Why we should pay our politicians more!

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Last week I was on the phone with Katherine, the receptionist from Australian Hearing. Australian Hearing is the nation’s largest provider of Government funded hearing services and we have been visiting Katherine and the crew since Jack was 6 weeks old.

Jack’s FM system had died (click for backstory) and the audiologist had to put forward a case that it needed to be replaced. Our request was approved (HURRAY!) Katherine called to book in our fitting appointment and told me that the next available was in September. So that will be more than 2 months since Jack would have been able to hear his teacher 100%. This is not Australian Hearing Fault. They do groundbreaking stuff and their staff are gorgeous and so very caring. But because it is a government-funded operation, there is very little money to play with. Hence very long waiting lists.

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Bronwyn Bishop has an “addiction to privilege”, so the media is telling us today. An addiction that has seen her allegedly spend a quarter of a million dollars to swan around like she is Beyoncé. The difference, of course, is that Beyoncé earns her own money so can do with it what she pleases. Ms. Bishop was spending my money, and your money. We are effectively her bosses. Had this situation occurred in a corporate environment, she would be up on serious fraud charges. Instead, Tony Abbott tells us that it was not her fault. It was the SYSTEMS fault. What the actual fuck?

“I should point out that it is right and proper that we remember that members of parliament have duties that are much wider than merely governmental, merely parliamentary. We do have political duties as well and there needs to be a system which acknowledges that.” Tony Abbott

If you listen very hard (if you happen to have perfect hearing) you may be able to hear the whir of a thousand paper shredders hard at work today in Canberra. This sort of shit has been going on for years, from both parties.

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So here is the problem, in my humble opinion. There are less and less politicians who have true intent. That being acting of the behalf of their constituents and their best interests. Most members are what I call “Career Politicians,” who think they are rock stars, or celebrities. Their egos are driven by the pomp and ceremony that goes with being en elected member. And a lot of it comes down to money.

We pay Joe Hockey $271 per night to stay at his wife’s house when he is in Canberra. He could be putting that cash back into our economy by staying in a hotel, but basically it goes back into his property portfolio.

It costs us $45 Million dollars in payments per year to retired politicians.

When Abbott is booted, we will pay him $200K per year, plus a cushy city office, plus a car and driver and a shed load of other perks.

When Peter Slipper retires, he will get a $157K per year.  Yet they expect a single pensioner to get by on $20K.

Why are we not rioting in the streets? 

Look, our problem is small compared with many. I have readers with chronically ill kids who are going into debt because their vital medication is not a part of the PBS system, because the government thinks that it too much for them to subsidise. I have had an email from a lady in the bush who has had to pull her own tooth out with pliers, because there was no dental services in her area. Kids with special needs are denied extra support, because we are cutting money from budgets all over the place.

I was speaking to my wise Mr. Woog about how our country is going backwards in all areas, and he told me that we do not plan for the future, the countries in Europe and Asia have been shaping what their nations are going to look like for the next few hundred years, but we are too busy fighting each other than making good policy based on science and evidence and knowledge.

I have heard our current crop of politicians tell us that they could actually make far more money if they went and worked in the corporate world. So go and bloody do it! I would love to know how that works out for you.

So perhaps we should pay our politicians more. Lure across the business leaders and the academics who know how to plan, think, behave, budget, problem solve, I dunno….. LEAD.

Because the current system is clearly not working.

Does this make you cranky too?