The usual tale of woe about talented and not so talented politicians……..

August 30, 2009 |

One of the predictable pieces a paper produces at least once in every election cycle is the lack of talent in politics and how to get the best and brightest into the field.  And If you pay peanuts… fits the bill perfectly.  The hook upon which this story is based is the latest round of preselections in the State scene. 

The article is right in demonstrating the political renewal is not a given.  Politicians hold onto their seats as long as is possible.  Phillip Ruddock wants to hold on even though there is virtually no prospect of him ever sitting on the front bench again let alone being a Minister.  He loves the buzz.  Wilson Tuckey likewise.  Bronwyn Bishop.. and the list goes on.  Same, if not worse, in the State sphere.

The issues of money, lack of privacy and the lack of status that goes with being a politician are posited as reasons why people of calibre don’t go into public life.  Maybe but it was always thus.  In times gone past the attacks on a politician were more raw and the risks greater.  You have to have an itch to get into politics.  You don’t do it for the money.  The real problem is political atrophy within the parties and across the parties.  With a dwindling membership base party hacks have an inside running.  Factions in the ALP and intensive cultivation within the conservative ranks makes it very hard for a relative newcomer to find a place in a party and make a run. 

But things change. The American system is full of crusty old operators, much like the late Edward Kenneday who almost served 5 decades in the Senate.  But every so often there is a major electoral shock and like a spring rain the fluff is washed away.  It is harder to do these days but all is not lost.

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