IT’S not been a happy couple of weeks for the reputation of politics in Australia. Just as the furore of the travel expenses scandal was dying down we saw the prime minister of the country pull one last rabbit out the hat in his bid to further delay to legalisation of same-sex marriage.
And, finally, we’ve seen the independence of a royal commissioner, no less, called into question after it was revealed he had been booked to be the guest speaker at a Liberal Party fundraiser. After all that, even those few remaining idealistic voters who did not believe politicians were more interested in looking after their own than looking after their constituents would have been having second thoughts.
Just how did we get to this point? Has politics really descended so far that party apparatchiks either have no sense of what is expected from the rest of the community, or simply don’t care?
The anger surrounding royal commissioner Dyson Heydon being asked to give the annual Sir Garfield Barwick address is a case in point.
While Mr Heydon has now withdrawn from the engagement, it’s hard to comprehend how Liberal Party organisers could ever have thought inviting him to give the address was a good idea in the first place.
Mr Heydon is overseeing a royal commission into the unions that, from day one, has been branded a political witch-hunt by the government’s opponents.
And while it has uncovered some low-scale corruption, there has been nothing so far to justify the reported $61 million cost of the commission.
So you would have thought the last thing the Liberal Party would want to do would be to give the Labor Party more ammunition to support its claims of bias. But, apparently, no.
That’s either an appalling lack of political judgment, or an appalling lack of respect for the voting public. We’ll let you decide which.