Just make the bloody decision

August 23, 2017

THE pettiness of Canberra politics often overshadows the inability of those august individuals to do the job they were actually elected for.

To govern.

Increasingly, as in the US, our politicians govern by polls. If the polls are bad it can spark anything from a bloody coup and the axing of one leader after another.

If they are good, the leader can get rid of potential threats and also go easy on the power pedal.

But in recent weeks we have seen everything from a pathetic play for headlines by one senator to an even more pathetic play for doing absolutely everything except make a decision.

The farce of the postal plebiscite and, in this case, the Turnbull government’s determination to do everything it can to have someone else make a decision on its behalf is a perfect case in point.

Mirrored recently by Campaspe Shire, with enough challenges on its plate doing the job it has a bevy of elected members to manage, wasting its and its ratepayers’ time with a hollow gesture by voting on same sex marriage.

I am not in the position of being able to fully understand the personal and public pressures minorities face – I was born a white, heterosexual Anglo-Saxon Protestant at a time in our history when we still had a deeply-entrenched White Australia policy.

It does not bother me to say I went right through my school life – primary and secondary – knowingly knowing one Catholic student, one Jewish, no indigenous, Asians or Africans.

There was a smattering of new Australians but they were white and mostly spoke English.

I was only vaguely aware one of my friends may not have had parents living together.

As for knowing anyone who might have fitted anywhere on the acronym spectrum – well I thought gay meant having a good time, I was well into my teens before I fully understood not everyone was heterosexual.

That was my lot, and the lot of a lot of us, in the 1950s and 1960s.

Today I know about it all, I know people in every one of those categories, even have some of them in my own family.

Each, in their way, has made my life a lot richer. But none of them have had to stand before me and declare their religious, political, sexual or personal beliefs to get my attention, or friendship.

Over the years Australian governments have delighted in wasting money.

Such as the time one government staged a referendum to outlaw communism, and got told to drop on its head. I remember 1967 when 90 per cent of Australians voted to confirm what should have been commonsense – that our indigenous citizens get some semblance of equal rights. And even with that majority the whole thing has still been made a hash of.

Now the time has come for another decision.

And the people pulling down millions and millions of dollars in pay and perks to do exactly that, make a bloody decision, are once again ducking and weaving.

I will sleep soundly whatever the plebiscite outcome.

What will concern me is the mess you can already see coming whichever way the vote goes.

For one I think I would be a lot happier if we could focus on some big ticket items, such as backing away from the Trump-led circus that might just drag us into a maelstrom beyond imagination if we are not careful, or he doesn’t shut up.

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