So, what follows are not the words of an expert, but the thoughts of a person who has professionally observed life and politics for nearly 50 years. These may be perceptive words, or stupid. I don’t know. But perhaps they will provoke some discussion behind the locked doors:
In a crisis like this we need direct answers, honest answers, and none of the usual glib self-congratulation we have come to expect and accept
I think and hope that as we emerge from this in a year, or whenever, that Australia will enter a new era of politics.
Because I believe this crisis and focus on our own mortality has cut our tolerance for the usual spin, political salesmanship and self-justification which has previously masqueraded as leadership.
It surfaced in several interviews I did last week. Politicians were dodging and spinning and waffling as is their way. Normally I might tolerate that and then try to bring them to the point. Last week, there was no room for tolerance, and I said so. It was an insult to the audience.
In a crisis like this we need direct answers, honest answers, and none of the usual glib self-congratulation we have come to expect and accept.
If a politician is not up to that, then get out. If they can’t identify that now is the time to treat the public decently and like adults, rather than children to be conned, dump them.
At times, the Prime Minister has struggled with directness. In fairness he is massively tired and must feel almost crushed by the responsibility. He is not only mapping the destiny of the country but his own place in history. He will be remembered kindly or otherwise in the way we view a war time prime minister.
Daniel Andrews, the Victorian premier, has been more direct and blunt in his language. But again, to be fair, he has done that hours after we heard the details of national cabinet decisions from the PM. And he has still found time for a little political one-upmanship.
Perhaps it is lockdown delusion, but I see hope we will emerge with a breed of politicians understanding that the best way to deal with the public is to be yourself, be direct, and don’t spin.
Public tolerance for the old methods of political trickery will be very low. And there will be much painful work to be done as we build economic recovery. Budgets will be cut and lobbyists will scream.
I believe the public will require and demand a new political discourse, a new trust and an understanding that they must not be treated as fools.
A politician will eventually identify that and embrace it. And that person may deserve the title “leader”.