I’ve never really been interested in politics. But now I find it fascinating! It’s certainly not the policies. It’s the people! It’s not because they are dynamic either, it’s because they’re so….welll……bland!
Now I am only guessing here because as I said I wasn’t all that interested in politics in the past. I think together with a lot of Gen X’ers growing up, the household voted for a particular party and that was that. I remember Hawke, Keating, Fraser and Whitlam to name a few big names as I was growing up. I use the word ‘big’ because they seemed to be larger than life. They seemed to have courage in their convictions and be confident in what they stood for and what they didn’t and would be bold/confident enough to present an opinion. They seemed to be able to communicate well. Perhaps that was why they either won or lost office convincingly. Unlike today where we have hung parliaments and negotiations with lower house representatives to win power.
Take Kevin Rudd. What a massive fall from fame he had. Dubbed Kevin07, he signaled the change that Australia was looking for. A change from the Howard government that was thought to be tired and old. He presented as a confident character, intelligent, communicated well, but most of all he won the hearts and minds of the majority of the Australian voters. With big promise, he took office and progressively lost his brand, lost his courage, lost his conviction. Known behind the scenes as an autocratic leader with a bad temper, the gloss of Kevin07 slowly faded and when we entered Twenty10, I for one was unsure of what Mr Rudd stood for. I was unsure of his message. And so it seems, so was he. He had reverted to fence sitting, and he got some terrible splinters when he fell! I remember my Uncle saying to me that in the latter stages, Mr Rudd was trying to be too intelligent. I think he was right!
Enter Julia Gillard who is certainly one to jump on opportunity! Mr Rudd’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Gillard was a highly respected member of the labour party. And respected by those in the opposition also. Tenacious, intelligent, grounded and incredibly tactical, she gained the support of her party and ousted Mr. Rudd to take the top job in Australia. Quite a coup for a female politician and indeed she is the first female Australian Prime Minister – non-elected.
So what does Ms Gillard stand for? Unions, education, opposed to gay marriage are some things we know for certain. But what is it that she stands for as a leader? What are her opinions, beliefs, and strategies about how she believes our country should be run? I have no idea and I think all evidence points to the majority of the Australian voters having no idea given the outcome of the last election where Ms Gillard retained the top job through better negotiation with the independents. Her opposition, Tony ‘Speedo” Abbott, what does he stand for? No idea either.
I have no idea who is leading our country. Do you? We have an untested leader and we are entering challenging times. It makes me a little nervous to be honest. How is she going to respond under pressure? Do they have the courage to make the hard decision and risk popularity? I hope it’s not a problem but it may well be.
We have just experienced the same situation in Victoria where the Liberal Party won the election from the Labour Party. Just! What does our new leader stand for? Unclear. What were his policies? I’ll put in a fix for all the wrong the previous party did! Really? How? How are you going to improve our roads, health system, reduce crime, reduce violence in our streets and improve our public transport system?? I haven’t heard anything about the how! Untested once again, we’ll wait and see how he performs.
Why is it now that our top leaders are basically refusing to stand for something other than being the face of a political party? What has changed? Why are they choosing to sit on the fence? What is the legacy they are creating? Close your mouth, provide politically correct responses and hope people like what you wear? Pffft! Boring. Someone stand up…please!