Whinge away – as long as you’re not part of the problem

The Punch publishes an article declaring that “Disrespecting pollies is as Aussie as flies at a barbie“:

In the final analysis, if political offices and political participants yearn for more respect, the first lesson they have to learn is that respect has to be earned. That is the message voters should send to their elected representatives.

Unfortunately, Mr Jaensch doesn’t spell out what this would entail: VOTING FOR POLITICIANS THAT DON’T DO THE THINGS YOU SAY YOU DESPISE.

The problem is that the people who whinge loudest about politicians “lying” to them keep voting for the ones that do. The people who whinge loudest about parties being beholden to “factions” keep voting for big parties made up of factions. The people who whinge loudest about corruption keep voting for parties that are corrupt.

The only way to get better politicians is to vote for better politicians. I am confident that I do. If you’re not confident about yours – perhaps you should vote for someone else.

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12 responses to “Whinge away – as long as you’re not part of the problem

  1. A friend of mine was cold-called recently and polled about his hypothetical voting intentions. (He couldn’t remember who was conducting the poll which irritated me a tad but didn’t surprise me as he’s notoriously vague.) He nominated The Greens as his primary vote but when asked for his two party preferred he replied “Neither of them”. When the researcher told him – with some irritation, he reports – that he had to choose one of the two majors he told her “No I don’t, they’re both f*#cked. Neither of them represent my views, both have unacceptable policies on ‘deal-breaker’ issues so I’m drawing another box on the ballot with ‘None of the remainding’ as my ‘2’”.
    A wasted vote, I know, but I kinda respect it. It’s like a choice between starving or eating from a selection of dog turds.

  2. Yeah, as you say, that’s a bad idea because it rewards the big parties for being those turds. The Greens lose a vote, and the money that goes with that vote, with which they could campaign effectively against the big parties.

    That’s right – the big parties win by making Greens voters so angry that they can’t bring themselves to fill out their preferences. Diabolical.

    So long as we don’t have optional preferencing it’s vital that Greens voters fill in all their preferences, recognising that it doesn’t actually mean they like or support those other parties.

  3. Yeah, that’s what I said. I suspect he does actually register a formal vote but was just being contrary with the researcher to make a point. Still, I can understand his frustration: as we have compulsory voting (which, incidentally, I fully support), the lack of optional preferencing means the only way of supporting the party & policies that one believes in (if they’re not one of the majors) results in rewarding some party and realising some policies that one can find reprehensible. Kinda makes me feel compromised, even a little dirty.

  4. I have no problem with people complaining about politicians as long as that doesn’t morph into a far more damaging meme about the uselessness of government (like we’re currently seeing in the US).

    Government can be a tremendous force for good in the right hands – it’s just a shame that today’s career politicians are such a worthless bunch of arse-hats.

    From my perspective there are NO politicians today who I could bring myself to passionately support. The Greens are principled but their policies are too idealistic for me; Labor has no principles at all, and the Liberals are only principled in their pursuit of being bastards.

  5. Totally agree with Mondo. It would be great if more politicians had experience out in the real world where the majority of people earn less than $60K. There are far too many lawyers, bankers, union bosses, straight-out-of-uni political science students, and privileged family-money types on both side of politics. Not to mention the religiously inclined seemed to be far better represented in parliament than their numbers outside of it should suggest.

    A little more perspective—and *ack* representation—in our reps wouldn’t go astray.

    Anyway, I like the Greens idealistic social policies, some of their economic policies, few of their environmental policies, and almost none of their foreign policies. That puts them at the top of my list for the time being because I know they have enough power to get some of their social policies through parliament but not enough power to screw too much with the economy or diplomatic relations.

    I don’t passionately support them, though I will defend them if I think they’re being unfairly slurred. Unfortunately that is almost constantly, so I’m often accused of being a socialist commie rabid lefty despite not really fitting that mould too snugly—I just like facts.

  6. “Government can be a tremendous force for good in the right hands – it’s just a shame that today’s career politicians are such a worthless bunch of arse-hats”

    I have to agree with this, in fact I’d say governments are vital if we want to enjoy a civil society. Bob Brown is my favourite politician but I don’t even trust him, I just agree with a lot of what he stands for. Not everything, eg I’m pro nuclear energy as a way for less developed countries to solve their energy and pollution issues. The Greens won’t budge on nuclear.

    “The Greens are principled but their policies are too idealistic for me; Labor has no principles at all, and the Liberals are only principled in their pursuit of being bastards.”

    Neat summation though I wouldn’t say the Greens are too idealistic but what would I know ?? ;)

  7. I find filling in the senate ballot entertaining. I mean it takes some thought and creativity to fill it in from both ends. ie. put in 1st choice, maybe second and third then go to the end and fill in by starting with the biggest excuse for a human and working backwards. Hate it when you miss a real stinker and they haven’t been put quite as far down as you’d like. Gotta study the unaligned groups carefully. I have asked for replacement ballots when I stuff it up with 2 55’s or something. I like to see a system where if you’re on the ballot and get below a certain number of votes (?50), or perhaps are in the bottom 10 on the senate ballot that you can’t stand again for 10 years or something. Sick of the same loons appearing every time.

  8. jordanrastrick

    The Greens are principled but their policies are too idealistic for me;

    What do you consider is the difference in this context between being strongly principled and being idealistic?

    In the final analysis, if political offices and political participants yearn for more respect, the first lesson they have to learn is that respect has to be earned.

    Another issue with this is that its far too broad. There are politicians who deserve respect, but most people aren’t especially politically engaged and so tend toward a default generic attitude of cynicism and disrespect towards all politicians, in equal measure. This to an extent creates the same kind of “market for lemons” effect you see with used cars – since few members of the public will give you respect as a politician under any circumstances, where are your incentives to earn it? The best you can generally do in that circumstance is to try and maintain self-respect, or perhaps the respect of your (respectable) colleagues and opponents.

  9. What do you consider is the difference in this context between being strongly principled and being idealistic?

    None – one can be idealistic in their principles and hold to them strongly.

  10. jordanrastrick

    No difference? So the Greens have principles, which makes them better, but are too principled, which makes them worse?

  11. I don’t understand the word “idealistic” to mean someone who is too principled.

  12. Which policies of the Greens do you find too idealistic?

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