Take a Running Jump
In another triumph of political chicanery, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has parachuted a sportswoman into a Senate seat over and above a long-term sitting member who, presumably, had won her seat by the quasi-democratic pre-selection process.
Now I’m not picking on the Prime Minister per se, Lord alone, I wouldn't want to be accused of misogyny, and I know all political parties do it – but that does not make it right. What it does is to make a mockery of the entire notion of representative government.
The selected sportswoman is doubtless a most worthy soul. She represented Australia admirably in some now forgotten international carnival show of bright lights and brouhaha. She's doubtless a good mother and a role model for all to admire.
But, most of all, she has the admirable quality of being an aborigine. Indeed, the Prime Minister is already touting her as the first aboriginal woman in the Senate. If I were that worthy lady I would feel embarrassed at the Prime Minister’s blatant paternalism. Moreover, I would feel belittled at being treated as a political football and considered as a stalking horse to garner votes from the aboriginal community.
From the Prime Minister’s perspective – it's good politics. And, as the worthy lady obviously has no objections to undemocratically tipping someone from their seat and being used in such a manner, all well and good.
Or is it? The continuing damage being done to the much faded fabric of our parliamentary and representative system of government by such injudicious and arbitrary acts is extremely serious.
According to recent media reports Australians hold their politicians in scant regard [Courier Mail 22.1.13]. Little wonder. An elected representative is meant to be just that. The representative should be chosen and elected by the people he or she is representing. High profile candidates inserted into electorates without so much as a nod and a wink from the electors is a travesty of democracy.
But then, Marx never did have any time for bourgeois democracy – he saw through it all. He knew that politicians will rort the system to the detriment of their electors given a chance. That is the game – and it is high time the rules were rewritten.
Pro tem, the worthy lady from the Northern Territory will have to get back to training quick smart if she is to successfully hop, skip and jump her way through the big carnival tent in Canberra.