As Theresa May, her Conservative Government and Labour clamour for ascendancy after what has been a confusing, malicious and at times, barking mad, twenty-four months since the Brexit negotiations began, it shows that at least Australia’s political system remains relatively effective.
Although Morrison’s Coalition Government are on the ropes, going from scandal to scandal and faux pas to faux pas, they are still largely held accountable by the public’s reactions to their decisions on a day-to-day basis. The constant fear of a voter backlash in the public realm still instils the panic, terror and party room policy realignment that has helped Australian politics keeps its collective head throughout our modern history.
Our lauded system of compulsory voting surely plays its part in keeping both state and federal politics within the public’s realm of control.
Knowing that with a firm stroke a political party can be wiped out after a tumultuous few years in office and with the vast majority of our population enrolled, and law-abidingly having their say on polling day means we can enjoy a harmony of sorts where our politics and policies are concerned.
Britain however, is still stuck in the obscure, over-sentimental and inconsistent form of their own Westminster system; a system that now looks so broken that things have slid into the reals of complete indecision and to the detriment of the British people who put them there.
The Brexit negotiations have shown that no one is sure on where they stand, what they believe and as shown later in the House of Commons: allegiances, ideals and party values are often washed aside for each member’s own political wills and ladder climbing ambitions.
As the British parliament fight and squabble amongst themselves, they have shown a complete and utter disregard for the people they represent. The back room shuffling, deal-making and party room disagreements we have seen make for torrid and frustrating viewing and in no way take into account the public view or outrage that has been seen throughout the country since this common’s wide debacle began.
Back home now, and if we look hard enough at the current state of federal politics, there is hope on the horizon.
Yes, the private lives of our politicians have come out into the open, we have endured flip-flopping on climate change policy and indeed another toppling of a sitting Prime Minister. Yet, with all this, our voices are usually heard in one way or another. If we speak with enough tenacity and volume, we, as a voting public, are usually heard if only on our votes alone.
Marriage equality and the Medevac Bill are a mere few examples of our Parliament changing tones and ideals on policy when they know they are going to be hammered at the polls if they keep on their current paths. The Coalition as a whole may not have changed their stance with these issues, but the other policymakers in the independents, Labor and some Liberal MPs did because that is what a majority of their constituents asked them to do.
Common sense, if only in our own Antipodean way.
It just shows in comparison to Great Britain that we as Australian’s don’t tolerate poor governance in the House of Representatives in its entirety.
Scott Morrison and indeed Labor with their newfound popularity and positive polling results will now have to wait with bated breaths as to how we, as a nation of compulsory voters, react in May to this past year in the world of Australian politics.
James Fitzgerald is an Australian freelance journalist based in London. He has a keen interest in world politics as well as social and environmental issues across the globe. You can follow James @Jamesfitzsport
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