The Best Wo/Man For The Job


It’s time to quit complaining about the supposedly terrible state of politics in Australia.

If the perfect market is achieved through the most efficient utilisation of all resources, I have some good news for you: we have finally achieved the perfect political market in our country. We now have a state of equilibrium in Canberra, in which everyone is doing what they’re best at. With our men and women at the top echelon of politics using their God, or Satan, -given talents and skills to the fullest and best extent, we should be nearing some sort of a political nirvana.

Malcolm Turnbull enjoys being the Prime Minister. Being, not doing. He just likes the state, not the activity connected with being one. He looks Prime Ministerial, and he speaks Prime Ministerial; everyone thinks he is a very Prime Ministerial Prime Minister. Why would people want him – expect him – to actually do anything; make decisions, carry out reforms, have a program? That’s very messy and would require a lot of work, which would take the valuable time away from being the Prime Minister. It would also require some political judgment and risk-taking. And ideally also a political conviction and a guiding philosophy that appeals to a majority of Australians, beyond merely the unshakable belief that one should be the Prime Minister because one deserves to be and one makes a rather dashing one, even if one says so oneself.

Tony Abbott is back to being the Opposition Leader. Tony was the best leader of the opposition the Coalition has ever had. Within the space of a year he turned around the fortunes of the Opposition from standing on the verge of political disintegration and electoral annihilation to almost winning against a first term government. Then he persisted for another three years and won himself a landslide. Alas, Tony turned out to be a rather underwhelming Prime Minister; it’s not as easy, and it requires a different skill set, not to mention a different personality. Fortunately, he is now back doing what originally made him great: opposing the government. Or rather two governments: his own one when he was the Prime Minister, and Malcolm’s current government.

Pauline Hanson is back as the populist, and popular, third force in Australian politics, the job she first started doing – it’s hard to believe – 22 years ago, and which has subsequently been performed rather poorly, not to mention without much staying power, by Clive Palmer’s PUP, and before that, with a lot more success, by John Howard and his government, who proved that a smart centre-right coalition can be both one of the two main political forces in the country as well as the third one.

Peta Credlin is back to throwing tantrums at people who question her divine-like omniscience.

And Bill Shorten enjoys being a small target, which becomes a small man that he is. Why rock the boat (boat; better not mention that word) and remind people of one’s fatuousness and rank opportunism, when one can simply stand back, well back, and let the other mob tear itself apart, doing one’s job for oneself?

Happy political equilibrium, Australia!