The following is a post by my wife after observing parliament this week.
At a time when our society is becoming a place where rules are up for negotiation at best and completely ignored at worst, the federal election produced a Prime Minister who promises to go back to the parliamentary standards of the past. Less of the adversarial politics. No more shouty Question Time. Politicians held accountable. Integrity.
It’s probable that the PM himself will have trouble holding to his standards but at least he has voiced them; he has put the parliament on notice.
But our world no longer works like that. No wonder then that when a young new politician arrives in the chamber minus the regulation tie, there is a hew and cry. Just a small hew and cry from a fellow MP pointing out the error, followed by a louder Media hew and cry questioning why this archaic rule still exists.
Another young, new politician is asked to give the pledge of allegiance before taking her seat in the Senate. She proceeds to make up her own pledge, elevating herself to Sovereign, and then insulting the Queen. The Media’s reaction? Headlines announcing that it’s time to change the pledge and ditch the monarchy.
Has this become the way we tackle the many ‘laws’ of life? When a father tells his child to eat breakfast and then get ready for school, should the child tell her father that breakfast is not to her taste and “Who made you the boss of me, anyway?” Well, yes. Modern parenting says that response is perfectly fine. Any wonder then that school children are allowed to stamp their feet and shout ‘no!’ That young people are encouraged to belligerently demand ‘why?’ And that our leaders, caught in a lie or a corruption, calmly tell us “Move on, nothing to see here.” Or, worse still, they call for a change to the archaic rules or the restrictive system.
Perversely, when we are confronted with people who don’t behave in a way our new society has deemed to be correct, we want politicians to make a law to force right behaviour. And punishment for those who disobey. Yet we have created a perfect environment that encourages disobedience and non-compliance.
Perhaps the real issue comes back to the young new politician who proclaimed she was ‘Sovereign’. Don’t we all like to think we are the ruler of our own world? Isn’t it time we realised that the title ‘Sovereign’ implies care for others, responsibility, sacrifice, dedication, and most of all, unselfish behaviour?