We should have more respect for Federal Parliament and bypass short-termism in favour of a more mature debate, Independent Senate candidate for Queensland Greg Rudd argues.
TO PINCH A TERM from Game of Thrones — “Winter is coming.”
In my opinion, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) is not over. Great uncertainty lies ahead.
In a recent campaign drive from Brisbane to Cairns I came across only one business that was hiring. The smell of uncertainty is everywhere.
I seek one term as Queensland’s first Independent Senator. I am seeking this in order to show politicians, the public and the media that with a little logic, common sense and maturity the Federal Parliament can deliver better outcomes.
I am not partisan. I am not a hater. I am not ‘Tribe Liberal’, ‘Tribe National’ or ‘Tribe Labor.’ I am ‘Tribe Australia.’ I believe people have a tendency to do good things if the structure within which they work allows them to do good things.
I want to work with both sides of politics — not against them.
New or minor parties are protest parties. They are not the answer. They mostly rise and fall with the rise and fall of the personality that starts them.
The world is sick. Global investment banking continues to be plagued with leveraged speculation and Ponzi finance. Few in the finance sector have a moral compass for the greater good.
The withdrawal of quantitative easing (QE) will force the capitalist system to go cold turkey. It will hurt. Australia will be affected. China will not save us this time and we are not ready.
People and business can smell this. That’s why they’re hiding in cash and not spending. Everyone, including government, is tightening the only side of the ledger they can control, the cost side.
We are slowly strangling ourselves.
To compound this financial turmoil, democracies around the world are under performing. They are run down, slow moving, self absorbed, divided, unable to deal with issues quickly, and in the national interest.
They think if you make a car, like Greece made democracy centuries ago, but never service it and make it relevant to the times, it will somehow keep operating forever.
It won’t and isn’t. Democracies, like a car, need to be serviced and updated otherwise they fall apart.
Australia is a lucky country but it will not stay lucky unless we work at it. We have a meager 200 year commercial history — yet we ooze arrogance. We think we’ll survive this GFC because we live in the Asian region, yet we don’t think Asian and don’t do business the Asian way. We lecture rather than learn.
While capitalism splutters along, global democracy performs badly. Drums of war beat discordantly throughout a confounded world and hybrid forms of capitalism and democracy deliver better outcomes than old school Anglo Saxon systems.
We in Australia talk about blue ties, budgy smugglers, boats, clever tweets, restaurant menus, 457s, misogyny, personality politics, celebrity politics, reality TV. We generally blame everyone except ourselves.
We have been captured by the 24 hour news cycle — into an action/response cycle, the shallow loop, that leads to diabolical short-termism. We need to grow up.
News grabs have dumbed us down. They are sugar hits to our sanity. They stop us thinking long term, while all of the world’s solutions are long term.
Social media has turned us nasty. I constantly get told I can’t possibly win because I can’t put what I’m trying to achieve into a simple slogan. I say sloganeering complex issues is the problem. This implies people are dumb, which, by the way, is what I’m constantly told as I move around Queensland and Australia.
I’m also told by every political whiz kid I meet to shave off my moe (which I’ve had since I left high school), change my glasses, wear different suits, change my hair and change my wardrobe west of the Great Divide.
In short, the best political advice I receive is to be someone I’m not. To win, I have to be a fake. Have focus groups taken over the world? If they have, I’m fighting back.
My experience is that if I spend 15 minutes with any person or group anywhere in Australia they get what I’m on about and see the logic.
When I tell overseas business and political leaders what I’m trying to achieve they tell me Australians won’t listen. Not because they’re dumb, but because they haven’t suffered enough.
They say in our brief 200 year commercial history we’ve had it too good. Compare national anthems I’m told. Everyone else’s anthem talks about struggle, civil war, ethnic violence, revolution, bloodshed and the road to hope from tyranny while Australia’s national anthem talks about geography and topography.
I see their point. So how do we better ourselves before things get worse? How do we improve the system?
When an economy is not delivering, we stimulate it by injecting more money. When a democracy is not delivering, we stimulate it be injecting more democracy. Party leaders cannot argue against this. Backbenchers love it.
Both Kevin 07 and the Obama 08 promised much but delivered little. Political warfare within and between parties constrained them. That’s because parties do not put country first. Their main aim is to get into government then stay in government.
Politicians don’t put country first. Their main aim is to win, advance up the greasy pole, then keep winning. We cannot trust parties or politicians to put country first. It’s not the way the system works.
So who can we trust to develop and embed medium to long term economic policy that puts country first and lays down a bedrock of economic security for Australia? The institution called the Federal Parliament. It’s been there from the beginning and will stay there till the end. Politicians and parties in government will come and go. Their lives are increasingly short term.
I challenge Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott to make a commitment prior to the election. No matter who wins government, there will be a two year debate in the next Parliament to pin down the 25% Bedrock Economic Policy vital to Australia’s medium to long term future. Experts from around the world will be enlisted. Politicians are decision makers — not experts.
Once that is done we inject more democracy into democracy, by allowing all 226 Members and Senators a conscience vote to lock in this 25% Bedrock Economic Policy. They do not wear their party hat. They do not wear their career hat. They wear their Australia hat.
Party leaders will hate this. The Australian public and backbenchers will love it.
This Bedrock Economic Policy is now owned by the institution called the Federal Parliament and is held in trust by the Parliament for the people of Australia.
The 25% Bedrock Economic Policy can only be amended and improved every five years after a further two year parliamentary debate using national and international experts. These five year amendments will never coincide with the three year election cycle so can never be used as a political football.
Politicians, no matter how well intentioned, cannot be trusted over time. We all know this — even they know this.
We need to give greater strength to the institution within which they work. Only the institution can think long term and provide surety. Unpopular but vital decisions can be made. Revenues can be locked in. Fundamentals can be put in place to sustain and grow the economy. Parties will grow to like it.
It still leaves 75% of less important policy to play ‘silly buggers’ with, to score political points and for parties to pretend to be vastly different to each other in shallow 24/7 PR branding exercises.
Even though I’m constantly told the majority of people are too dumb to understand and support my idea I have much greater faith in my fellow Australians.
If not, my foreign friends are right, and we will have to suffer more before we wake up.
Read more about Greg Rudd at gregrudd.com.
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