Thursday, 2 September 2010

Lurching on

Although I fear we are headed for an conservative Abbott government, and am trying not to care, tonight's news that Independent Andrew Wilkie is supporting the ALP has revived some failing and faltering hopes.

It is amazing how you can fall into casual yet impassioned conversations about politics with total strangers. Yesterday at the bus stop in the city a woman sank onto the bench beside me and complained loudly and eloquently about her exhaustion resulting from the delay in knowing what make of government we are about to have. So I gave her the benefit of my views and she cheered up somewhat, notwithstanding missing her bus, which she had failed to hail as I expounded my views. Naturally it shot right past her. Talk about transfixing an audience. I am tempted to rent a soapbox. Oh well, an electronic one will have to do for now.

It is depressing how few people have any idea of the work done by politicians and the Parliament. Yes, they actually pass laws, generally designed to benefit the nation - although sometimes they mistake the nature of the benefits. And yes, most of the laws are complex and very technical, and would make the average eyes glaze over. But it is not all personal abuse and name-calling, as in Question Time.

For those who cannot follow all the complexities of the average taxation or superannuation laws, those affecting the health system, Commonwealth State relations, and economic management, let alone climate change science and emissions trading schemes, it is necessary to adopt a form of shorthand in order to make political choices. This involves looking at the different values held by all the parties and groups, and trying to decide which of these best suit our needs, values and interests, as well the the welfare of the whole nation.  Parties do try to simplify their messages, and to appeal to as many voters as possible. Inevitably political messages get diluted. But it IS possible to do some homework and to find out more about policies, legislation and programs. The Parliament's website is not a bad place to start, and there are available summaries of legislation, and much other useful information.

I get very depressed and discouraged when I overhear people grumbling about how politicians are a self-serving lot, how they are all the same, and not worth a crumpet. Some are, some are not, but in my experience of the Parliament for 30 years most of them work hard, and are dedicated and able. Some are sleazebags who give any rational person the creeps, but most are not. People think it is fine to pay business executives millions of dollars, and to give them huge termination payments (such as the couple of millions paid to the David Jones man who lost his position because he (allegedly) habitually sexually harassed female workers, and that American Sol Trujillo who ran Telstra although perhaps not according to the general welfare of the industry or the nation - what was his payout? about $10 million?) but complain that the ministers still in office continue to be paid - they are, after all, probably still attending to the business of government.

Whatever happened to that nice British saying 'Mustn't grumble'?

Well, enough of all this. I am off to Canberra tomorrow to help my son and grandchildren move house. Our family is pitching in to help. Dr P is very lethargic, and is sleeping for large parts of the day, and says he feels he will go to sleep and just not wake again. I don't think his condition is as dire as this. I hope not, anyway.  V, the SD1, and/or her son B1 will be taking care of him. As usual, I am totally frustrated by their incredible failures in communication, and I hope they do not get up to anything in my absence. And that all goes well with my trip, and that I will be able to indulge in some motherly and grandmotherly care and devotion.


Elisabeth said...

I'm feeling a tad more optimistic too, post Andrew Wilkie's decision to side with Labour, but I won't feel comfortable till the decision making is over and we have a properly installed female PM.

Meggie said...

It seems to me, there should be another election, though I fear the result.

I hope you have a lovely time with your family. I trust Dr P will come to no harm under the ministrations of SD1 or any other sundry family members, in your absence.
Enjoy your family.