By KATE HUNTER
Who the hell knows what politicians really think these days?
The set pieces and party lines mean real feelings and true beliefs are often quashed because it’s all about the win. Stick to the approved dialogue and we can’t go wrong. After we’ve got our feet under the front benches we can relax a bit – better to ask forgiveness than permission and all that.
Personally, I LOVE IT when a politician outs themselves as a dick, because I can adjust my vote accordingly.
When Cory Bernardi expressed his fears that gay marriage would lead to people eloping with their cavoodles, I was punching the air. Not because I agreed with him (personally, I’m lukewarm about my dog) but because it was refreshing to hear a politician say he truly believes.
He didn’t say it for long though. Social media went into meltdown and there were calls for his sacking. I don’t know, but I’d guess Liberal leaders asked him to tone it down. Stick to the approved dialogue, mate – just until we get over the line.
I wish all politicians would be open and honest about where they stand, what they think and believe. I want to know what their partners know – how they talk with their friends, what they tell their kids.
I don’t want to hear the words on the party website read out loud.
So when a public figure says they want to sink the boats or turn state schools into French bistros I’ll be applauding. Then I’ll cross that knob off my to-worry-about-list.
Australians, generally, are not small minded idiots and I don’t believe they will vote for a person or party they know to be a bad egg, not in huge numbers.They haven’t so far.
Bob Katter is a bit like your embarrassing uncle who crashes Christmas dinner. There will always be people who believe he ‘talks a lot of sense,’ but there are more who think he’s a bit of a joke.
When I feel bleak about our country and where we’re going socially, I remind myself that we have an openly gay, female Finance Minister. We had a female Prime Minister (she was treated appallingly in many ways but she was there, something that was unimaginable a generation ago).
People are fond of saying, ‘You mightn’t have liked John Howard, but at least you knew where he stood.’
It’s weird, isn’t it, that Howard-style honesty is such a remarkable thing?
Surely we should know where all our politicians stand.
I really want to know, because I admit to voting on personality, not policies. I’ll be called naive and labelled a fool. But these days it seems policy changes with the polls – personal beliefs don’t.
Before polls became a thing and ‘media advisor’ became a profession, politicians had more freedom to say what they felt without fear of a social media backlash and an immediate dip in the polls.
Imagine how different things would have been if Twitter had been around when Bob Hawke drank beer on TV and called bosses ‘bums’. If Menzies had run the country with one eye on the polls and the other on Facebook.
There was a freedom back then, an honesty we’re missing in public life now. It’s too controlled, too careful. The truth is out there, but how do we know what it is?
That’s why when a politician says or does something I find abhorrent, or even silly, I won’t bay for blood. I don’t want them to shut up. I’m not going to worry about the masses who might agree with them.
I’ll be grateful for their honesty. I’ll quietly file it away as useful information and use it where it’ll make a difference.
In the end, the ballot box matters more than likes on a Facebook page.
If you could pick a single politician and force them to be upfront and honest for a day, who would it be?