Political life is never dull. It can be frustrating, infuriating and often unfair but it is never dull. The insatiable media appetite for controversy ensures that there is always a story somewhere.
Sometimes those ‘stories’ are manufactured faux outrage like the reporting of Joe Hockey’s comments on housing affordability. Here’s part of the transcript that created such a brouhaha so you can judge what he said for yourself.
"Well, there are a range of incentives that have been put in place by state governments and others in relation to first home buyers. The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money. If you’ve got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that’s readily affordable. More affordable than ever to borrow money for a first home now than it has ever been. But, the response for first home buyers is to build more properties. I know, it’s a difficult concept for some to get their heads around, supply and demand, but it’s not that complicated. If you increase supply to meet the demand, then obviously you won’t get the growth in property prices that you may have thought if you have less supply."
Other times, the stories really are newsworthy like the disgraceful cabinet leaks over national security and citizenship. One can hardly blame any journalist for breaking such a story but the conduct of at least one cabinet member in leaking the sensitive discussion is nothing short of a disgrace.
The people sitting around the cabinet table are entrusted with one of the most privileged positions in the land. They subscribe to an oath of office and a series of rules, laws and conventions that are vital to our Westminster system of government. It is clear that such a commitment means nothing to at least one of them.
Unfortunately, the ‘leaker’ has also cast a shadow over others in cabinet in an attempt to mask their own disloyalty in seeking to damage the government.
Of course, cabinet leaks happen to all governments. They are a gift to the opposition and do nothing to enhance the public perception of politics and politicians.
The other ‘big news’ over the past week was the non-stop chirping by the self-interested about the need for ‘marriage equality’ in Australia based on the vote in Ireland.
These activists want to redefine marriage to mean something that it has never meant. They choose misleading language about ‘equality’ when there is no legal inequality for homosexual couples in Australia. Marriage is what it has always been and should always be – a union between a man and a woman.
Now I know some of you disagree with my views on preserving marriage, often because a relative or a friend is part of a same-sex couple. However, one of the most important aspects of having a sensible discussion about such profound changes is the ability to remove the personal desire or circumstances from a critical assessment of what is actually being proposed.
Redefining marriage will only lead to more calls for ‘equality’ in the future using precisely the same emotive arguments currently being used. Government shouldn’t be in the business of redefining words. It should be in the business of building upon centuries of lived experience rather than experimenting with social agendas that will have far-reaching consequences into the future.
Edmund Burke implored conservatives to remember our obligations through the ages when he wrote:
"Society is indeed a contract. It is a partnership . . . not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born."
We should never forget that.