Bully for you

Here’s a question to consider: Is Parliament a workplace?  Not for the public servants that is, but rather for the elected Parliamentarians?  Spartacus contends not.  Spartacus also thinks Parliamentarians don’t think it is a workplace either because many workplace laws don’t seem to apply to them.  Is there an award?  Is there an enterprise agreement?

What the Parliamentarians want is the best of the all worlds.  High salaries and fringe benefits but without the constraints or accountabilities.  People in a normal workplace don’t write their own policies (hours, salaries, fringe benefits) and then apply or ignore them as they say fit.

So can we please stop referring to what has been alleged within the Liberal Party as workplace bullying.  It is not a work place.  It is really not bullying either.

But when it comes to what has been claimed as bullying, one must ask how spineless are these people?  Male, female, whatever.  Spineless.

Much of what has been claimed as bullying has been situations where MPs/Senators have been pressed to sign here or vote this way lest their party endorsement is taken away.

Oh me-oh, oh my-oh.  Oh, Cleveland Ohio.  Let me get a tissue to wipe my tears.

What levels of courage and fortitude these people have that all it takes to get them to vote one way or another is to threaten disendorsement.  Also why is it considered corruption to pay for votes but not corruption to threaten to take away money for votes?

But aside from that, how textbook for standing up for what one believe in or acting as a representative of ones community:

I will always stand up for what I believe in and for my community unless of course I am at risk of dis-endorsement, and then of course I will do what I am told by party apparatchiks.

All it seems to take to get these people to jump is to threaten their comfortable and well paid sinecures.  Leaders or Mercenaries?  Community representatives or cowards?  Which is it?

But if these Parliamentarians want this so called bullying by pre-selection pressure to end then the power to pre-select/de-select candidates needs to be taken out of the hands of the “powerbrokers”.  Candidates need to be chosen through plebiscites.  This way, it is the party members and not the party apparatchiks who can give and take away pre-selection.

More fundamentally, the problem seems to be the whole professional career politician.  No longer are our representatives people who have been experienced in non parliamentary activities such as business, academia, farming, law, union, whatever.  Rather, many have determined that their personal economic value proposition is maximised through a job as a parliamentarian (plus post parliamentarian options – lobbying, ambassadorships, Clinton Global Initiative) than in the real economy and real world.  This is why they are so susceptible to dis-endorsement threats — it is a threat to their economic livelihood.

If Australians want better Parliamentarians, they need to join a political party and demand the power to pre-select candidates; rather than sit around and wait for the unions to select ALP and Green candidates and the lobbyists to select Liberal candidates.

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22 Responses to Bully for you

  1. Crazyoldranga

    The question that I have, based on how sensitive politicians are to bullying, when going to the polls are the people handing out the “how to vote” cards bullying the public?

  2. old bloke

    I will always stand up for what I believe and for my community unless of course I am risk of dis-endorsement, and then of course I will do what I am told by party apparatchiks.

    This is particularly the case in the Senate. Senators are elected, supposedly, to represent their State’s interests, but they instead are there to further their party’s policies regardless of whether they negatively impact the State they represent.

  3. H B Bear

    The Senate has always been a dumping ground for party hacks who could never get elected by facing an electorate.

    Exhibit A – Bambi. Straight from the Bennelong by-election to the red leather. Thanks for coming voters but we won’t be needing you.

  4. Fred of Greenslopes

    The whole system of Federal parliamentary representation as exists needs to be thrown out. Senate abolished. Representatives selected randomly from eligible voting population as in jury service and asked to serve their fellow Australians for a period of five years. If selected persons decline the responsibility they may do so but forever lose all future rights to be in the ballot. A similar system could be used for State elections and Local Government. This would also settle the current moves to have equal female numbers in the House, which no doubt will morph to compulsory representation by gender variation, race and religion. What could be fairer, all persons would have equal chance. As for loss of Senate, if the more populous States have more reps then so be it, the more populous States contribute more in taxation. The States should have the right to individually collect GST at any level they determine.

  5. Elle

    I always said that how Julia Gillard carried on with her misogyny speech was appalling. I related that such behaviour in a normal workplace environment wouldn’t be tolerated. It’s theatre and not reality.

  6. .

    Fred

    I love sortition.

    I suggest an Upper House though for State and Federal Parliament at least, and with CIR powers, but only to strike down bad laws. I’d have the Senate/Legislative Councils appointed by the House on half rotations, for one ten year term.

    They can select a board which the of State chairs. The board can pick the PM, subject to Parliamentary approval, who would operate like a CEO. The PM, in turn, would nominate the executive council/board. Let the PM pick their own Ministry unless the HOS or Parliament thinks fit to intervene.

    Yes, you’re right, nothing can be fairer than sortition, by definition.

  7. jupes

    Much of what has been claimed as bullying has been situations where MPs/Senators have been pressed to sign here or vote this way lest their party endorsement is taken away.

    No. That was the only example given.

    And even then I’m not sure they were threatened with dis-endorsement, I thought it was that the “bullies” wouldn’t leave the office until they had a signature.

    Whatever. When adults complain of bullying I cringe.

  8. W Hogg

    A workplace has “no disparage” contracts. If you’re bullied go to HR – but privately.

  9. Clam Chowdah

    The real bullying that goes on at APH is that undertaken by political advisers done to low and middle ranked public servants, especially departmental liaison officers. It’s very well known to be a problem.

  10. The BigBlueCat

    And in another workplace … a rich and successful player attempted to bully a recognised authority, and when success wasn’t forthcoming and they were heavily penalised, there were cries of “not fair”, “because I’m a woman”, “I’m here for equality”, “I’m not a cheater”, “You owe me an apology”, “You’re a thief”, and all the rest in a vain attempt to have a judgement overturned.

    Of course, Serena can go pound sand, because even when she loses, she gained US$1.85m (less US$17,000). Oh the sense of entitlement to a title she couldn’t win. And now she’ll be forever known as a bully who lost.

  11. Des Deskperson

    My understanding is that there are no Parliament-wide code or standards covering MP on MP bullying because, up until now at least, it has never been an issue. MPs, having gone through pre-selection battles, been on the hustings, dealt with difficult constituents, been required to stand up to express and defend their views inside and outside Parliament, are, or were, considered to be able to look after themselves.

    Such standards would, of course, be disastrous, they would be used to stifle and shut down any meaningful exchange or debate – formal or informal – in the House. If bullying is an issue, then it needs to be covered in the internal rules of each Parliamentary Party.

    ‘The real bullying that goes on at APH is that undertaken by political advisers done to low and middle ranked public servants, especially departmental liaison officers. It’s very well known to be a problem.’

    Actually, Clam, the is a Statement of Standards for Ministerial Staff:

    https://www.smos.gov.au/resources/statement-of-standards.html

    That requires them to, inter alia, to:

    “Treat with respect and courtesy all those with whom they have contact in the course of their employment.

    Acknowledge that ministerial staff do not have the power to direct APS employees in their own right and that APS employees are not subject to their direction.”

    However, unless things have change significantly recently, there is no real mechanism under which APS employees can actually seek redress against staffers who they believe have breached the standards. I believe that the absence of this mechanism is intentional.

  12. Clam Chowdah

    Right, and agency heads and deputies aren’t going to lose any skin by criticising political staffers.

  13. MichelLasouris

    Well sais and so true…Join the Australian Conservatives I say.

  14. Entropy

    However, unless things have change significantly recently, there is no real mechanism under which APS employees can actually seek redress against staffers who they believe have breached the standards. I believe that the absence of this mechanism is intentional.

    Quite so

  15. Entropy

    Right, and agency heads and deputies aren’t going to lose any skin by criticising political staffers.

    I have seen SES officers threatened with being sent to an empty room for the rest of their contract for not complying with a bad instruction from a pimply faced chief of staff.

  16. Herodotus

    If Australians want better Parliamentarians, they need to join a political party and demand the power to pre-select candidates; rather than sit around and wait for the unions to select ALP and Green candidates and the lobbyists to select Liberal candidates.
    Yep.

  17. Bruce of Newcastle

    One of the best features of the US system are the primaries for party candidates. They are often well covered by the media, quite transparent and very good at subjecting the candidates for candidate to scrutiny.

    We should adopt this approach.

    The other advantage is it makes it harder for the Photioses to override the party members/registered party voters doing the voting since that immediately throws up red flags among the electorate. Hillary and her bully yxes ran roughshod over the will of the rank and file to become Dem Prez candidate. Admittedly that saved us all from a Sanders Presidency but it probably did also contribute to her loss to Trump.

    As to bullying, the greasy pole is greasy from the blood of the inadequate. Suck it up sisters.

  18. JohnA

    More fundamentally, the problem seems to be the whole professional career politician.

    Indeed. Milton Friedman was (is) a long-time proponent of limited parliamentary terms.

    I agree.

    Minimum age for a candidate: Reps 40 Senate 50
    Minimum experience: 10 years away from the political scene, preferably running a small business of their own
    Maximum tenure: two electoral cycles. No repeat prescriptions (if it’s good enough for POTUS, it’s good enough for us).
    Minimum Super, no golden handshake, no benefits past their term of office.
    Retain “The Hon.” as honorific, in the same way that military retirees can retain their last rank attained

  19. Clam Chowdah

    I have seen SES officers threatened with being sent to an empty room for the rest of their contract for not complying with a bad instruction from a pimply faced chief of staff.

    I’ve seen similar.

  20. Youngster

    All the MPs I know (I’m a former federal staffer) would have no problem telling someone to @%#$ off if they wanted them out of their office badly enough.

    And if you’re doing a good job in your electorate and with your local party members, pre-selection is not a serious threat. The only time your pre-selection could be under threat is if you are relying on the power brokers for your position and not local party members. In that case – it’s your own fault! Live by the power brokers, die by the power brokers!

    These snowflakes just aren’t cut out for politics.

  21. Gbees

    I see we are going to get a Royal Commission into aged care. That’s great and should be done but where’s our RC into the global warming Fraud? Costing $Billions for no benefit.

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