Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sun shines on a new day

Sunrise and I have not been speaking for a few weeks/months but this morning I needed to be up early and watched a new day dawn as someone quite special left on a plane to go back to work.

Planes and work have been quite the news item du jour, mostly because our rulers have been flying around the country, meeting with constituents, real estate agents, family members, job network suppliers, who knows who else...

A few years ago I worked for politicians and the travel was relentless. One week I went to four different cities in four days. By the time I got to the fourth city my credit card went into meltdown and I wasn't far behind. Another time it was four towns in one day. At the fourth I had to ask people in the room where I was, even though I had prepared the meeting briefs and had the itinerary in front of me. Wherever you went you had to be on high alert and attentive as the people who attended the meeting or dinner or breakfast or morning tea may never have met a politician and every vote counts. Years before that it was the same on a newspaper where our editor told us to be nice and help every caller as it may be the only time they ever called the newspaper, and however they were treated would be broadcast to the caller's friends and family. Every caller was a reader.

It is why my father, the Anglican minister, ministered to those who darkened the doors of the church and those who didn't. Everyone could do with some spiritual guidance, he believed.

It's hard to know who is attracted to politics and what motivates them. I would ask any politician I could why they were in Federal Parliament. The most common response was they wanted to "make a difference" for people. From what I saw, most of them did that or made a massive effort to do so, all the while seeing little of their families or their own bed.

The problem was and is the "entitlements" are open to wide interpretation. If you had to be at "A" why wouldn't you organise a meeting with "Z" to justify the travel? There was always a bulging folder of meeting requests and invitations relating to electorate or portfolio matters. It wasn't as if you had to invent a reason to go anywhere. Make the most of your 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours somewhere. That's the rules. And yes the rules may stink but you work with what you've got. Until the Government devises a program that appears to prey on the most vulnerable, with many thousands of people receiving letters from Centrelink questioning benefits that were paid, in some cases, up to six years ago. People are asked to produce pay slips and other evidence that what they told Centrelink initially was correct. This infers that most people are dishonest, which, and I have no scientific basis for this, but have been shown through decades of journalism and contact with thousands of people, they are not.

I've been decluttering my house over the past few months and there is so much crap and paperwork and clothes I never wear and other stuff that is sucking the oxygen out of me, that it is all going. I hope I never have to prove anything to anyone with a bit of paper because I will not have it.

As for those political types. I'm sure there is a PhD there for someone who wants to investigate if politics attract a certain personality type, or does being in the business of politics bring out certain behavioural characteristics.

From what I could see it was a fair dose of dog-eat-dog, bullying and threats. A bit like the three ladies in white on commercial television.

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