Williams' Word | Time for a election

TIME FOR AN ELECTION?

You have to have some sympathy for Prime Minister Turnbull. He and former Labor PM Julia Gillard have never been able to achieve much in their terms of office due largely to a group of far-right-wing pollies in the Coalition ranks. Both Gillard and Turnbull have suffered at the hands of Team Abbott, that very conservative group of politicians who were elected under the Liberal banner but seem to believe that they are ‘born to rule’ and to set their own far-right conservative agendas. That childish postal vote on same-sex marriage is a good example because it shows how far they will go to get their own agendas approved, rather than what is good for the Australian people generally.

We also have this citizenship fiasco which has ripped through the Coalition’s ranks. It has almost brought parliament to a standstill.

This is all quite unfair to the Australian people who are just waiting for our parliament, not only the party in power, to ‘do something’ – but Mr Turnbull’s more ‘liberal’ team is stuck in a political mud heap that is not of their creation. Is it fair on the Australian people that they must wait until early 2019 – when the next federal election is due – to expect some change? Or maybe the current kerfuffle is a blessing in disguise, because if enough pollies are found to be unlawfully elected it could lead to an election. Maybe it’s time the voters let it be known that they are fed up and campaigned for a corrective election. How long must we put up with a parliament which seems to lack direction?

But, before that, surely we need some answers from every candidate from every party and the independents who want us to vote for them. The current team has been indecisive, lacking in cohesion and a sad disappointment, even to their most loyal supporters.

Labor has been almost invisible in recent months (they haven’t had to show any political excellence because the Coalition has been doing the job of destroying itself). The ALP still has a lot of work ahead to convince the electors that they really do have an acceptable agenda – and giving their support to that huge coal mine in Queensland is not likely to be one that is acceptable to anyone who is interested in the future of our planet. Before the electors are asked to return to the polling places, surely we need to get some clarity on what the various candidates really stand for. 

We need a team that is capable of putting their peersonal agendas aside and working for the good of Australia and its people. It is as simple as that.

PUTTING AUSTRALIA TO SHAME

President Trump is a very strange man. One of his most worrying actions has been to take America on an anti-scientific direction by scrapping any proposals that might help the world beat climate change.

The leader of the largest economy in the world, the one with all those super-clever IT corporations and super-smart weaponry, decided their country would not join in that international campaign to save the planet.

But, hold on, isn’t the Australian government doing exactly the same thing with that big coal mine which is planned for Queensland?

While most nations are working hard to protect us from the possible devastation created by climate change, our government is enthusiastically supporting a huge coal export development. Even the federal Labor Party isn’t opposing the scheme because its Queensland branch thinks support of the mine will help their election campaign.

And it’s not something that will benefit Australia, certainly not in the long term. The whole concept is ridiculous. Our government is bending over backwards to help a foreign consortium with a very doubtful history and probably financed by another foreign entity to open a huge coal mine – while the more intelligent governments around the world are doing their best to move away from the environmentally-damaging use of coal.

What a great opportunity for the Greens to stop their internal squabbling and start a national campaign to put a stop to this most unwise and unpopular development. The Greens could start by asking the rest of the pollies what their grandchildren will think of them and their planet-damaging actions when those children grow up. 

We really do need some guarantees, not just wobbly sort of promises that the candidate is concerned about the future of the world. The thinking voters need to know some honest answers and the candidates’ records on the science of climate change, not some recited platitudes which mean nothing. 

LOYALTY IN QUESTION?

Running our country would never be an easy job because it involves lots of tough and sometimes divisive decisions, but it is a worry that Mr Turnbull is still fiddling around with this ‘loyalty to Australia of elected parliamentarians’ issue.

It is something that nobody seemed to worry about in the past but it is an important legal subject. Indeed it is an issue my own daughters would have faced had they decided to run for parliament because their mother was born in New Zealand. The big problem is that they would never have realised that they had any loyalty to another country until that fact was pointed out to them.

In most cases it shouldn’t be a big problem. There are experts in the field of genealogy who could be engaged by the parliament to check on birth certificates and other information to clear candidates of any doubt of their loyalty. That certificate from professional genealogists could be part of their nomination to stand for parliament. 

But in all this debate no-one has questioned other types of loyalty. Surely any Australian who willingly joins any foreign military (apart from those approved by or organised by the Australian military) show they have a loyalty to that foreign country. Their willingness to join a foreign fighting force, such as the Israeli or any other Middle East force, is far more of a worry.

  • Ray Williams has been a Post columnist since retiring from the newsroom in 1993.