Why We Can’t Respect Our Political Leaders

I’ve just come home from visiting the United States where one part of our trip was to visit the grave of John F Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery. On a nearby wall is inscribed his famous words “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

These are very noble words and very inspiring. They provide a demanding challenge for us to put our country first and ourselves second. I suspect that in a culture of individualism and self interest, this is a tough thing to do, but nevertheless, something that we should expect of everyone, and especially, our political leaders.

As I consider these words, I think about my ideal view that our politicians, and our political parties, should have a strong focus on what is good for the country, with a willingness to put their own personal aspirations and priorities well behind.

Regardless of one’s personal political views, this week’s decision by the Australian Labor Party to place Senator Wong in second place on the SA Senate ticket falls well short of John F Kennedy’s ideals for us as citizens. Penny Wong is a proven government performer. One would think that the best thing for the country would be that she be placed in the top spot on the election ticket and ahead of a second string politician who has substantially less to offer the country.


Some people have criticised this decision is not being supportive of women in Government, and it may be. I simply want my elected politicians to be the best possible people to guide our country toward the most possible secure and prosperous future.

The newspapers are now reporting that “Labor factional leader Don Farrell has stepped aside from this top spot on the party’s South Australian Senate ticket in favour of Finance Minister Penny Wong.
Senator Farrell’s decision, which he announced in an interview on Adelaide radio is designed to avert a divisive internal brawl”. So he should!

Regardless of Mr Farrell’s personal decision, this action by the Australian Labor Party to put him ahead of a respected national politician shows just how out of touch the ALP is with the expectations of myself and like-minded Australians.

Their myopic view is not at all based on what is good for the country. It’s not even based on what is good for the Australian Labor Party. It is simply representative of a small-minded internal view of what is good for a particular faction within the party!

Can the people in the ALP with this mindset really create a future for this nation? This decision indicates that they are are devoid of any visionary merit and are more concerned about themselves than their country. Where is their inspirational political leadership for ordinary Australians who want the best for themselves and their children?

I want my politicians to be genuinely concerned about this wonderful country. Clearly, the ALP is more concerned about themselves. So much for John F Kennedy’s challenge and inspiration.


Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

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