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Crikey Says

Dec 5, 2012

Crikey says: why disloyalty should not be death

Plenty you can say about Labor; transparency should be part of it. Not that anyone really listened to John Faulkner. Joe Hockey proves why nobody should listen to him. What Julia Gillard was told about those WikiLeaks cables. Are good leaders psychos? Not Jac Nasser, we think.

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The punishment for disloyalty is death. That’s how the script runs, right?

Labor elder John Faulkner’s persuasive and powerful speech yesterday on the need for reform of the ALP, and for broader reform of the political process, was shrunk by much of the media into the usual “politician criticises own party” beat-up. Labor must be in trouble.

MPs were issued the usual “please explain” on their colleague’s apparent crime: to talk openly about problems within his party, and to make suggestions on how to improve the situation.

The media’s entrenched habit of beating up dissent acts as a dumbed-down short circuit of important political debates which deserve more thoughtful consideration. It encourages politicians to slavishly parrot their party’s talking points like so many robots in suits.

Why does everyone in a party have to (pretend to) agree on everything? Why can’t politicians say what they think on policy? It’s not so much the case in the US, where there’s greater tolerance for politicians to speak their minds.

So we say bravo to the Faulkners. We say bravo to the Petro Georgious, the Malcolm Turnbulls, the Fiona Nashes, the Mal Washers, the Tony Crooks, the Barnaby Joyces. Not because we necessarily agree with them, but because it’s healthy and constructive for the deep-run differences of opinion that inhabit every corner of Parliament House to be out in the open, where the public can play a role in understanding and debating them.

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