Monday, April 30, 2012

The Clivening: Why Stop At Clive?

Most of us are unhappy with the goings on in Canberra, although to be fair, there are a handful of really exceptional members of the parliament. The risk is that, whenever the election is called, we will have to make a choice between our current Government, and our current Opposition. Look at any recent polling and you’ll find that dissatisfaction numbers are higher than satisfaction numbers. This indicates that we don’t much like either of these choices.
Bob Katter knew that, and registered Katter’s Australian Party with hopes aplenty for change. The KAP’s first test was the Queensland State Election, and Katter must be disappointed to have won only two seats: his son Robbie, who leads the Queensland chapter of the KAP, won his seat of Mount Isa, and incumbent Shane Knuth held his seat of Dalrymple.
In fairness, Bob Katter must realise that his brand of politics just won’t play well in the city, so chances of the KAP becoming a major force are low.
Equally, the Greens have a problem in the bush, and with traditional conservative voters in the city: they are perceived as Watermelons – green on the outside and socialist/communist red on the inside.
The rest of the minor parties have even less of a chance of making an impact: One Nation is past its use-by date, Family First and the other “values” parties are seen as too conservative by the middle.
But now that Clive Palmer has stepped up, there’s a new dynamic. The Coalition under Tony Abbott will win the next election, but what impact does Clive have? Clearly Wayne Swan isn’t too impressed, and Clive has been active on Twitter today, openly baiting the Treasurer. How do voters feel about him?
I’m still not entirely convinced it’s a bad idea to bring some fresh thinking into the picture. You can’t deny that Clive knows success and how to get it. He also knows how to work the media – his CIA  funding the Greens statement was both ridiculous and masterful. Mainly, it was successful.
I can’t help wondering who else might be interested in getting into parliament: who else has a successful track record in their chosen field, doesn’t need the money (and therefore it isn’t an incentive), is smart, innovative, energetic, selfless, and willing to donate a few years of their life in service of their country?

So let’s try this: I’ll pick up Parliament House, tip it upside-down, and shake. Most of the current crop of politicians fall out. Simple as that.
A few smart ones saw the writing on the wall, and strapped themselves into the basement with the miles and miles of red tape they keep down there. A quick roll call tells us who is left: Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbuil and Joe Hockey from the Coalition, Mike Kelly, Bill Shorten, Bob Carr, Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, and Ed Husic from the ALP, Sarah Hanson Young from the Greens and Rob Oakeshott. That’s it. Everyone else from both houses fell through the cracks.
We’ve got a lot of spaces to fill, and we want smart, successful, innovative people with drive and energy and vision, and we want lots of different perspectives. These people will represent us, and build Australia for the next generations. 
Here are a few suggestions:
  • Arts and Media:  Philip Adams, John Farnham, Ita Buttrose, Latika Bourke, Geoffrey Rush
  • Science: Dr Karl Kruzselnicki, Dr Ian Frazer, Dr Fiona Wood, Veena Sahjwalla, Prof Peter Doherty, Prof Tim Flannery
  • Religion: Father Bob, Tim Costello, Jim Wallace
  • Business: Clive Palmer, Lindsay Fox, Gail Kelly, Therese Rein, Frank Lowy
  • Legal: Julian Burnside, Michael Kirby
  • Activists: Germaine Greer, Waleed Aly, Gabi Hollows, Ian Kiernan
  • Politicians: Kim Beazley, Natasha Stott-Despoja, Bob Brown, Peter Costello
  • Military: Peter Cosgrove, Angus Houston
  • Sport: Steve Waugh, Shane Gould, Cathy Freeman
  • Agriculture: Jock Laurie, Chris Russell
  • Smart People: Ross Garnaut, Mark Pesce, Benjamin Law, Clive James
Okay, so it resembles the guest list of QandA? I’m okay with that. Who have I missed out? Who would you want to have in parliament? Leave your comments below.


  1. I am so disappointed that Tony Windsor fell through the cracks. He is the sensible MP with intelligent things to say!

    Could we have Bindi Irwin and the wonderfully grumpy Germaine Greer, please.

  2. It's your fantasy, Arch. You can have whomever you like! But isn't Bindi Irwin a bit too young, even for Wyatt Roy...