It is apparent that several politicians here in Australia believe that we should be paying for their children. With recent stories about pollies claiming for rock concert tickets for their children as legitimate expenses and business class air travel for holidays and special events. I have had a quick look at the makeup of the “independent” tribunal set up to have a look at politicians entitlements, and frankly I think there are too many politicians on the tribunal to give me any confidence that this will change substantially.
Ultimately we are responsible of course because we keep voting for them. It has often been said that we get the politicians we deserve. Uh oh.
I don’t know how many of you would have travelled in ‘business class’ when you were children, certainly not me. I have only done it once as an adult (and loved it). The idea that it is ok to have your children travel business class and have someone else pick up the tab, someone you do not know, is outrageous. I don’t care if it is within the rules, it is not OK, ok?
It is clear that several of our politicians need help in the “what is OK?” category, so I thought it might be useful if we came up with a test that they could use. Some might say that a test should be completely unnecessary and that pollies should just have a moral compass and exercise it. I may agree with that in principle, but it is quite clear that many don’t have one, and the ownership of one is rooted in the idea that pollies are like the rest of us. Clearly that is a leap in logic, a jump too far.
So what sort of test is reasonable? What about something like, “if I run it by the bloke at the local servo, and he says “you are kidding, right?” then that may work. Maybe it needs to be a little more ‘third person’ along the lines of “I know this guy, and he was thinking of taking a holiday with his kids and going to a live concert, and we were all going to travel business class, and then we were going to send the bill to someone else, but not tell them, what do you think? Would that be Ok?”
Then the politician could wait a while as the bloke at the servo loads his gun, or grabs a filleting knife, or whatever self-protection mechanism he has at his disposal behind the counter and brandishes it with menace.
Yeah I think that works better. Not even our thick-skinned, rudderless politicians could be in doubt about that.
Ultimately though, we are responsible. we keep turning up, we keep relying on the absurd party system in this country to select the best candidates and then we keep voting for these people. The very notion of putting my faith in either party is worrying me, a lot. As utterly annoying as this is though, it could be worse, we could be preparing to vote in the USA I guess.
Note. Michael is the curator of the Life Log Project in Sydney Australia. To learn more go to http://www.thelifelogproject.com.au