We’re now just ruled by selfishness
AUSTRALIAN politics is broken.
And there is no obvious solution. As a nation we are now ruled by selfishness, ambition and ego. The citizens are an afterthought.
The shambles and horror that is Canberra was again on show today. It's pitiful.
Malcolm Turnbull in some ways has only himself to blame. He debased himself by pandering to the lunatic wing of his party.
His reward? Around 40 per cent of them want to replace him with Peter Dutton, a man whose entire lack of distinction would have made him a peripheral figure at any other time in Australia's political history. Now he could still become our seventh prime minister in the past 11 years.
Then we have Tony Abbott. A man with two interests in life. Tony Abbott and destroying Turnbull. A man so unreliable he has spent recent months campaigning against the Paris agreement on climate change - that he signed. His defence appears to be he was too stupid to understand what he was agreeing to. And let's not forget: a genuinely terrible PM.
But it's not just the Libs. A month ago there was fevered speculation that Bill Shorten was to be chopped in favour of Anthony Albanese. Shorten is a deeply unlovable character.
There is something of the grifter about him. That if he shook your hand, you'd count your fingers afterwards.
But Labor's alternative is Albanese's "good bloke'' schtick, which wears thin quickly.
The Greens are floundering. The waves of their decision a decade ago not to support Labor's emission trading scheme are still lapping at the shores of the nation's energy policy. This decade-long national leadership vacuum has given life to all sorts of fringe figures, pushing all sorts of wacky theories.
Last week was spent discussing whether a Queensland senator was in favour of reintroducing a White Australia policy. A discussion that hasn't been heard in Australia for 40 years, in the same way we haven't felt the need to discuss whether women needed to quit their job once they were married.
The increasing professionalisation of modern politics carries some of the blame. Increasing number of MPs are products of the system. Student politics, jobs in union or business organisations, move to a political office then into parliament. Every step on the ladder requires a level of ruthlessness, self-importance and cunning. The most important skill is learning to play the game of politics.
The sadness is there seems no way to escape. It's not that there is no light at the end of the tunnel but there is no end to the tunnel.
Australian politics is broken.
Michael McGuire is a senior writer for The Adelaide Advertiser.