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A Hole Comments

Careering On In Politics

Careering On In Politics

Friday 8 April, 2016
A Hole, who in hindsight is Australia’s leading social commentator, argues that leaders of political parties should either be specialist Prime Ministers or Opposition Leaders because it’s unfair to expect them to be both.
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A Hole Comments on FridayMash

Tony Abbott was arguably Australia’s best Opposition Leader but he didn’t cut the mustard as Prime minister.

This has led many respected commentators like myself to question whether it’s unreasonable to expect anyone in this era of specialisation to be both an outstanding Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

Tony’s CV would have looked far more impressive if he’d just led the Coalition in opposition and allowed a specialist PM like Malcolm who wasn’t all that flash as Opposition Leader to take over once the Coalition got into government.

The more I think about this the more merit I can see in it. It’s just like having specialist captains for the Test, ODI and T20 teams.

It is almost certain however that ego considerations would deter leaders of political parties from openly embracing this breakthrough thinking.

Howard was obviously a much better PM than Opposition Leader. Kevin however was arguably just as bad at both.

Julia was more of an opposition specialist especially when it came to Kevin.

And let’s face it the First Bloke never looked comfortable in The Lodge.

Unfortunately Abbott was never going to be content with being lauded as the Greatest Ever Opposition Leader and so was never going to be deterred from demonstrating as Prime Minister why he is such a strong argument for job specialisation.

While this innovative thinking would undoubtedly bring higher standards of government to Australia it would need one or two critical reforms to guarantee its implementation. Foremost among these would be raising the status of Opposition Leader to the same level as Prime Minister through a pad of equal prestige to The Lodge and the same pay grade.

In addition parties in power would need to run a Ministry of Opposition so that their specialist Opposition Leader is afforded the opportunity to stay in practice.

I don’t really know what to make of Bill Shorten. He doesn’t rate that well as an Opposition Leader but on the other hand I can’t really bring myself to view him as a specialist Prime Minister. It seems that ever since Keating the Labor Party’s prime ministerial development policy has concentrated on quantity at the expense of quality.


About this Series
As one of Australia’s leading social commentators A Hole is always conscious of the need to avoid making an arse of himself. His commentaries are frequently compared to the material on the walls of public toilets although they don’t remain in the public consciousness anything like as long.

View all articles in the A Hole Comments Series
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