Opinion

Federal government chaos needs to end

By Shepparton News

Australian voters are unlikely to be impressed that in all likelihood, their federal parliament will sit for just 10 days in the first half of this year (although the senate alone may sit slightly longer).

It is not a work rate to be proud of.

How we reached such a low level of national government productivity is a symptom of the dysfunction gripping our leadership, stemming back a decade further than the sudden, unexplained expulsion of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister in August last year.

While the political commentariat seems eager for the parliamentary ‘‘chaos’’ that may begin tomorrow when sitting resumes, we do not share the sentiment.

The past two years and 301 days of the 45th parliament of Australia has been somewhat of an embarrassment during a period of international instability.

Unfortunately, Australia is not alone in its leadership dysfunction.

Two of our closest allies, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, have suffered through their own unique issues.

We can only look with envy towards the governments of Canada and New Zealand as those nations’ prime ministers get on with governing with a clear sense of purpose and leadership.

This is not to say the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government has not made achievements in certain areas.

Reducing the Federal Government deficit, with a promise of returning to surplus this year, is one notable achievement, although we also note this comes at a time of record government debt.

More recently, the securing of 450 gigalitres of water for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, through an agreement between the states and federal water ministers was a good outcome for this region.

Although again, with the prospect of Labor controlling every mainland east-coast state and territory, as well as the Federal Government come May, there is potential for the agreement to be re-examined in the context of the mass fish die-offs at Menindee Lakes.

Shadow Water Minister Tony Burke, a key architect of the original agreement, has already flagged his party changing its position on the agreement, a policy that may come under increased pressure in the context of a federal election campaign as Labor seeks to claw-back votes from the Greens.

What is clear is that Australia needs a stable and productive government, one that sits regularly and gets on with the task of governing without resorting to internal struggles and leadership spills with monotonous regularity.

We hope that when the coming federal election is finally over, our political classes can put aside their differences, within their own parties and within the parliament, and get on with governing the country to the benefit of all its citizens.