Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Getting the respect they deserve

The annual "most trusted professions" survey is out again, showing that politicians once again rank at the bottom of the list, alongside used-car salesmen, real-estate agents, telemarketers and prostitutes. And its entirely unsurprising. After all, they've worked so very hard to earn that poor reputation, with housing rorts, travel perks, contempt for the electorate, the systematic abuse of expenses, continued secrecy around political donations, childish behaviour in the House, and to cap it all off, a conspiracy of silence around it all. The Speaker makes excuses up for abusive MPs, the Prime Minister gives them more money with less transparency, and they collectively refuse to extend the OIA to Parliament to allow for proper scrutiny. Rather than being treated unfairly, our politicians are getting the respect they deserve.

MPs can change this, but they would need to lose the arrogance and sense of entitlement, and commit to ethical behaviour and full transparency so we can keep an eye on them. And it speaks volumes that no MP or party is willing to do this. Until they do, they will not earn our trust; instead, they will continue to earn our contempt.