Australia is suffering from a crisis of political leadership and no matter how hard we search, we just can’t seem to find our messiah.
In just seven short years, we have swapped and dropped our Prime Ministers no less than four times. If Tony Abbott had been dumped by his party earlier this year, we would have outstripped even Italy’s prime ministerial turnover rate.
At a state level, the Napthine Government’s shock defeat made it Victoria’s first one-term government in well over half a century. Further north, Queenslanders comprehensively rejected the first-term Newman Government, which had held the largest majority in the state’s political history.
And notwithstanding Mike Baird’s resounding victory last weekend, something tells me that it won’t take us very long to discover that he too is but a man, subject to the same human frailties that afflict us all.
Australians today are in desperate search for a messiah. And we are ready, willing and able to shaft any political leader who doesn’t make the cut.
It’s far too easy to blame this revolving door of leadership on the relentless 24/7 media cycle, or even the plummeting standards of political integrity (though, there is something to be said for each of these factors).
But it seems that the actual problem is that we are demanding from our political leaders that which they simply cannot give.
We demand that our government fix the budget without cutting any funding to any services whatsoever.
We demand that it strengthen national security laws without at all infringing on our civil liberties.
And we demand that it make pre-election promises that are simply impossible to keep, and then punish them when they inevitably fail to do so.
At some point, the Australian electorate needs to accept our responsibility for the crisis of political leadership.
We need to break free of our messiah complex. And we need to stop perpetuating the misguided and dangerous assumption that politics is the panacea to every social problem – that government is god.
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