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The Forum > Article Comments > Sandpit politics > Comments

Sandpit politics : Comments

By Rob Moodie, published 6/10/2006

Politicians' bad behaviour and lifestyles are ruining their health

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Doc, we donít expect any better from our pollies. We expect them to be grubby individuals who orchestrate devious ways of raiding the taxpayersí purse while at the same time abusing their colleagues.

Letís examine one ex-MP and letís treat him as being the epitome of the vileness that goes with being an MP. Our MP was happily married with a young family. He attended those boring party fund-raisers where he had the misfortune to rub shoulders with the canaille. But our MP had a deep secret. He was playing hide the sausage with one of his office staff. That affair ended but a new one blossomed, also with a member of his office staff. One spurned lover would surely break the practice of omerta so itís a safe bet to say that the MPís affairs were the subject of tittle-tattle.

When the MP was in Canberra and claiming T/A he did on occasions drive to his loverís flat in East Sydney, a course of action which saw him bypass his family home in inner Sydney. What a cad. Once inside her flat the MP would get his meter running while at the same time the good old taxpayersí meter was running. When caught what did his colleagues do? They rallied around him and the old trope of Ďserving the publicí and being above base behaviour was replaced with Canberra sometimes causes the strong to succumb to carnal vices.

Under examination in court the MPís barrister introduced us to a broken man, a blathering wreck whose only functioning bodily organ was his penis. How do those afflicted with such a disease treat it? We all know how; you feed the condition with taxpayersí money. This novel treatment has yet to gain acceptance in the medical field but we remain vigilant and read the ďLancetĒ from cover to cover.

MPs have conditioned us to accept vile and base behaviour so any adoption of civilised manners would need a full explanation as to why they werenít in operation in the first place.

Name calling and abuse are badges of honour for politicians.
Posted by Sage, Friday, 6 October 2006 12:08:08 PM
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What I see from our politicians is a reflection of the rest of us -

it is a sad reflection if you happen to be some one who aspires to higher standards or pretends to stand by higher standards is more to the point -

We should not fool ourselves - as a nation we good but not perfect -it is the patriots who seem to think we are perfect - and I am poor patriot

now I know I will be pilloried as a left leaning Australia hater - any one who seems to thinks that we are not all that we pretend to be usually is seen in that light -

Some of Robbs comments actually speak to the earlier discussion on masculinity - on what it means ot be a man etc - and sadly Aussies still see those more bellicose amongst us and those who spoil for a blue as being somewhat strong -

Robb goes on to say

Discrimination and abuse perpetrated on the basis of gender, political, cultural or religious background, sexual orientation, or level of ability are some of the most unfortunate yet enduring characteristics of humanity _ Hicks, Rau, Asylum seekers, same sex unions - even trade unions!... I could go on - but there in nothing like a tough stance in lieue of reason is there?

Yet that is what the focus of this government has been over the last few years and for the most part the opposition has gone along with them hand in hand - and of course we elected them to do that.

So lets not get too precious when they act like dick heads
Posted by sneekeepete, Friday, 6 October 2006 1:12:58 PM
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Dr Moodie, you could say all the same things about our captains of industry and it does not anything to do with gender.

Matter of fact if you trawl around the senior managers in the bureaucracy or in private enterprise you will bump into many people who fit the mold you describe. One could be excuse for believing that many of our 'knobs' are amoral narcissists, or maybe bullying sociopaths.

Maybe it says more about our culture than anything else.

You are right Dr Moodie when you imply that this sort of behaviour rolls down the line. It is for very good reason that auditors believe that the control environment is set at the top of organisations and this applies equally to government.

We have a federal government that has trashed previous notions of ministerial accountability and relies on spin. On a daily basis in the House we see Front Bench Ministers play out knuckle men (and knuckle women!) roles, telling the most outrageous porkies and blaming others for their own misdeeds.

It is not by accident that ethics have taken a conuous beating in the federal parliament, some have worked very hard to make it so and they gain personal advantage from the systemic corruption that flows from it.

You say their health might suffer. Maybe so, but what about the health and wellbeing of those who are subjected to their bullying and corruption?
Posted by Cornflower, Friday, 6 October 2006 1:19:53 PM
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Dear Rob,

I've often thought that if our children behaved at the dinner table the way our pollies behaved in parliament then they would be sent to their room until they were prepared to speak properly to each other. So you article was much appreciated.

But I must take you to task for some of your own double-speak in this article. You say that "Discrimination and abuse perpetrated on the basis of ... level of ability are some of the most unfortunate yet enduring characteristics of humanity", and point out that depression and anxiety are two frequent outcomes of this. I agree. And this discrimination must be exposed and challenged at every opportunity. So why is VicHealth (and the new VicHealth Centre for the Promotion of Mental Health and Social Wellbeing at Melbourne University) silent on this?

While I admire VicHealth's commitment to mental health promotion, and also much of it's work in this area, most of the benefits are lost when VicHealth fails to challenge the widespread discrimination against people who experience psychiatric disability.

Whether it is racism, sexism or homophobia, we know that discrimination is only overcome through hearing directly from those who experience it. For mental health promotion this means we need to hear from mental health consumers.

The deliberate and determined failure by VicHealth (and its new Centre) to engage with mental health consumers defeats its otherwise admirable efforts at mental health promotion. Given VicHealth's position of influence, this sadly makes VicHealth part of the infrastructure of the institutionalised discrimination against mental health consumers.

Rob, please have a look at the recently finalised UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities ... and revise your mental health promotion campaign accordingly ...

David Webb (PhD)
Melbourne
Posted by Webbo, Friday, 6 October 2006 4:40:04 PM
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I dare say Webbo that Mr Moodie is some what constrained because -

while he does advocate for the better treatment of those suffering with Mental Health -

- he is accountable to the Minister for Health and the Parliament and these -

- as well as their agencies and departments and institutions -

- through various sins of omission and comission and failures to respond to communities needs discriminate against those with psychiatric disabilites

- few bureaucrats bite the hand that feeds them.

For this government and all those who work for it - apart from maybe the auditor general and then the Government dismiss him as if he is a dullard who works using little more than a slate, some chalk and an abacus - it is good news all way! - let us not sully our performance in Gubment with self criticism: I cant see Moodie doing anything else.
Posted by sneekeepete, Friday, 6 October 2006 5:09:09 PM
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We seem to accept without question that our politicians suffer greater strain than the management class in industry, and that their behaviour in parliament is somehow excused for this reason. The simple fact is that they have far fewer real job pressures than we mere mortals, the first one being that they have guaranteed job security until the next election. How many of the rest of us can say the same?

It is an unfortunate fact of life that we have, over the years, decided to treat politicians as some form of elite, and have allowed them to arrogate themselves every kind of lurk and perk. None but a scant ten percent of them would last a month in the business world, subject to individual scrutiny as to their job performance twice a year, and with the constant opportunity that their livelihoods might be outsourced to Bangladesh or the Philippines at the next tick of the accountant's pen.

I will start to feel sorry for these people when i) they do a decent day's work in return for the financial support we provide, ii) they allow themselves - as individuals - to be measured on their performance against the commitments they made to their constituents prior to their election and iii) we - their true paymasters - are allowed to see the quantum, and the justification, for the expenses that they add to their take-home pay without a backward glance.

And finally, it would not hurt them to be polite to each other, and provide the level of respect that should - I stress, should - be the right of any decent, honest and responsible individual.

But I guess (straying into another discussion entirely) it is just another aspect of that much-cherished "Australian culture" that makes us go weak at the knees and suspend our normal critical faculties.
Posted by Pericles, Friday, 6 October 2006 5:31:07 PM
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