Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Politicians at play

By Judy Cannon - posted Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Turning on the television last week, my first thought was: “Oh, it’s Play School.” Another look showed: No, it wasn’t Play School. It was an extract from Federal Parliamentary proceedings.

It seems one leader had a fistful of photographs, blown up large for display. Another pollie - could it have been on another day? - waved a big red placard which seemed to have a cheque format. It would be reasonable to conclude that it was big fat cheque with a whopper of a figure on it. How so?

Perhaps it was a maths lesson?


One side said if you borrow this amount, this and this would happen. The other side said if it were governing it would borrow too, but less, and would do it better.

No, it was not a maths lesson. It was an exercise in upmanship (or upwomanship?) in true schoolyard style. They were apparently discussing the nation’s finances, but it was not at all clear. Each side was so busy throwing invective at the other and doing their best to belittle an opponent. So where did that get us? How did that help the economy? Or even the price of fish?

“I’ve got the best photos!” One waved photographs for all to see.

“No, you haven’t,” answered the other. “I’ve got the best blow ups.”

“Yaddie yaddie yah, so there,” and so they went on. Or something like that.

But who or what were they fighting about? Could it be the global financial crisis? No, not really, even if it provided the immediate excuse. Could it be imminent climate change challenges? Nah. Maybe, the swine flu epidemic we all expect to get? Nah. They were on about what they relish most. Scoring party political points: it is a most satisfying occupation. Let’s face it, biffing the other fellow in public is much more invigorating than boring old government and governing, and all that stuff. And it was probably going to be on TV!


Always so eager for the next party political joust, neither political side (perhaps all sides) seem to recognise just how jacked off with their antics are Mr and Ms Australia. “A plague on both your houses” does not come near to reflecting the anger, frustration and scepticism you hear at the shopping centre, in the pub, or from the inevitable taxi driver. As Mr and Ms Australia deeply worry about finances and impending climate change (putting the flu on hold as a seasonal event), they see such party political antics as self-indulgent kiddie games. To them it has little or nothing to do with government, or caring for the nation (i.e., their children’s future). They see it for the partisan self-serving nonsense it is.

Whatever made politicians think that Mr and Ms Australia were so dumb?

From time to time we hear throw-away comments about a nanny state. Well, perhaps the nanny state bit is not such a bad idea. We’ll put her in charge of the pollies so they learn to think about other things - and not just about their factions, their own careers and how next time, they can give it to “the others”. That’ll sort ’em! She or he (we must not be discriminatory) could bring some order to the play yard. Forgive me, I forgot. It’s the Federal Parliament, not a kindergarten. I quite mistook it. So who is governing as they play? The bureaucracy? Dear, oh dear, what about democracy?

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

2 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Judy Cannon is a journalist and writer, and occasional contributor to On Line Opinion. Her family biography, The Tytherleigh Tribe 1150-2014 and Its Remarkable In-Laws, was published in 2014 by Ryelands Publishing, Somerset, UK. Recently her first e-book, Time Traveller Woldy’s Diary 1200-2000, went up on Amazon Books website. Woldy, a time traveller, returns to the West Country in England from the 12th century to catch up with Tytherleigh descendants over the centuries, and searches for relatives in Australia, Canada, America and Africa.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Judy Cannon

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Judy Cannon
Article Tools
Comment 2 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy