Have you ever wondered why as a group of people, politicians leave themselves so readily open to ridicule. Take one look at the current batch of Australian federal politicians for a moment.
We have a minority government, with the balance of power held by a few independent cross-benchers. The Australian Labor Party didn’t so much as lose the last election rather than the Liberal coalition, a party in complete disarray without a viable and effective leader since the demise of John Howard, failed to win it. Remember John Howard? History will record him as one of the few sitting Prime Ministers ever to have lost his seat at a general election; and to a first time novice candidate.
Anyway, here we have this minority Labor government. What a strange group they are too. There’s Craig Thompson. He is being investigated by police for alleged fraud and credit card irregularities. The alleged attempt to disguise payments to a Sydney-based escort agency undermines Mr Thomson’s recent claim that his signature was forged when he was Health Services Union boss. In further damaging evidence, court documents conclusively show his mobile telephone was used to contact escort agencies recorded on his credit card. They also show he tried to phone two other escort agencies that have not been previously revealed. The Opposition yesterday tried to force Mr Thomson to front up to Parliament to answer claims he used a union credit card to pay for prostitutes. But the Gillard Government, which would likely fall if he is forced to resign, blunted the attack. If a majority government existed, Mr Thompson would have long ago been dismissed. But no, he appears to be a protected species – at least for the time being.
Then there is the Prime Minister herself. Ms Gillard born in Barry in Wales, she has a peculiar accent that is neither Australian nor Welsh. She is a redhead with pale skin and a prominent nose. This persona is a cartoonist dream, thus she often wears the brunt of the cartoonist’s pen. She lives in de facto relationship which is possibly not the best example for a head of state to set, especially when moving and travelling in conservative Christian and Islamic circles.
Then there’s Peter Slipper. Magnificently poached from the Opposition after 21 years as the Liberal member for Fisher in Queensland. How did the government achieve this feat and boost heir numbers by one? Easy, offer him the position of Speaker of the House. This position is usually held by a member of the government – but not always. As a result of this treachery, Peter resigned from the Liberal party and became an independent for Fisher – at least until the next election – where his constituents will probably repay him for that treachery.
There is well known adage that states that a politicians only job is to get re-elected, and they thank God they only have to do that once every three or four years! Long enough for people to forget their past stupidities.
Speaking of re-election and looking wider afield, consider the former polkovnik (colonel) of the Communist KGB who overnight converted to democracy to become the second President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Because of constitutional mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term. After the victory of his successor, Dmitry Medvedev in the 2008 presidential elections, Putin was nominated by Medvedev to be Russia’s Prime Minister. Putin took office on 8 May 2008. Not satisfied with this, and with a lust to remain in power, in September 2011 Putin officially announced that he would seek a third, non-consecutive term in the 2012 presidential elections. What do you do when the constitution forbids another term? You change the constitution! His intention to circumvent the constitution and prolong his rule, proved extremely unpopular with Russian people, and was believed to be a cause of the 2011 Russian election protests. He appears not able to exist without the elixir of power. Oh dear!
Having said all this – who are the bigger fools? The politicians with their antics and their grab on power, or we the electorate who put them there?
Finally, how do you tell when a politician is lying? Their lips are moving!