Opinion

Sickened by the hypocrisy and lies

Bill Hoffman.
Bill Hoffman.

I'VE been crook, but I'm getting better.

It will fix itself over the next few weeks.

I have though a deeper ailment brought on by utter despair at the toxic hypocrisy and tawdry pursuit of power at all cost.

I'm sickening for the loss of our democracy by stealth and our own failure to engage in the process.

Today political leaders will wax lyrical of sacrifices by men condemned to wars by their decisions.

They will laud the laying down of lives as the sacrifice to be paid for our values, our standards and democracy.

My grandfather, George Henry, fought in World I, and was at Gallipoli where he was wounded twice.

Later he was injured in Egypt but led, as a captain, his men at that last Light Horse charge at Beersheba.

News that his father and brother-in-law had died caused him to ask for leave to return to Australia to settle his affairs.

Such was the trust in him that he was allowed to do that, before returning to see out his full service.

Many families have similar stories of their wars, lost kin and torn men returning home.

Being played out against this day of family reflection is the issue of Peter Slipper. He has been for many years a hand grenade with the pin pulled out. Both sides of politics know this and have known it for a long time.

Tony Abbott lied on Monday night when he told the ABC he had been in the process of shepherding Mr Slipper out of parliament when Julia Gillard made him Speaker.

How can that be true? Mr Abbott and his then Prime Minister John Howard wrote letters to Liberal members in Fisher urging them to back Peter Slipper in a preselection contest with Glenn Garrick and Harry Burnett.

Mr Abbott's office was the source of the press release Mr Slipper put out explaining his reasons for accepting the PM's offer of the deputy speakership even after he absented himself from the Liberal Party room vote that selected Bruce Scott as its nomination for the job.

The Prime Minister on Monday night praised Mr Slipper's ability as Speaker then pathetically tried to distance herself by saying she didn't know him well.

Her Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, has been made well aware of issues surrounding Mr Slipper's use of entitlements but has continued to block calls for full scrutiny to be paid to his accounts.

This plays locally, too, with mayoral television advertising going US ugly with attack ads linking Michael Bloyce and Peter Slipper. It wouldn't have been an issue if Mr Bloyce had simply admitted that he was campaign manager for two Slipper election campaigns and not the volunteer he has portrayed himself as in attempts to diminish his role.

Democracies need core values and a fundamental honesty to function with any level of integrity.

I'm sickened by the hypocrisy of politics, the half truths and the lies. I'm terrified that leaders of both our major political parties are so willing to sacrifice all values to the pursuit of power that they would protect a person whose use of our money should require he give a thorough explanation in a court of law.

There can be no faith in our democracy as it stands until this matter is resolved.

Mr Slipper has to be required to fully explain what he was doing when he incurred every expense he claimed as parliamentary or electoral business.

But it needs more than just that. We need political renewal in this country. Integrity, values, honesty and service need to become more than just words. They need to be at the centre of what being Australian truly stands for.

My late grandfather, all those who died around him and every other Australian damaged or lost in conflicts they were committed to by politicians supposedly in defence of our values and democracy, would demand no less.

Topics:  bill hoffman, opinion


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