Scandal and intrigue should surely be the stuff of blockbuster novels but they are the script for Federal politics, much to the annoyance of COVERED. political writer Mark Smith.

Sex scandals, pregnant staffers, alleged entitlement rorts, citizenship issues, news polls, sex bans, Tony Abbott comments and cabinet reshuffles. All of this to talk about and not one thing involves the government running the country or developing policy. Absolutely ridiculous.

At the end of last year, Turnbull and his team would have been looking forward with some optimism after getting through same-sex marriage legislation and holding onto the seats of Bennelong (John Alexander), and New England (Barnaby Joyce), after they were forced to hold by-elections due to the on-going citizenship mess. Even though at the time, the coalition was still behind in news poll 53-47, things were looking up.

However, this government always finds a way to go backwards. It all started with the PM mentioning the republic again around Christmas, then a day later saying it wasn’t going to happen. The man simply has extremely poor political judgement. Then the Barnaby Joyce affair exploded onto the scene. Really, the less said about this whole topic the better. No-one wins, especially people involved, who didn’t choose to enter the public sphere. It was John Howard that said that politicians volunteered for the life, but their families are conscripts to it.

Should politicians’ private lives be made public? I believe so, if it is affecting their ability to do their job. It is always hard to prove that, and one hopes that individual pollies could decide this for themselves. Good luck with that.

It is unbelievable that there are citizenship issues still unresolved in
the federal parliament. Surely now is the time to refer all those under a cloud to the High Court, so the matter can be sorted out.

The latest Newspoll released at the beginning of March, showed the government trailing Labor 53-47, making it the 28th poll in a row wherethe coalition has been behind. This means that soon it will be 30 Newspolls that the government has been behind. This will obviously be looked at keenly, especially by those who remember Malcolm Turnbull’s famous quote that the government, under Tony Abbott had ‘lost 30 Newpolls in a row’, and that the public had made up their mind on Tony Abbott’s leadership. Turnbull promised to deliver a clearer economic message, and good government. Can anybody say this has been the case? Can anyone say what the government (and Turnbull) stand for? What their agenda is? What they believe in? I can’t, apart from the ‘jobs and growth’ slogan.

Tony Abbott’s comments will be interesting at the time, and perhaps if he hadn’t been so public with all his comments and theories on the current government until now, maybe he could have made a comeback.

Is it too much to expect that our governments will lay out their agenda at the start of an election campaign, and then if they win, explain to the public how they plan to achieve it, and argue their case? Or are we destined to continue down this soap opera-like path?

Once again, I find it so frustrating not to be able to write anything positive about this group of people. •


words by: mark smith  photography: florian klauer