If you can't say something nice …

If you can't say something nice …

It takes a special kind of person to be a politician.

What thoughts flooded your mind as you read that sentence? What do you really think of politicians?

We’ve learnt to be pretty cynical when it comes to our elected representatives. “They’re just out for themselves.” “They’re all corrupt.” “They’re out of touch with the people that put them in power.” “They’re all liars.” These are the sorts of things we’re used to hearing about those in public office.

I’ve met many politicians from both sides of politics and have found that most of them are decent people who truly want to make a difference in their community. I’m sure that there are power hungry people among their number and that others have lost their way after being elected but more often than not I’m impressed by the integrity of those that serve us in parliament.

What I really don’t like about politics is the personal attacks and the name calling and it appears that I’m not alone. News.com.au is reporting that the Liberals’ attacks on Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, have had the opposite effect to what they had hoped. Instead of damaging Rudd’s showing in the polls, Labor has opened up an even greater lead over the government.

Liberal backbenchers have privately queried Government attacks on Labor leader Kevin Rudd as yet another poll showed the tactic was backfiring.

Today’s Newspoll put Labor’s primary vote at 52 per cent – a 20 year high – and dissatisfaction with Prime Minister John Howard at 50 per cent.

I know that part of the task of a politician is to show flaws in the arguments of their opposite number, but the public is pretty sick of mud slinging.

Being in an election year means that there’ll be a lot more push and shove over the coming months but I’m hoping that people of all political persuasions will have the decency to focus on the issues at hand and not try to sidetrack the debate with personal insults. Of course if someone’s integrity is truly in question we need to know about it and be given the opportunity to decide with all the relevant details out in the open, but let’s hope it’ll be a clean campaign.

There is too much at stake for us to be losing sight of the real issues.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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