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Policy or Politics?

Oh Australian Politics. You have been so shameful recently. Not because of corruption or negligence but because of the school yard fighting.  The name calling and muck raking is more juvenile than a year 5 class room.

I am so over it.

I don’t care about gender in politics. It shouldn’t matter. You are all able to get the job done. That is all that should matter, no matter your gender.  Yet, the Prime Minister continues to play this card.  A bunch of men wearing blue ties. She’s including a hell of a lot of members of her own party in that gender classification. No wonder she is losing support by the truck load from within her own party.

And then we have #menugate. Oh the hashtag allows everyone on Twitter to join in on the conversation on this one. Describing the Prime Minister as a small breasted and big thighed woman was a disgrace for the venue that held the dinner, but I’ll come clean and laughed when I first heard that ‘joke’ a couple of years ago. Now, it’s no longer funny.  It’s distracting the nation from having a more important conversation.

And finally what about the continual talk of the Labor leadership? Ex-PM, Kevin Rudd has consistenly denied he won’t ever be making a challenge for the leadership of the Labor party and therefore a return as Prime Minister. We’ve had a gut full of it all. It’s a distraction from the more important conversation.

It’s time for a change and I think it’s has to be driven by the media. Oh yes, the media. You are not without blame in all of this as well.  You continue to report on stories such as the ones I’ve already spoken about. The Australian public, and I dare I speak on behalf of all of us, have had it up to our eye balls with this stuff.

We want to hear about POLICY. Not POLITICS.

  • We want to hear how the government plans on putting us back into surplus, sooner rather than later.
  • We want to know how you will stop the boats safely to avoid hundreds or thousands more people dying in a dangerous journey in a rickety old boat over an unforgiving passage of dangerous water.
  • We want to know who will be brave enough to legalise same sex marriage.  The majority of the population support this. You are here to govern for the majority.
  • We want to know how the government will protect the environment and protect jobs at the same time.
  • We want to know how families, living in poverty, will be given a fair go to climb out of the basement and into a standard way of living. Note I didn’t say the penthouse. They just want the basic necessities to live by.
  • We want to see improvement in skills and training for all and how we keep Aussie jobs in Australia and how we can compete in an ever increasing globalised society.

Who will answer the call?  Is there anyone out there?  At the moment, I can’t see how either Labor or the Coalition can do this. They’ve descended into such an insipid and derogatory tone, I just don’t think they get it.  Will Clive Palmer and his United Party make a difference?  What about Bob Katter and his new party?  Or will the Democrats rise again?  All interesting questions and only time will tell.

The media in Australia is strong and whether we like it or not, they dictate the debate and tell us what they want us to hear.  They seem to be more interested in the muck raking than the policies. Well at least that is my opinion on the way the media reports in this country, across all of the networks and cable TV.  We need a real life Will McEvoy from the fictional TV drama, The Newsroom. We need someone who will continually ask the tough questions and leave the personalities out of the discussion.

But if we get this someone, we, the people, need to watch and listen and also ask the important questions. We need to stop hash tagging #menugate and #convoyofcleavage and instead start hash tagging #howaboutpolicy or #climate or #jobsforoz instead.

 I’ve had enough. What about you?

Politics – The Minimum Voting Age

I know that politics is generally a very boring subject and today will be no exception but I would like to throw out a couple of ideas to shake up the political landscape.  I would love to get your feedback and see if there are more like minded people out there.

Firstly I would like to see the minimum age for voting increased from the current 18 years to a minimum of 25 years.  Secondly I would like to see the current political system based on the centuries old parliamentary system disbanded and replaced with a better system.  I’ll discuss each idea separately and briefly so as not to have you move onto the next web page offering much better entertainment than what I am offering here.

  1. Increase the minimum voting age to 25

I am basing this on my own experiences.  At the age of 18 I really had no idea about policies and political parties and really had very little idea how it all worked.  I was a popularity voter and when I was first able to vote in 1990 I voted for the politician who I liked the most, Bob Hawke. I knew nothing of his politics, I knew nothing about his party’s politics, I just liked the way he spoke and as he was the current Prime Minister he was the most common politician I ever saw in the media.  He was also very popular for being the Australian Prime Minister at the time when Australia II won the America’s Cup in 1983 and went on TV and told Aussie bosses they were bums if they sacked anyone for being late for work that day.  Who couldn’t love the guy for that alone.

By the time of the next election I was perhaps 20 or 21 and Paul Keating had taken over from Bob Hawke as Prime Minister in a leadership spill.  I liked Paul Keating more than I liked then opposition leader, Dr John Hewson.  I liked Keating’s arrogance and therefore I voted for him.  Again I didn’t understand, or even try to understand his or the Labor parties politics, it was purely a personality vote.

Then John Howard,the leader of the Liberal Party won the election and became Australia’s 25th Prime Minister.

I think I voted for Paul Keating that election but I really don’t remember but in 1996 at the age of 24 I still didn’t really understand politics all too well.  What happened was that John Howard then stayed in office for 11 years.  During this 11 years I got a little older and a little wiser and I started to understand politics a little better.  All of a sudden issues that were important to me like immigration and tax relief and home ownership were also hot agenda topics for the Australian government.  I liked the fact that John Howard was taking a stance against illegal boat people.  I liked the fact that he introduced first home ownership schemes.  I liked the fact that interest rates were falling to a level that would allow me to be able to afford to buy my own home which after all is the great Australian dream.  Then something peculiar happened, I started voting based on issues and not based on popularity.

My point is that I think the majority of young adults under 25 would be similar to me and not really have an understanding of policies and would be simply voting based on what mum and dad have always voted or based on personalities.  By increasing the voting age to 25 it is possible that this could alter the outcome of an election and therefore policies.  I’m not sure how much of the voting population is based on the 18 to 24 age bracket but it could be significant and enough to bring about an election result based on popularity and not just on policies.  Especially if it is likely to be a very close election, personalities could be the difference between the leaders and therefore their political parties forming government.

The only part of this I don’t like is that those 18 to 24 year olds who do understand what is going on will not have the opportunity to have their right to have a say about who their leader is.  The compromise here is that those who are under 25 are not obligated to vote and therefore it is not compulsory for them to do so.  I honestly couldn’t give a rats arse if I voted or not back in my youth and only did so because I had to.  A comment was made to me the other day that if you change the minimum voting age you also have to change the minimum drinking and gambling age and also the minimum age to serve in the Australian defence forces.  I don’t think it has to go that far.

Ok so this went a bit longer than I thought so I will continue this discussion with my second point in the next day or so.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  How would you feel if you couldn’t vote until you were 25?  Do you have a better idea?  I would love to hear what you think?