All the world’s a stage and all our politicians merely players

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Does Malcolm pass the pub test? (Image screenshot from video by Mike Bowers / @mpbowers)

Politicians fill their roles day after day; some of the players may change, but the roles remain the same, writes Brendan Kelly.

I've recently had time to reflect on things here in Australia. It appears to me that the Government and Opposition are continuing to "act" in a way completely divorced from the daily lives of most Australians.

I use the word "act" for a specific reason. It is as though each of the main players on the political stage are given a role and they carry on acting, even though the audience has left, apart from the Press Gallery and that no-one is really paying attention to them, but while the fortnightly cheques roll in, they will keep the series alive.

I wandered into the main bar of the Bribie Island Hotel to do some research. People are frequently asking whether this or that will “pass the pub test?” So, I mingled a little. There was not much conversation going on as most of the patrons were transfixed by television monitors. The ones not showing horse racing from all parts of Australia were presenting all types of sporting competitions from around the globe. This, I was told, was courtesy of a Mr Murdoch.

I approached one man sipping his beer, solo, and asked him what he thought of the P.M. I was told to “piss off” because “we don’t talk about crap like that”.

The other drinkers gave me looks that suggested leaving was a good tactic at that point.

Brendan performed a pub test — and was surprised by what he found (Image via bribieislandhotel.com.au)

It seems that the public, generally, has disengaged with politics. It has always been the case that some people have no interest. I was brought up in a time when politics, as well as religion, were things you didn’t talk about in company, lest a fight broke out. In my lifetime, I have witnessed an increasing lack of interest in politics, particularly Federal politics. I believe those in Federal politics have realised that as well.

The politicians fill their roles day after day; some of the players may change, but the roles remain the same. Certain concerned citizens decry the appalling state of governance and others of the same kind join in. The defenders of the government make as much opposing noise as they can. None of it impacts on anyone in Parliament.

On 1 February at the National Press Club the PM made a statement, on air, that essentially said clean coal is obviously a way to give us cleaner energy. Did anyone at the pub, or the coffee shop, ask each other “Does that even make sense?” Or worse, did they just gloss over it and accept it.

Turnbull's playing his role, he’s making pronouncements, he is guiding us into the future. Right? All the politicians know that if they make an on-camera appearance, it will be aired, even just a bit of it and they accept their performance fee and leave.

I wonder what would happen if the ABC abandoned Question Time and the rest of the press didn't report on Parliament. Would the ensemble cast suddenly realise that they were seen for what they were and feel the need to change their ways? I am, of course, living in a fool's paradise

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All the world’s a stage and all our politicians merely players

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