The Luckiest of Leaders

Or why the Australian people are turning against Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott but will not yet vote for the Greens and Democrats.

"Leadership is not about being popular..." Paul J. Keating, 7 Dec 1990

As in the lead up to the recent election in the UK, the latest Australian national opinion polls reveal that the electorate literally hates the professional political class that has evolved in the late twentieth century and now has taken hold of the parliament.

Ordinary citizens in Western Democracies know that the people who are supposed to represent them are nothing like them. Moreover they know that political representation is now not something that an ordinary citizen can aspire to, not just because of money, but because it is a career -  a lifelong speciality. The craft of politics involves saying things that seem substantial but are not, bending facts and figures to suit a position and using ‘weasel words’.

Typical representatives of the major political parties learn the art of the trade as students. Pubescent politicians in the early 1980s and 1990s learned the art of the demonstration, learned the art of the mock public debate, learned to see that there was a difference between a public position and what happened in backroom negotiations. Many of the current crop of Federal parliamentarians have lived in the same student colleges, contested for the same boy friends and girl friends, and fought the same mock symbolic battles and ethical issues since pussy was a kitten:. They learned how to bore people stupid if necessary to win a ballot and to be the last person standing at a bbq from a very tender age. Some were signed up to the Liberal or Labor Party from as young as ten. The Australian people, and citizens across the democratic world, have come to detest this class of professional politicians who now live in a sort of separate zone of life.