This kind of politics tends to split the electorate along party political lines: we take sides, wanting ‘the other side’ to fail no matter what the consequences.
There is no doubt that Tony Abbott and his Coalition made an art form of this in Opposition. The Gillard Government was attacked at every turn and in the move to bring down the government, Mr Abbott made some strange bedfellows – most notably at the anti-carbon tax rallies.
Mr Abbott also said some things that in hindsight, we can only presume he regrets. Most notable is the time when Mr Abbott, referring to the Prime Minister during a debate, stated that:
The connotations of sexual violence could not be missed.
Now in Opposition, the question is how will the ALP react?
More importantly, how do we progressives act more generally?
I do believe that some things are beyond politics and not only in the national interest, but important for our society.
When I was invited to write something for Opinion Online, I decided to write an open letter to the Prime Minister listing some issues that must be put ahead of party politics. The letter is available here…
I have been overwhelmed by the response. I think it offers the space for thinking of the things we can agree on before debating that divide us.
We have to find a way to communicate across party lines because the way our politicians are carrying on is damaging our democracy – both in terms of their behaviour, but also that good policy becomes secondary to out scoring your opponent.
I doubt it will make a difference, but it is too important not to try…