Last Thursday Senator Derryn Hinch said in the Senate at the height of the final throes of PM Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership: “An elected prime minister, I believe - seeing that the people of Australia elected him … should serve his full term”.
So does this column; but there was one thing wrong with Hinch’s accuracy. We, the voters, don’t get to elect the PM and therein may be the great problem that has seen the circus merry-go-round of PMs in the last 10 years. As well, the column would increase the term of a government to five years to give it a reasonable chance at reforms and stability.
Unfortunately, there is only a slim chance that politicians of any major party would listen to the case for the people electing their PM; these politicians would do anything these days to avoid listening to voters.
There is a strongly held view by many in the political arena and an increasing number of voters that the major parties have failed in their responsibility to govern in the best interests of all Australians; that they are primarily there to protect their well paid jobs and their party remaining in government, irrespective of the havoc they are inflicting.
It is a shameful reflection on the notion of democracy that our politicians, particularly those of the major parties, make promises like “we are there for you” as one Coalition MP did in the middle of the circus last Friday, but then fail comprehensively to make any attempt to alter our constitution to bring change about; not even allowing us a vote on federal polling day to select the person we would want as PM.
An elected prime minister, I believe - seeing that the people of Australia elected him … should serve his full term.Senator Derryn Hinch
It could be argued that allowing the people to vote for a nation’s leader might also inflict upon it a situation that exists in the US today with President Donald Trump; at least voters can tip him out at the next election.
Today’s MPs, or most of them, are always urging us to adapt to change; that is we, the taxpayers and voters, must do so but they refuse point blank to canvass change to our constitution. The political doyen, Sir Winston Churchill, once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” but it is suggested that it, too, can be improved as Don Chipp, first leader of the Australian Democrats, argued.
More importantly, however, is that grass roots members of a party should be able to vote at pre-selection and therein lies the problem that exists today of parties putting forward inferior candidates.
The column recalls an incident in a Wagga pre-selection poll some decades ago where a prominent local man stood. He was greeted at the door by a party official from Sydney who thanked him for standing but told him in no uncertain terms, head office had made its decision and it wouldn’t be him.
State Governments and their parties are also unwarranted; one example, the flinging about of money in the Wagga state byelection.
Another, Queensland’s LNP contributed to the Coalition’s Canberra debacle last week because they were trying to save their own miserable skins, based on the Super Saturday by-election form, from defeat in the coming Federal election.
What a frightened, indecisive lot this policy-less Liberal Party has become. Yet, their forebears, it is remembered, mercilessly mocked Labor’s “faceless men”. Who are the faceless men and women of the Liberal Party who endorsed the current rabble? Who needs enemies within when you have “friends” like Abbott, Abetz and Andrews - the Three A’s as they are called?; but, there is hope, slight though it may be.
As one of this column’s correspondents, with more than 30 years’ experience in the political scene, wrote: “The Conservatives do not currently represent mainstream Australia and they never will.
The main issue for the future is whether Abbott and his compatriots will accept their defeat on the PM or seek to destroy Scott Morrison as they did Turnbull. It was very sensible of the party room to elect a moderate in Morrison as a Dutton government would have been a disaster”.
How can the Liberals restore some respect? Listen to the people not the ravings of far right extremists like Allan Jones, Ray Hadley and the octogenarian Rupert Murdoch (who doesn’t even live in Australia and hasn’t done so for decades).
Shorten said last Thursday as his opponents ran for cover: “The purpose of government is to uplift the nation’s vision”.
It is also, as Captain Charles Sturt, said: “Our duty is to serve the public”. All of them!
That’s the challenge awaiting Shorten.