In the latest edition of Your Say, Crikey readers share their outrage at corruption in politics, as well as the lack of leadership and integrity displayed by Scott Morrison and his “big swinging dicks” ministry.
Ben Rushton writes: Freedom of information (FOI) reform is the next most crucial step in stabilising Australian democracy. Senator Rex Patrick is doing great work in this area and I think FOI could be a spin-off Crikey series after The Dirty Country.
I fear that if Patrick left Parliament, the FOI mantle would be dropped. He is not a single-issue politician, but FOI is a single-politician issue. That is, he is the only politician to keep pressing the issue.
Rob Medbury writes: If a corporate officer in the private sector spent $30 million for land with a market value of $3 million because he or she couldn’t be bothered to call the local real estate agent, he or she would be out of a job. The same should occur with government officers.
Because politicians and more so ministers carry such great responsibility, their duty of care should likewise be elevated. They also need to realise there are clear and adverse consequences when they fail to meet the legal standard required.
Drafting the necessary legislation will probably never get through Parliament because self-interest provides such an irresistible force. There has to be a way to slow down the gravy train so that scarce resources are better spent on those who really need it and not in marginal seats or memorials for the local politician.
Kristina Nayada writes: In a perfect world there would be a cap on election spending, a ban on wasteful placards, flyers and how-to-vote cards, and more time spent debating policy on accessible platforms (TV).
Voters need facts to make an informed decisions on who to vote for — not spin.
Miriam Germein: Appreciated a focused discussion by a well-informed panel. Curated conversations of this kind appear deliberately more purposeful than televised panels, however stimulating and useful the latter.
Corruption is a concern for many Australians who feel disconnected from the political process. Therein lies the meaning and purpose of a group like GetUp for so many participants who want traction on particular issues but don’t want to be limited by that of a traditional political party.
Elizabeth Handley writes: All political donations should be banned. They are intended to gain political influence and access to decision-makers — they don’t make business sense otherwise.
The growing reliance on private donors to finance campaign spending has created the potential for real or perceived influence on decision-making and erodes public confidence in the integrity of the political process.
Equity in elections is a fundamental principle of Australia’s democratic system of government. It is also recognised that all voters should have a fair opportunity to participate in elections, including a fair and equal chance of nomination and election.
My ideal scenario would be that political donations at all levels of government were replaced by a system where the only election materials allowed are those publicly funded for each candidate. The candidates would be provided with a certain number of flyers, a certain number of TV, social media and radio spots, and an article in the local paper explaining their platform and policies. They could doorknock and stand on street corners as much as they wish.
Rosemary Reynolds: I’ve been to many, many rallies at Parliament House over the years. I always pay attention afterwards to the government’s response. Usually there’s zero response. Occasionally there’s a patronising dismissal of the protesters’ concerns.
But I’ve never before heard a response like the one Scott Morrison gave to the thousands of us who gathered [on Monday]. We were asking for action to stop violence against women. He told us we were lucky we weren’t being shot: “Not far from here … such marches are being met with bullets.”
This is the response of a man who fears a challenge to his power. He’s a bullying man trying to assert control. He’s invoking violent imagery to counteract women’s peaceful protest against violence. His choice of language is not an accident. It’s a threat.
This man will NEVER act to address our urgent problems. He will never lead this country in the vital, difficult work of fundamental cultural change.
Stephen Davies writes: The problem with the Morrison government — OK, one of them — is that it’s never really had to face any consequences for anything and so has never really developed the skills for handling a crisis with anything other than diversions or just trying to brazen it out by pretending it isn’t happening until it goes away.
There have been three main “crises”. First, Australians saw Morrison for what he was during the bushfires — unsympathetic, out of touch and entirely uninterested in being a leader.
He was saved from that by the second, COVID, and getting out of the way so that the premiers could deal with it and he could take credit for their success or put the boot in when they were having trouble (if they were Labor premiers).
And now this, the third, a crisis he can’t fob off, can’t smirk his way through or ignore — a crisis that goes to the heart of how more than half the population feel and are treated every day.
Liz Kilkenny writes: While almost speechless in response to Morrison’s comments and his total inability to read the room or spot a giant effing elephant, I am appalled by Lib women trying to defend the indefensible — Jane Hume, Marise Payne, Sarah Henderson all trying to follow Julie Bishop’s culture of how to deal with Big Swinging Dicks. It doesn’t work and makes you just as toxic.
Karis Muller Sanderson writes: I was part of the march, and apart from the moving presence of Brittany Higgins we had the privilege of hearing two strong and articulate elders. There were also two new ANU students, one of whom had been assaulted in college on her second night.
Enough, enough, enough. Morrison reminds me of what Solzhenitsyn said when out of the gulag, that in the USSR no one was allowed to speak whereas in the US people can speak but no one is listening.
Steve Graves writes: Of course ScoMo would not meet the demonstrators. He cannot handle people disagreeing with him, and the protesters were right to decline his offer of a private meeting which would have become another photo op. We need vision, not spin. Parliament is rotting from the head down.