IT all looks very Neighbours, but while the Labor party are busy playing out their personal dramas, Australians can’t help but question: is this what we pay them for?
We were left boggle-eyed and open mouthed when just as Stephen Smith was hoping to rekindle his relationship with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, former NSW Premier Bob Carr burst back onto our screens, superbly snatching Steve’s ex, in the wake of Kevin Rudd’s sensational departure from prime time.
In a devious manipulation of the parliamentary loophole that allows members to enter unelected as a Senate replacement – in this case, to fill the vacancy left by Mark Arbib’s shock resignation – Bob was parachuted back into politics by the one everyone loves to hate, Julia Gillard.
Although it is possible to sneak into Canberra this way, it is highly unusual for a member to be so immediately rocketed into such a senior portfolio as Foreign Affairs. It seems all too much like a cleverly conceived diversion by scriptwriters in NSW’s right faction to advance our attention on from the Kill Kevin episode.
But Labor’s troubles aren’t so easily hushed up. Is Mark’s mysterious resignation to “spend more time with his family” just a cover for something more sinister, soon to be revealed in an exclusive Today Tonight tell-all? And what if Kevin’s retreat to the backbench is just part of another cunning plan? Is he simply buying time as he diabolically plots yet more mischief and mayhem?
Labor’s attempt to move past their leadership drama by staging further theatrics is certainly a creative response, but can it be called an effective one whilst the ghosts of Labor leaders past still hauntCanberra— or should that beRamsay Street?
And in the lead up to the next election, should we prepare for another bombshell? Parties don’t take losing leaders to the public vote, so if polls don’t pick up, we could just see another leadership challenge before the Christmas special. In this political climate, one can never be sure what new surprise is lurking around the corner. After Bob’s resurrection, who will be next to make a comeback: Keating? Hanson (again)? Paul Robinson — or is he back already?
But what does all this mean forAustralia? It’s entertaining — yes. But is this really how we want the nation to be run? Julia has said the Australian public is “fed up” with the political brawl. Perhaps what we’re really fed up with is this dramatic self-absorbed behaviour unbecoming even of politics.
Is it wrong to expect actual policy making from our politicians? Maybe it’s time they leave the drama to the professionals. What the Labor party needs to do right now is to straighten its tie, take three deep breaths, and get out there and lead our country.
Meanwhile, political junkies cling to the edge of their seats, craving the next instalment of the great ALP saga.