sad that the ALP couldn’t deal with Rudd’s mannerisms or personality, sadder still that they keep choosing unsuitable people. We can all blush over Mark Latham, but we should also blush over Julia’s ridiculous use of cliche over substance. The ‘real’ Julia, the ‘yes we will’, the ‘moving forward’, without tying any of it down to real action, that was all stepping backwards.
The strength of a Parliamentary system is supposed to be the ability to form solid policy by consensus, not to mimic a grandiose presidential system with a superhero at the helm. Rudd should have been tamed and they should have marched to victory – after all, Australia was not as battered as other countries by the GFC, wastage from the stimulus notwithstanding (although that was another big pointer to the need for governance reform). Why didn’t they listen when told about the insulation scandal? or the over-spending in schools? Somebody was sloppy, or compromised, as with the Wretched Gretch affair: lots of warnings, no attention paid.
But the bullying and posing that passes for management in some parts of the public service seems to have been equally absorbed by the Parliament. Maybe that’s where it originated, if you look back to the classic text on neo-liberalism in Canberra by Michael Pusey.
Now the cat’s out of the bag, the independents are increasiungly bolshie, and the previously unheeded murmurs calling for a carbon tax are bubbling up to a roar. Suddenly we can dispense with the big talk fest, which was all Julia was able to offer.
And now it just might be possible to have a kinder polity, as Abbott suddenly realises, and perhaps private member’s bills and other forms of collegiality might get a look in. Have a look at the extensive papers on electoral and parliamentary reform on the Democratic Audit of Australia site: time for real change, and the ALP needs it internally more than ever. Are theypaying attention in NSW, or just hoping their spin will compensate in time for the election next March?
All overdue, and this surprisingly dramatic turn of events just might reinvigorate our democracy. Or they can all run and hide, but not forever.
The ACT has announced it will go for a 40% cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. This was the policy many community activists were pushing hard for, especially the group ‘Canberra Loves 40%’.
A triumph of the local will – and if our federal elected officials don’t listen, they can expect to be booted by those who do.