Flat White

Hacks or proper politicians: a crib sheet for electors

13 September 2016

7:33 AM

13 September 2016

7:33 AM

Let me take a moment to clarify the difference between a hack and a politician. I get the sense that most people are unaware of the crucial difference between the two.

As a local humanitarian of some standing, I feel it is my social justice duty to inform readers who perhaps (unlike myself) have better things to do with their time than hang around political sycophants.

Perhaps this enlightenment will assist us in improving our impression of politics and allow us to return to the glory days of when the constituency trusted their representatives not to sell themselves to the Chinese. Here’s hoping.

A hack

A hack is a person interested in or involved in politics. The main values of a hack consist of deep political gains (similar to the kind of deep muscle gains one acquires at the gym and equally as vapid) for the sake of leadership, power and personal reputation. All those wonderful things we loved about politicians such as Almost One Time UN Secretary General Kevin Rudd.

The ultimate ambitions of a hack revolve around acquiring a place in parliament. However, they are quite happy to sit around being a staffer to a politician or working for a think tank temporarily. Possibly even a short stint as Human Rights Commissioner or something, if given the opportunity by an Attorney General who enjoys making dubious appointments to taxpayer funded positions (on a completely unrelated note, does anyone know a good Brisbane-based lawyer?).


A hack wants to be a politician because it is likely to be the most highly paid job their skills will allow for. On the backbench, they can earn $180,000 (plus super and other benefits including the occasional Chinese donation or Rolex).

A hack knows that if they sufficiently groom the proverbial and physical backside of someone they believe will become Highly Influential one day, they may even get promoted to Minister for Innovation or some such.

All it takes to be a successful hack is a keen eye for spotting potential leaders and being overly enthusiastic about their imminent triumph. It begins innocently with ‘liking’ all of the Future Leader’s Facebook statuses but it progresses from there. Wyatt Roy was highly skilled at that, albeit less skilled at having a keen eye on his own federal seat.

A hack will compromise on many things to obtain a promotion.

In 2010, Senator Penny Wong said she did not support same-sex marriage, in line with the official ALP platform. In 2013, she changed her mind, in line with the ALP platform. This is an example of hack behaviour.

Junior Senator from NSW Sam Dastyari is another hack. Dastyari railed against corruption within the banking industry for months, even proposing anti-bribery legislation be introduced. Then he was caught accepting payments from Chinese interests.

A politician

On the other side of the metaphorical chamber, we have the politicians. A politician is elected based on the beliefs and values they hold, which they were honest about during the process of their pre-selection. A politician does not sway with what is popular on Twitter. A politician listens, acknowledges the views of the electorate, and counterbalances them with their own views and the position of his or her party. A politician enters parliament holding certain core beliefs and will depart parliament holding those same core beliefs. A politician can be trusted to work in the best interest of the Australian public, sometimes to the detriment of their own career progression.

The former Western Australian Labor senator Joe Bullock resigned halfway through his six-year term. He felt morally obliged to quit parliament because of the ALP’s decision to bind members of parliament on ‘homosexual marriage’ rather than allowing a conscience vote. Bullock resigned when he felt that he could not represent his party, and made room for someone who would. This is a politician of honesty and integrity. This is the antipathy of a hack.

Why am I telling you all this? It is vital for preselectors and the general public to know the difference. A hack will represent their interests and the interests of lobbyists. A politician will represent the interests that you voted them in to represent on your behalf.

Next time you’re voting, ask yourself, is your local candidate a hack or a politician?

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