So, Australia hasn’t had a proper government for around three years. The Abbott experiment was a mad scrum of throwback ideas, awkward doorstops and daily outrage followed by months of inaction.
The start of the Turnbull experiment was a melee of ideas, broad smiles and a collective sigh of relief that we finally had a prime minister who spoke in complete sentences and didn’t walk like Donald Duck.
But as it turned out, a prime minister who spoke in complete sentences was too much to hope for too. Fasttrack to a year later and we still have a prime minister who speaks in three word slogans and looks like a ghost of his former self but with a manic grin on his face. Meanwhile Prime Minister meekly submits to the schoolyard bullies and nothing gets done; nobody is obviously in charge and the government limps on. At least I think it does – no-one is paying attention.
But it’s got me thinking. Do we need government at all? Maybe we are a self-governing society. People are still going to cafes, going to the beach, going to work and getting paid. They are still getting married, going to the doctor, going to school and catching up with friends. They are going on diets, they are exercising, they are planning holidays and continuing to ignore politics. Life is going on as normal.
In Belgium a few years ago a hung parliament meant that a caretaker government with very limited powers was put in charge for nearly 18 months. And exactly the same thing happened. Life went on! Who knows, maybe it was better with fewer politicians. I do realise Australia has a majority government, but in a way it is similar to a hung parliament – we have a gridlocked agenda and a parliament not able to make decisions.
So, here’s my solution – a plebiscite question as follows: Does Australia need a government? Yes/No.
And … make the result binding, please.