OPINION: Political pantomimes hurt national interest

We need to call time on the cycle of political assassination that has dogged this country since John Howard was voted from office in 2007. 

For 11 years, not one prime minister has survived a full term. Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, Abbott, Turnbull – it’s an unedifying roll call which speaks volumes about the sickness in our political system, if “system” is not too generous a term.

Last week, the big story was the fires, not just here in the Bega Valley but the entire length of the coast. The week before that, it was the drought and the toll it was exacting on our farmers. 

Both those emergencies scream out for policy responses. Climate change is a clear and present danger. As climatologists have predicted, droughts will become more commonplace and enduring and fire seasons will extend well out from summer.

Yet what we have seen from our politicians, in whom we invest vast amounts of money to govern the country, has been complete and utter paralysis. The hours devoted to staging a coup are hours that would have better spent improving the Princes Highway, providing much needed relief to farmers, developing policy to make housing more affordable – to doing the business of government.

If anyone on the public tab warming seats in the parliament thinks for one minute this week’s grotesque display of brute politics has won friends, they are mistaken.

Does the dairy farmer having to sell a herd because they can no longer provide feed really give two hoots about an internal Liberal Party war? Does the epic waste of time invested in this leadership coup make things easier for them? 

No, it does not.

Does the troubled war veteran finding it hard to cope draw succor from the dirty spectacle in Canberra? Do they think it will improve their life?

No, they don’t.

Does the pensioner worried about the bills that keep rising think the leadership crisis will improve things?

No, they don’t.

Does the volunteer firefighter, who fears for the season ahead, think the inability of successive governments to confront climate change think the constant removal of prime ministers will make a difference?

No, they don’t.

We, the people, know that normalised instability hurts the national interest.