Sunday, June 2, 2013

Are senior politicians a dying breed?

At least in the Australian context, mature-age politicians seem to be a dying breed (figuratively speaking, of course!). Many of our MP's have young children. Thus they are still preoccupied with raising a family while attending to the affairs of state. Finance Minister Penny Wong has just become a mother (or father?). Prime Minister Julia Gillard seems to be getting younger and younger on TV (botox or plastic surgery not discounted). She is 52. Her nemesis Tony Abbot is slightly older at 61. However, both Julia and Tony are like overgrown babies, judging by the name calling and mud slinging matches they display with gusto in Parliament.

Here is my point, seriously. Surely we have a wisdom deficit situation. From Federal Parliament to State Parliament, and down to the local councils, the average age of politicians is getting lower and lower. One (and there may be more) local councilor in my area was fresh out of university. Surely we could use people with more experience and wisdom that comes with age.

The Victorian State government recently awarded itself a 15% pay rise, while the state is travailing in growing unemployment and budget deficit. This monkey-see-monkey-do business is simply apeing what the Federal government is doing. Just three months after awarding itself a hefty pay increase, the federal MP's were awarded another 3% increase*. The justification? It could not be for a job well done, or for balancing the budget, or for building a better future for all Australians (writer's opinion). Back to my point; when you expose kids to a cookie jar, they are going to help themselves big time.

I categorically deny that older politicians will automatically make better politicians. My point is that surely we could use more wisdom in our leaders, and wisdom normally takes time to develop in a person. I, for one, would love to see that our local council is staffed with mature-age, experienced, and wise people who are more keen to promote community welfare than their own career. Likewise the State and Federal parliaments. Would you rather travel in a plane flown by a matured, experienced pilot, or by someone who is still clocking up flight time?


No comments: