Dick Head Interviews
Federal MPs are elected to parliament on the understanding they will deliver on their election promises and represent responsibly the views of their electorates.
No chance. When they get there they find that election promises rarely make it beyond elections and the party whips save them the trouble of having to agonise over how they should vote in parliament on behalf of their electorate.
Consciences can be useful on very rare occasions but generally speaking they have a nuisance value in parliament.
Members of the Labor Party suffer the additional constraint of being beholden to the gospel written by the ACTU.
Unless they are pursued by a member who holds the balance of power in parliament local issues are usually postponed till they become relevant again at the next election.
The reality is that members spend most of their time insisting that despite convincing evidence to the contrary it is patently absurd to claim that their party has broken any promises, the government is actually performing magnificently, the opposition are simply a bunch of hypocrites and the failure to produce a budget surplus was an unexpectedly encouraging result.
MPs spend hours each week giving non-answers to questions from the public and the media which have been carefully crafted by spin doctors. If they gave politically incorrect and candid answers it would not only cause intense moral outrage but also reveal that the last election campaign was a total irrelevance.
The truth is politicians get elected on promises they haven’t got a hope in hell of fulfilling but that’s what wins seats so you can hardly blame them.
Frustratingly the way our parliamentary system seems to work is that union leaders, environmentalists, lobbyists and spin doctors have a much greater say on government policy than the people we elect.
It’s no wonder that anti-politicians like Trump and co. are having such an impact. All they have to do to get elected is criticise politicians.
I look forward to the day when candidates base their election campaign on an official report detailing how they’ve performed against the promises they made at the previous election. This could mean that no politician would ever serve more than one term in parliament or carry any baggage. At least that could have a significant impact on lowering their travel costs.