We all know politics doesn’t necessarily match up well with common sense. And the latest citizenship debacle here in Australia is an epic case of exactly that.
The law that is in place, that politicians can’t be dual citizens, is clearly no longer relevant in the way it was intended to be when first introduced in 1901. In much the same way the USA constitution originally called for a right to bear arms, but all these years later is out of context with the original intention. So there’s not a person in Australia who, if asked, wouldn’t accept this law is kind of bullshit in this day and age.
That being the case, we can all accept it is a law, and perhaps we could argue that they all should have known about it. But clearly, it was so irrelevant, so archaic, that many didn’t. In fact, most didn’t. When someone stumbled across it a while back and took the opportunity to stitch up Greens Senator Ludlam, it was open season and everyone thought it was funny. “Ah, those Greens don’t know what they’re doing chortle chortle.” A chance to stitch up someone in a minor party. And it was all fun and games. But could that person have ever imagined the domino affect they put into play? Hell no.
If, instead of being petty, vindictive pricks back then, we’d looked at this logically, it would have been pretty easy to rectify things right then and there. Suggest an exemption and an amendment and it could have been business as usual. No harm, no foul. Instead, our politicians took the opportunity to get the better of someone, and now everything’s unraveling for many more. Including some of those who took so much glee in seeing his downfall in the first place.
Now, almost six months later, it’s affecting all these people unnecessarily. I don’t really like some of these politicians, in fact, I had a snigger when former Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce got caught up in it, but fundamentally, I think this law is irrelevant and should have been sorted before it had the disruptive affect it has. There’s literally zero suggestion it is in any way shape or form relevant to these people doing their jobs properly. (I’m not saying they do do their jobs properly, but if and when they don’t, it had nothing to do with their citizenship.)
Instead, one side went for the kill, and the affect on all sides, has now been problematic when it needn’t have been. If people had approached this with common sense, it could have been sorted and we could have focused on much more important issues.
And to all those who are suggesting they should have to pay their wages back for that period of time, don’t be ridiculous. They did their jobs, they got paid. The fact they’ve been caught out on a technicality doesn’t mean we should retrospectively not pay them for doing their jobs. This is one of those stupid, archaic, irrelevant pieces of legislation that should have been changed before now, and my guess is, will be changed sooner rather than later. And rightly so.
Not liking a politician is one thing. Saying you think they do a shit job is one thing. But getting caught on a technicality like this that clearly no-one knew about until very recently, is something else entirely.
Shit happens. Fix the law. Move on. What a joke. And just another case of politicians getting caught up in bullshit instead of doing what they’re there to do which is run the country, and represent the people properly. What a shame so many of them have lost sight of that.
Be awesome to each other.
UPDATE: If amending the constitution is cumbersome and problematic, giving politicians a limited amount of time to remedy the situation would be an equally sensible resolution.