Flat White

Is this the real cultural problem in politics?

23 February 2021

6:37 PM

23 February 2021

6:37 PM

The Brittany Higgins matter keeps moving on. The allegations are very disturbing. But there seems a more fundamental question not being asked. Why are ministerial and other parliamentary offices and shadow ministerial offices full of youngsters? And barely supervised youngers at that?

What can an early twenty-something, presumably just out of university, “advise” a minister on?

There appears to be only two career pathways for these advisor children — either to their own career in politics or a career in lobbying.

If Australia wants to better understand why the quality of and trust in our politicians is so eroded and why the only way for business to get ahead nowadays is through access where regulation is only increasing, start by looking at who is standing behind its ministers and their opposition alternatives.

One of the large factors in the toxic Canberra culture is that it is self-perpetuating. There is insufficient fresh blood and perspective brought in. And when it does come it is rejected like a free speech advocate at a Greens conference.

Bad behaviours are thus taught and perpetuated; not just interpersonal behaviours but the bias to casually spend other peoples’ money, to legislate first and ask questions never, to prioritise policy based on damaging the opposition rather than enhancing public welfare.

They will claim public service is a calling when for these people it is a career pathway to enhance their power and wealth. And if they can get both, bonanza.

Stephen Spartacus blogs at Sparty’s Cast where a version of this piece also appears.

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