…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
One could almost feel sorry for him, but such a feeling would be displaced. Even the best of them treat you as a disposable electoral-box-fodder; the treatment ranging from utter contempt to benign neglect, unless of course you are a significant donor, know something detrimental about them or married their daughter. Yes, I am writing about politicians.
This particular one is 46 years old, a Queensland Senator since 2005 and the Leader of the National Party in the Senate since 2008. Once he allegedly said, “Maybe I’m an agrarian socialist, I don’t know, is there a problem with being an agrarian socialist?”
(I could mention quite a few problems, but let’s continue) Not much for a party discipline, he, to his credit, crossed the floor nineteen times when LibNats under Howard ruled. He is an accountant by profession, so he quite possibly can count. That almost certainly rules him out for any shadow or real ministerial post involving figures – his innumerate colleagues, mostly mere lawyers, could not tolerate somebody who knows what he is talking about. Their crass ignorance would shine too brilliantly.
Senator Joyce’s writing in Canberra Times, attracted my attention:
“To be a strong nation, we must focus on core beliefs”
As a heading, it is unobjectionable. The devil is in the details – football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars? Or polo, pesto, pandas and priuses?
What do you believe in? What would you give your political career up over, rather than compromise?
Does the Senator ask us, or his colleagues? Judging by the number of politicians who resigned over a principle (zero, to the best of my knowledge), the answer to both questions is – Nothing whatsoever.
If politics is the jousting of social clubs, then a politician can be anything on any day, which is a little dangerous.
Not at all for that politician.
Have we now such a greater fascination with form over substance that it has really become a quasi thespian frolic devoid of Lincoln, Churchill and Julius Caesar.
Yes, and you politicians, so devoid of any substance, love it.
I thought I would insert an image of the good Senator here, but… And no, no minnows; sharks, stonefish and piranhas.
Barnaby Thomas Gerald Joyce has resigned from the Senate and in the forthcoming federal elections (whenever it may be) will stand for the House of Representatives seat of New England. I wish him luck, for despite his faults, he seems to be less integrity challenged than his colleagues. The rest of his article is bellow.
“There has got to be a political spine that the nation stands on, a set of principles that hurt because you stand by them: family as traditionally proposed, even if it’s not your personal reality; small business, the farmers and the shops, despite the lubricious entrapment of economic policy, a policy that that has a tendency to favour the large over the small and in many instances the external over the domestic.
The mining boom is waning, prices are falling, our debt is rising and our economy cannot put its hand to an international champion that is domestically owned. BHP is majority foreign-owned, Rio is not even based here anymore. There is no international agricultural champion that is Australian-owned.
If Graincorp is purchased by Archer Daniel Midland, we will have yet another impediment to becoming the agricultural powerhouse of South East Asia. Under the current conditions our debt both public and private is higher than it ever has been and getting worse so our economic bible has taken us to a peculiar religious experience.
Our belief in a global rule book is going to be challenged by a new Asian reality that gives scant regard to wishes but exploits our weaknesses. Our terms and conditions will be just ours, as seen this week when Yancoal stepped away from their Foreign Investment Review Board conditions.
After a mining boom we should be flush with funds, instead we are $258 billion in gross debt and conducting an increasingly desperate search for what will take the place of mining. Maybe live exports because we have excelled there!
China is creating a deeper pool of offshore liquidity as it moves to replacing the US dollar as the global reserve currency. That is a global game-changer and, if we are not fully versed in all the ramifications of that massive power shift we will be in a long term strategic disadvantage.
All this is happening but what is the political debate about? Kevin Rudd managing the process of how Rudd got rid of Gillard, a slew of new ministers from treasury to agriculture with little or no expertise in their new portfolios, a tawdry attempt to politicise indigenous recognition when nothing but bipartisan goodwill has be shown on this issue thus far.
What we can take out of the indigenous recognition issue is, in the history of humankind and economics benevolence takes a backseat to greed. This is the reality of human nature which we ignore at our peril.
Europeans basically dispossessed and exploited the resources that had belonged to indigenous Australians. In a more complicated form that process is still at foot but it is just being conducted by different parties in a more clandestine form. It is naïve to think a policy desire that relies on international relations can be delivered to the detriment of that specific external nation.
Here is my point: when you look at the deeper issues, the more relevant issues that are vital to our nation’s future today, they are not the ephemeral issues that Mr Rudd appears to be engaged with.
Mr Rudd has not changed. He is a man of media, earnestly delivered with sometimes flawed and brash statements.
Whether he has the competency to guide our nation over the longer term is unlikely on previous form.”