Michaelia Cash
Michaelia Cash AAP Image - Dean Lewins

Why our politicians are so hopeless

OPINION

FROM a minister threatening to expose rumours about the women in Bill Shorten's office to Hitler Youth jibes - last week felt like a new low for our politicians.

To be fair it's been a bad few weeks for politics in this country since Barnaby Joyce's affair with an ex-staffer was exposed.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull banning ministers from having relationships with staff members felt like the ridiculous levels couldn't get any higher.

Then we had Michaelia Cash threatening to expose rumours apparently circulating about women in the Opposition Leader's office.

"You want me to start naming them? You want me to start naming them for Mr Shorten to come out deny any of the rumours that are circulating in this building now for many, many years?" she said in Senate estimates last week.

Labor's Doug Cameron rightly told her to "calm down" and "take a chill pill" (as the kids apparently say).

Then Labor's Kim Carr was forced to apologise and withdraw offensive remarks suggesting Liberal James Paterson would have been part of the Hitler Youth movement.

Yep, these are the people running our country.

And we thought things would get less ridiculous when One Nation's Malcolm Roberts left Canberra.

Michaelia Cash’s outburst in Senate estimates. Picture: Kym Smith
Michaelia Cash’s outburst in Senate estimates. Picture: Kym Smith

But why is it like this?

One explanation comes from an unlikely source.

UK comedian Frankie Boyle talks about the time he decided to get involved in politics as a teenager in his (latest) autobiography My Shit Life So Far.

He joined the Labour Party but after sitting through a few boring meetings realised it wasn't for him.

"It's a rarely mentioned fact that politicians rise through the ranks by being able to sit through endless grim meetings," he wrote.

"This inevitably means that we are governed by monsters.

"A few months of screaming inwardly during meetings about council business and I drifted off."

Anyone who has had the sit through a local council meeting would no doubt know what he means.

Even at a local level rather than just getting on with the job, councillors will argue for hours on minor issues along party lines.

It's why we shouldn't have political parties at a local level. Let them all run as independents and be judged on what they've achieved rather under the Labor or Liberal banner.

So inevitably, the best and brightest either don't bother with politics or soon realise it's a hopeless cause.

It's why people share things like the post below on Facebook when they whinge about pollies.

People love to share posts like this.
People love to share posts like this.

(But if anything we should offer pollies more money, so we can actually attract the best of the best to run our country.)

The average Aussie sees endless back and forth about rumours and ministers having affairs and are pissed off.

They don't care about the political point scoring or sniping by former prime ministers on the backbench.

They just want a government - either Labor or the Coalition - that can get on with running the country.

It's why so many people voted for One Nation at the last election (however misguided that was).

It's part of the old Democrats slogan "keep the bastards honest".

The bad news is, none of this will end.

We'll still have pollies being distracted from the big issues in an effort to try to score a cheap political point.

With a 24-hour news cycle, pollies will continue to look for that "gotcha moment" and keep their eyes off the real issues.

Maybe just try and enjoy the ride.

I'll leave the final point to Boyle.

"Politicians are just innately ridiculous and their lives can't really bear the weight of much scrutiny."

He was talking about a Labour politician in Glasgow, but pretty much sums up Australian politics over the past month.