Is Cutting Politician’s Pay and Conditions Inevitable ?

grandma rioting

by DesPensable  copyright 2015

based on an idea by Fools Troop.

Australia has always been proud of its politicians in the past. We used to boast that we paid them well to ensure we get the best quality candidates for what was a serious responsibility in setting public policy that balanced the needs of the poor with those of the more well off.

They were also remunerated well to ensure their integrity so that they didn’t succumb to the temptation of corruption by those malevolent villains that have always lurked in the shadows of politics looking for quick profit regardless of who suffered.

That was the story that I was told when I went to school a few decades ago. However, a lot has changed in the world over the last couple of decades and now we need to rethink this whole political pay situation. Are we getting value for money?

The Australian politicians are paid amongst the highest in the world with high salaries, bucket loads of allowances and a pension scheme on leaving parliament that pays a lavish salary for life. One might argue that since we are paying them well enough then we deserve to get the quality, responsibility and integrity that we are paying for.

From the point of view of quality each of the major parties gets to choose from a small pool of political hacks that have hung around for years. The top candidates are selected by internal power groups that fight incessantly over petty issues. They develop fine skills in back room deals, backstabbing and deceit. This is not a good start.

The result is we have had 5 Prime Ministers in 5 years and countless juggling of other Ministers to find a few that are really competent to fill their positions. Only 31% of Australians have confidence in their political parties. Only 46% believe it makes a difference which party is in power. Is this quality?

Let’s look at responsibility. The current government  took the majority of their policy from a far right wing think tank called the IPA, a secretive organisation of predominantly businessmen from large companies. Was there any representation from public or advisory groups? No.

The current government  commenced their term by abolishing 20 advisory groups and continued by trying to cull 138 other advisory bodies. Presumably they don’t think government ministers need advice. Was that responsible?  Hardly.

They have just agreed to a secret international agreement called the Transpacific Partnership fashioned by the worlds transnational corporations that will rewrite all the commercial and employment guidelines , rules and laws for our whole country. Once we implement all the TPP laws and new TISA laws they are still keeping secret then they will literally have no more decision making to do as all the TPP and TISA laws can only be changed by the transnational corporations in the USA.

These agreements lay down in law that only neoliberal political policy is allowable. There is no flexibility for social democracy to look after the poor, aged and disadvantaged. The parliament must privatize all government run services including Medicare, schools, TAFES, universities, transport, prisons, postal service, telecommunications, water , power and presumably eventually, National Parks, parks roads and anything that can be sold.

The politicians won’t have any responsibilities any more other than appealing to the private foreign owners of our nation to please let the people keep living in their own country of birth. Indeed there will be no need for Labor and the Greens as social policies, if any, will be set by the transnational corporations for our good as decided by them.

Now let’s review the issue of integrity. The whole Australian satire industry is based upon laughing and making crude jokes about the integrity of the politicians in the two major parties. Is this satire justified?

Recently in NSW the ICAC found the state government to be the most corrupt in Australian history. There are countless rumors about corruption in the Federal politics but the federal politicians refuse to set up a Federal version of ICAC to verify what every Australian already believes. Corruption runs rampant.

Perhaps the Senate in drafting a response the the Royal Commission into the trade unions offers a chance for change. Until then only the most optimistic, the ignorant, the uninformed and  rusted-on conservative LNP sheeple voters could think we that we are getting value for money at the moment.

The question is what happened? Well a majority of Australians are conservative,  selfish and ignorant about world affairs. They don’t give a rat’s arse about politics or really anything other than what happens in the fake reality of TV sports and the mind numbing entertainment offered by the commercial media channels. Ignorance is bliss.

They are well enough off and expect their well-paid but corrupt politicians to do their job babysitting them and protecting their wealth. They want to be left alone to enjoy their wealth in comfort and not have to be concerned about the horrible world outside Australia. The politicians of course know this and exploit it in a variety of get rich quick schemes generally involving the foreign mining companies.

Unfortunately Global Warming affects everyone in the world. Nobody anywhere can hide from it. If the rest of the world has a financial crash, climate apocalypse or a WW3 so will Australia.

Our particularly poor gang of current politicians are not leaders but puppets that dance to the sound of donations from vested interests in the finance and the mining industry.

They want us to believe that a civil war in Syria is a greater threat to the Australia, the driest continent on Earth than Global warming. They want us to believe that mining and selling more coal, which will make Global warming worse, is good for Australia and the world. The world view is that we must keep our coal in the ground.

This leaves us in a very poor position to handle the challenges of a very uncertain future. The world’s scientists have made it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR if we don’t do enough to halt Global Warming and change our economic philosophy from vulture capitalist to a sustainable social democracy then our civilisation WILL PERISH. That means Aussies as well!

We can forget the older people in Australia. They let this happen and won’t lift a finger to help but will most likely hinder any change fearing for their precious savings.  Ask them. They will reply I don’t care about Global Warming because I will be dead before it affects me. So it’s up to the young people that will be drastically affected!

The prime question is will the young people of our stolen country eventually wake up and protest about our politicians’ excessively lavish salaries? Will they demand electoral change that will lead to more honest politicians that will stop selling the county and favor people over corporate profit.? Will they fight to bring back some semblance of social democracy and environmental sanity?

It’s not inevitable that politicians will get a pay cut but it is inevitable that they will be worth even less than the money that we currently pay them in the future unless the young demand and fight for real political change in Australia.

Only they can answer this question but if they are going to do anything they better get a move on. If they are gutless and selfish like their parents then we can all kiss our arses good bye and we all deserve to perish.

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Updates on political corruption

Transparency International warns Australia is ‘complacent’ about corruption  Jan 2016

The case for a Federal ICAC  Feb 2016

Larissa Waters: Ban donations from mining companies and stop ministers working for them March 2016

The Public Deserves To Know Who Is Bankrolling Their Candidates

The fossil-fuelled political economy of Australian elections

It seems like a good time to ask: what are governments for?

Report highlights cosy relationship between mining industry and political parties

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Des Pensable

Des is a native of Sydney where he currently lives with his partner Joanne. He has a PhD in neuroscience and worked as a biomedical scientist where he published widely in several areas of science. Since retiring, he’s been a keen writer of poetry, stories and philosophy which appear on his web, blog site and on line literary publications. He is also a performance poet that appears regularly in venues around Sydney.

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