Vote One For a New Way of Voting for Number One
I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts this week. They were discussing why Australia keeps shuffling Prime Ministers through the role like the country was AC/DC or INXS looking for new front men.
Rock bands, in the traditional sense of blokes with guitars and drums need a charismatic god like front man. He can be a complete dick as long as he has style and certainty and at least half an octave in vocal range. He must represent the band’s values and appeal to the target market. Hello Robert Plant, Ozzy, Bono, Tim Rogers, Dave Grohl etc.
But what if something happens to a band’s front man? Something that is usually termed as misadventure but is most often concerned with drugs and/or mental state and miscalculations with things that no one should touch when incapacitated e.g. cars, restraining devices etc. Well almost always the new boy [and it is always a boy] doesn’t do too good. There are exceptions.
Lightning doesn’t usually strike the same place twice so AC/DC were really pushing their luck after Bon but at least they had Angus and one of the best rhythm guitarists ever in his brother Malcolm. That and the fact AC/DC really only had about five songs which they were clever enough to recycle endlessly. Plus they were still on the up so the Geordie, who didn’t add much other than a flat cap to show his pommy working class origins, at least bought no baggage and was a hard worker. However Guns and Roses never really floated my boat anything past half tide so the least said about the Axl Rose thing the better.
For INXS, well without Michael Hutchence there were some musical chops but the charisma factor was lower than Peter Dutton’s approval ratings.
But in the end for a band the change is usually the beginning of the end, very rarely to paraphrase the famous English PM, the end of the beginning. Still political parties are changing leaders without the necessary reason of an unseemly death or dastardly dishonour, more a fear of the voting public and a lack of courage and will.
I think I know. The podcast for all its worth didn’t hit on what I think is one of the main reasons why the PM shuffle is occurring. If the assassinations of Rudd, Gillard, Abbot and Turnbull were poll driven, that is the executioners felt they would lose if they went to the election with the above as their leaders, then we have witnessed the powerful rise of people voting for the person not the party and its policies.
This creates a problem because our democratic system of government is based on the English Westminster system. In this system the political party with the majority after an election is asked to form government by our head of state aka the Governor General representing The Queen of England. The leader of that party is then the Prime Minister. Until for whatever reason, usually the aforementioned opinion polls, the party decides to knife him or her because of the fear of getting unelected at the next election.
Very different from the USA model where the President is directly elected by the people.
Now I personally have a problem with this because for example, after the latest shenanigans it doesn’t really matter with Turnbull gone and Scomo in charge you still have for better or worse the Liberal Party and its policies. Ditto when the Labour Party was going through its carry on. I would like to think we see past the person and focus on the policies but alas I seem to be becoming the minority. So be it.
And if that is the case does that not mean it is time to bring back the campaign for…. the Republic of Australia.
Yes, remember a time long ago when the budget surplus was high and the living was easy and some Australians dared to dream that we were ready to say goodbye to Queen Liz the Second and embrace a republic. But we weren’t. The vote was 54.8% against a republic. And there were many people and organisations blamed for the failure of the republic referendum to get up but in the end like the nervous school boy at the prom who just won’t get up and ask the girl to dance, we didn’t have the courage of our convictions.
Nowdays we like to think, those on whose minds this even crosses, that we should have another referendum when Queen Elizabeth goes to that great ancestral castle in the sky. This is out of respect to her as a great Queen but that doesn’t that sort of equate too saying we should not throw over this cruel dictator because damn, he is so good at it?
It is true she has lived a life of exemplary service and lived up to the royal ideal but in the end you either go for this malarkey or you don’t. Plus to be honest the royal family now largely has its shit together. All these new ones and their wives are much more stylish, sensible and relatable than the ones in the 80s and 90s. Though lets face it they were big times filled with big money, big hair and lots of blow. No wonder a few of them were a bit out of control. If you were of an age back then, who didn’t carry on like a pork chop? Personally I can see the appeal of a toe suck in a castle after a big night on the Krug with kippers for breakfast to look forward to. But that’s just me.
So I am not sure relying on this mob to go off the rails again is that great a tactic in ensuring republican success.
As my mate Gatesy says, “ If it’s to be its up to me”
Or something like that. He usually says it as he drops in on you on the wave of the day.
You see even if it is not talked about anymore the yearning is still there. We want to elect our nation’s leader directly, which is why we now ignore parties and their policies and are focussing on giving and withdrawing our love in opinion polls for the prime minister, which in turn is triggering the changes in leadership.
So it is time to acknowledge our deep yearnings. We actually want to direct elect our Head of State. We are old enough and mature enough. There is nothing to be afraid of. There are men and women in Australia capable and worthy of leading this country directly. Sure we might make a mistake now and again and vote in an Aussie Trump but that’s democracy. Hell, if it wasn’t for Queensland throwing up the wild cards, the wackjobs and the dyed in wool wish it was still 1957 throwbacks it would get a bit boring.
Plus at least we will get the say and not the hit men and women currently stalking the offices and corridors of Parliament House.
You know there aren't that many good songs about Politics, or at least not directly. Political songs by the dozen but not songs about politics. But I do enjoy
Happy Birthday Mr President by Marilyn Monroe
Its Time - The ALP campaign song from 1972
Don't Worry About The Government - The Talking Heads