Parliamentary Playground: Why The Major Parties Can No Longer Be Trusted

The Australian political scene is becoming more of a mess by the minute. Politicians are making mistakes which could potentially cost them their political careers, promises are being made but not being kept, the leaders of various parties are making all the wrong decisions and continue to attempt sweet talking their way out of everything, and there are party members quitting their parties everywhere, with some defecting to others. It’s a mess that nobody can seem to control, and those within the general public are beginning to show signs of unrest, losing faith in the major political parties and instead turning to other minor parties and independents. And if they haven’t already, then they likely will soon.

It’s not surprising really. Both of the major political parties are becoming highly unstable. Each is experiencing their own issues. And these issues, many of which stem from the inner workings of the parties, are really starting to stack up now, and are toppling over onto the world outside the Parliamentary bubble that exists within and surrounds Canberra. If this continues to happen, and the Parliament continues to be run in the state of disarray that it is more often than not in, then the Parliament as we know it will crumble and fall, and give way to new leadership, and most likely, a new way of the Parliament being operated, with a completely new playing field. Let’s have a look into what the main issues are within each of the major parties.

First, the Liberal Government, probably the most unstable, problematic government we have ever seen in Australian Parliamentary history. If it’s not Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull making a fool of himself, it’s one of his cabinet members. And you’ll notice that it’s always a member of his cabinet, and it’s rarely ever a backbencher in his party. In the last year or so alone, the Turnbull government has got barely anything done, if you view it in comparison to what they could have achieved without all the problems taking attention away from important Parliamentary matters that needed priority. Not only did they succumb to the Citizenship Crisis which took the Australian Parliament by storm in 2017, Turnbull himself stated quite clearly in Parliament when Barnaby’s presence there was questioned that ‘The leader of the National Party, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia is qualified to sit in this house and the High Court will so hold.’ A statement which made him look like a fool when Barnaby Joyce was indeed found to be ineligible to sit in the House of Representatives by the High Court on October 27, 2017, and subsequently had to stand for re-election into Parliament at the by-election later in 2017, which he won quite easily, being returned to the House a later on at their next sitting, where he walked in triumphantly with Malcolm Turnbull at his side grinning.

However it was to be a short lived victory. Barnaby Joyce announced when he was back in Parliament for the same-sex marriage bill that he had split from his wife earlier that year. And people empathised with him, wishing the two of them and their daughters all the very best after the split. But then the whole thing blew up to a whole new level, creating chaos not only for Barnaby but also for Malcolm Turnbull and the Government, when it was discovered that Barnaby Joyce’s former staffer Vikki Campion was pregnant with his child. The news came out that they had been together for a few months, and things just kept on progressing, what with the media getting involved. But what this really did was bring down Barnaby Joyce’s political career, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull making additions to the rulebook for MPs, and Barnaby’s subsequent resignation from the role of Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party after a battle of words with Turnbull. Barnaby took a seat on the backbench and ended up joining the Monash Forum, a group which consisted of Liberal MPs Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews, while Nationals MP Michael McCormack was voted in as the new National Party Leader and Deputy PM. But then, months later, after the baby had been born and Barnaby had said that he wanted his privacy, he went and signed a deal to tell his story with his new partner to Channel Seven’s Sunday Night for 150 thousand dollars. A deal which made him look like a hypocrite. But that’s not the end of the Liberal National Government’s problems.

Other than that, there has been the issues surrounding Senator Michaelia Cash, the Minister for Jobs and Innovation, another of Malcolm’s inner circle, who came into controversy after her office allegedly tipped off the media to the Australian Federal Police’s raid on the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) late last year. And after having two subpoenas tossed aside, she is now being subpoenaed for a third time to front the Federal Court and give evidence relating to the AWU raids last year, meaning she would need to produce documents about the raid. She is once again attempting to have the subpoena set aside, which many on the Opposition are seeing as suspicious.

There was also John Alexander, the member for Bennelong, who made the announcement last year that, despite being uncertain, he would resign and run in a by election due to possibly being a dual citizen of Britain. The by election was run, with former Labor Premier Kristina Keneally making her return to the Parliamentary fold to challenge Alexander for his seat. John Alexander went on to win the by election, however it was discovered that he was actually never a dual citizen in the first place, which means that the by election was realistically a waste of taxpayer money.

And then there’s Malcolm Turnbull himself, who continues to lose Newspolls every cycle, attempting to draw attention away from the losses by pointing out things that the Government is doing, but really it’s all just a facade. Of particular note is the ‘jobs and growth’ tagline that he seems to be hiding behind all the time. And it’s not only him, it’s his party too. Everyone in his party seems set on reminding everyone in Australia of how many jobs they’ve created, with 1 million being a recurrent number. But he ignores the fact that the adult population has increased by 1.4 million, and in terms of growth in the GDP, Australia was at just 2.4% in 2017, which ranks Australia’s growth at 126th in the world, below Uganda, East Timor, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Turnbull isn’t one to face reality. He’s a businessman, not a politician, and whilst he may be achieving a few things here and there, it’s not going to work long term. And now with the ABC privatisation debacle, it’s getting worse. The ABC is a network that is funded by taxpayers, and it is not the government’s to sell, even if they vote to sell it. Turnbull should know this, and if he does sell it, it will reflect badly on the Government.

And now to the Labor Party, the Opposition in Parliament, led by former CFMEU boss Bill Shorten, a man who seems to also carry with him problem after problem. Let’s start with the Citizenship Crisis once again. When the initial fallout of the Crisis occurred, and members of the Greens, the Liberal and National Parties, and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, as well as Jacqui Lambie and Nick Xenophon (who resigned from the Senate anyway even though he was found to be eligible) the Labor Party were largely unaffected, with none of their party members being ousted, and none coming forward as dual citizens, and with leader Bill Shorten making a statement on morning television that he would later be haunted by. He made a ‘rolled gold guarantee’ that there was no one in the Labor Party that was a dual citizen, and that they had all been vetted extensively. However, only a month or so ago, 4 Labor MPs, 1 Senator and 3 Lower House Members, as well as a member of the formerly known Nick Xenophon team, Rebekah Sharkie, announced their resignation as a result of dual citizenship, triggering chaos in the Labor Party, and a Super Saturday of by elections. And Shorten was mocked by the Government in Parliament question time, with members of the Government constantly reminding him of his ‘rolled gold guarantee’ which just gave more depth to the chaos and the mess that Parliament is. And it didn’t reflect well on the Labor Party and Bull Shorten in particular in the next Newspoll, with Shorten losing points as preferred Prime Minister, and Anthony Albanese becoming a favourite to lead the Labor Party, although Albanese did say after that statistic was revealed that he wouldn’t think of challenging Bill Shorten, and said that he’s doing a good job in the leading role.

Then there’s Labor Senator Penny Wong. The Senator, who was, like most others in Parliament, confined in Budget lock up for the day of the Budget, made a severe error of judgement and broke one of the major rules of the Budget lock up, when she took Budget papers out of the lock up with her ahead of their official release time. Further, when the head of Treasury Security came to retrieve the documents from Senator Wong, she allegedly refused to come out of her office, however her spokespeople claimed at the time that she was never asked to come out of her office. And furthermore, Labor MPs Chris Bowen and Jenny Macklin were also involved in a confrontation with staff at the lock up, after they were prevented from leaving the lock up with the papers half an hour before the strict embargo on the papers for the Budget was lifted. The two MPs were allegedly reported by three members of staff later on, however nothing has occurred on that issue.

There are so many more issues that we could discuss, and if you’d like to discuss them in the comments, go right ahead. But I don’t want to make this too long, and there’s still a little more to add.

It’s easy to see why people are starting to turn away from the major parties and towards minor ones. And it would not be at all surprising if in the next election people voted for minor party candidates from parties like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, who admittedly have had their own fair share of problems more recently with the loss of Senators due to Citizenship and disagreements, and currently sit at two Senators in the Senate. Or The Australian Conservatives, Cory Bernardi’s fledgling Party, which is currently building up its resources and having Party members put forward their names to run in different electorates, and who may just find themselves gaining support in the next election, after having already contested by elections. Then there’s Katter’s Australia Party, the Centre Alliance (formerly known as the Nick Xenophon Team) the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the Jacqui Lambie Network, and so many more. People will turn to these minor parties because they trust them, and the Labor and Liberal/National Parties will lose seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Of course, we will most likely still have a Libera/National or Labor Government, but there will be change in the Parliament that makes it more difficult for them to reign in chaos, and many more people in the general public will be represented. The public are getting tired of seeing the same Parliamentary circus run over and over again, and are going to want to turn away from parties that are getting next to nothing done in Parliament, rather using it to take verbal jabs at each other. It’s getting out of hand, and it needs to stop.

So that’s it for this article. Thanks for reading, leave your comments below, like, share, subscribe/follow the blog by typing in your email in the box at the bottom of the page and hitting enter, and if you do you’ll be one of the first to know when future articles, short stories, reviews of the week, and whatever else is published on the blog site. Have a good one.

JJ

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