It’s not all about you!

It is a sad fact of life that Australians are losing confidence in our parliamentarians. Put into office to serve the community’s interests, they turn their backs on us consistently and devote almost all their energies to negative point-scoring.

Nowhere is this more painfully obvious than in federal politics where a hung parliament after the 2010 election has yielded us two years of unutterably pessimistic negativity.

As soon as his narrow loss became apparent Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, embarked on a crusade to undermine any perceived legitimacy that might accrue to the Julia Gillard Labor government. He took to his cause with an almost religious zealotry that has been akin to an exorcist seeking to drive out the devil incarnate.

For her part, Prime Minister Gillard initially lurched from blunder to blunder in a manner which made us embarrassed and uncomfortable. The majority of voters made clear they did not like her but few – rabid partisans aside – were willing to vilify her given the cachet she had earned as the nation’s first elected female national leader.

Abbott has exhibited no such qualms. His unceasingly relentless and ruthless attacks have failed to bury his opponent. Instead, he has finally been forced onto the back foot by her latter-day determination to mimic Abbott’s style of play. Gillard has finally chosen to repay his scorn and derision with equal measures of hauteur and castigation.

The tactic has not dramatically enhanced her likeability to voters but it has substantially stymied Abbott’s preferred method of attack. There is hardly a man alive who could succeed in prosecuting a female opponent after having been successfully slandered as a misogynist.

Far too few people, including many seasoned political watchers, have paid credit to the reality that one does not secure very high office by being, quintessentially, a nice person. Politics is not a pleasant pastime. It is a ruthless revolution in which the perks of power, privilege and patronage change hands with comparative frequency. The lure of luxury and the dread of defeat drive both sides to a frenzy in which any semblance of compliance with a code of conduct is superciliously cast aside.

The result of this calamitous contretemps is that the fabric of Australian society is being seriously damaged. People realise that our national system of government has been suborned by its cast as they go about their business primarily focused on themselves and quite clearly not giving a damn about the country’s welfare.

We, and our issues of concern, have been jettisoned in the politicians’ frenzy of moral superiority as they pathetically pretend that their own self-interest somehow equates to the national interest.

It is time for this sickening sanctimoniousness to end. Australia needs decent leadership founded on a vision for a fair and just society in which merit is rewarded and endeavour is recognised. It is time government was managed for the people and not the politicians.

Continuing to deny this principle will bring justifiable retribution at the ballot box as opinion polls are already warning. Not that the majority of elected representatives appear to be taking any notice. Be it on their own heads.