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"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast," said Alice after tumbling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. She should be so lucky.
The rest of us were simply happy to experience one impossibility over the weekend - a rare outbreak of honesty in Australian politics.It began on Saturday when the Veterans' Affairs Minister, Nationals MP Andrew Gee, revealed he was just minutes away from quitting cabinet over a pre-budget stoush that would have created enormous embarrassment for the Coalition government.
Gee claimed he had been lobbying the government to stump up $96 million to help process a backlog of 60,000 compensation claims by veterans, a situation he labelled "a national disgrace". So Gee called Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce on Saturday morning, told him the media were gathered outside his office in Orange and that he would be resigning over the issue.
Curiouser and curiouser, a flurry of calls quickly resulted in assurances that Gee would be guaranteed his money.
You can read a transcript of this extraordinary event here while rejoicing in Gee's closing words: "Let me conclude by giving all sides of politics a word of advice," he said.
"Believe in something higher than just winning elections ..."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison seemed less impressed. Through clenched teeth he strongly hinted that minister Gee was suffering from an equally rare political malady - naivety.
But Morrison also wanted to "appreciate and acknowledge and commend him for his enthusiasm to the task". In other words, Gee can expect to find himself occupying a comfortable backbench seat should the Coalition stage a remarkable victory at the next election.
Yesterday another government MP began displaying the same symptoms of honour and righteousness as Gee. Retiring Liberal MP and former tennis pro John Alexander cited a failure on both sides of politics to set up a national integrity commission promised by the government at the last election as another reason for the growing distrust of politicians.
Both sides are letting down the people they purport to represent," he said. "The number one currency politicians should have is that they are trusted, they have integrity and that people can believe them because they can demonstrate telling the truth."
Alexander, the current chair of the standing committee on infrastructure, transport and cities, also noted that federal MPs had been using funding for major projects as a political plaything and that an independent body should take their place to avoid claims of pork-barrelling.
Quite an extraordinary weekend. We can only hope and pray that this outbreak of honesty and integrity will turn into a superspreader event. What a Wonderland that would turn out to be.
HAVE YOUR SAY: We continue to be swamped with your views about how to restore trust in our political system - and whether we are over-governed. Keep sending them to us: email@example.com
THEY SAID IT: "Some men change their party for their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party." - Winston Churchill.
YOU SAID IT: "The people of Ukraine are fighting and dying to defend their democracy against an authoritarian oppressor and are an inspiration to all freedom-loving people. Our Australian democracy is being degraded by an insidious threat from money interests and the career politicians they buy. Voting for community-oriented independents and/or voting out big-party incumbents is a good way to start restoring our democracy." - Peter.
"A federal ICAC with teeth, limits and more controls on political donations, truth in political advertising and fixed terms of four years." - Richard.
"Every politician should have to declare ALL monies donated, no limits." - Anne.
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