This morning I spoke with Rebecca Levingston and Virginia Trioli on ABC Radio Brisbane, where I briefly raised the topic of the so-called Canberra Bubble. Of course, for those of you who listened in, you’d be aware that I’m not a fan of the phrase, but for those of you who didn’t hear, I’ll share it below:
One phrase that really annoys me a lot is the phrase “the Canberra Bubble” because I feel that it makes people think that certain things are really just restricted to politicians, and I think that that’s not what the Australian Parliament should be about. It should be open and accountable to all of the people of Australia.
We hear it all too often, to the point where I can literally hear Scott Morrison (ScoMo, for those who refuse to accept that there should be some basic standards when it comes to referring to the PM of Australia) in my head saying, “I really think that that’s a matter for the Canberra Bubble to deal with.”
It’s clearly a term used to effectively try and tell journalists that the answer to their question isn’t important, and doesn’t affect the Australian people. However, here’s the problem with that – the answer is important, and most certainly does affect the Australian people!
What seems to be so quickly forgotten by almost every MP and Senator is that they are there to represent their constituency (but, considering the amount of Section 44 compliancy issues, they might not realise this considering how few of them seem to have actually read the Constitution). Throughout Australia, there isn’t nearly enough communication between Members of Parliament and their constituents, and what doesn’t help is when this communication is seemingly viewed as a “benefit of membership” by some political parties, as you’ll see below from the ALP Queensland Membership Page:
As a member you have direct access to our politicians, candidates and elected officials. Communicate directly with the decision makers, on the issues you care about.
Of course, I could be interpreting this wrong, but to me this appears as if the Queensland Labor Party believes that unless you’re a member of their party, you aren’t worthy of having access to your local member (assuming they are Labor) . While I’m sure that this is not the case, the fact that this is even being used as a way of “selling” membership is despicable.
Australia’s politicians have an accountability issue. There’s no other way to put it. There are very very few who will just answer the tough questions as they’re asked. The phrase isn’t the main issue, rather it is an embodiment of our politicians unwillingness (certainly not inability) to answer reasonable and sensible questions about policy decisions which will affect Australians both now and in the long-term, and that is why I’ve got such a big issue with it.