Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:42 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:42 | SYDNEY

A good word for 'politics'


Sam Roggeveen


11 August 2009 11:47

It's unfair to pick on Shadow Emissions Trading Minister Andrew Robb, because all politicians do it, but did he have to describe the Government's parliamentary tactics on the Emissions Trading Scheme as 'playing politics'? This practise is so common that it's never remarked upon, but it is corrosive and ought to stop.

Politicians are broadly seen as untrustworthy and there is widespread public indifference about the political process. That's bad news for any democracy, and it would be a good thing if that perception changed. But politicians do their profession no favours when they denigrate it this way.

As Bernard Crick said, 'Politics is a preoccupation of free men, and its existence is a test of freedom.' There are other ways to arrange a nation's affairs — through an absolute monarch, for instance, or a military dictator — but Australia chose the perpetual messiness and indecisiveness of politics. That's a noble thing and we ought to be proud of it.

Yes, politicians can be dishonest and cowardly and sometimes corrupt, but those actions ought to be called by their proper names. Just don't call them 'politics'.

Photo by Flickr user Image Editor, used under a Creative Commons license.