Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The solution to the current Australian political problems

Like all great ideas, this occurred to me in the shower this morning.

OK. So there is a fundamental problem with Australian politics at the moment. Both parties (Labor and Liberal) have previous leaders who are still senior portfolio holders. Labor has Julia Gillard as current leader and Prime Minister, and Kevin Rudd as previous leader (and also previous Prime Minister). The Liberals have Tony Abbott as current leader and Malcolm Turnbull as previous leader. Both Rudd and Turnbull have made it clear that they are not going away, and although they would never state it outright, it is clear that they still covet the top job.

Julia Gillard's problem is that Kevin Rudd is widely acknowledged as a very effective Foreign Minister, and in my opinion one of the best ever. Similarly, Malcolm Turnbull is clearly a very intelligent man who understands that the science behind climate change is more important than the politics.

The fact remains however that both of the previous leaders disagree fundamentally with certain aspects of the current leaders' policies. This has led to both parties having to worry about not only the fact that there is a hung parliament, but that each major party has someone trying to undermine its leader. This cannot be good for the country.

Here is my grand plan to settle this once and for all. Listen up, it's more complicated than quantum theory. But as in the case of quantum theory, that doesn't mean it's not right.

There is an election due in 2013. Let's assume that the both parties still have leaders haunted by leaders past, when the election is due. So how about we give the voters more choice than just their local members? I propose that we go into the election with four major parties. They are:

- Gillard Labor
- Rudd Labor
- Abbot Liberal
- Turnbull Liberal

Each electorate will have one candidate from each of these four parties. I know it seems unfair to make sitting or prospective members choose a leader to follow, but too bad - that's the cutthroat nature of politics. We want you to stop pretending to be loyal to everyone. Pick a leader and stick to him/her. That's what the voters want.

Prior to polling day the four protaganists will agree that if their opponent's "faction" wins the majority of seats for his or her party, he or she will pledge not to challenge for the leadership until the victorious leader either resigns or is defeated in a leadership challenge by someone else. That way we still get to benefit from all of the four who are clearly very effective politicians, but we don't get the two victorious leaders hamstrung by their strongest opponents.

I know. I'm dreamin' :(