Opinion: Aussies 'bloody useless' at politics

Malcolm Turnbull (Supplied)
Malcolm Turnbull (Supplied)

Australia is just bloody useless when it comes to politics.

The latest election result is a total shocker.

The election campaign was a shocker too, boring as all hell and totally uninspiring.

There were no big policy ideas and both leaders are unexciting to say the least.

At its best, politics is a contest of ideas and a contest of personalities - this Australian campaign was devoid of both. Malcolm Turnbull looked terrible on election night, and so did Bill Shorten.

The campaign had a dark edge too: The "big lie" with Labor's fake texts about what might happen to the Medicare health system is downright scary, and we need to hope politicians don't try anything like that here.

The truth is Australian politics is so deep in the gutter it doesn't know how to get out.

We are walking all over the Aussies when it comes to the Bledisloe Cup of political stability.

In the past 17 years, since 1999, we have had two Prime Ministers - Helen Clark and John Key, both of whom are world-class leaders.

In that time, Australia has changed Prime Minister six times. They've changed five times since John Key has been in office.

Australians would have loved to have leaders the class of either Helen Clark or John Key in that time. Except for John Howard, none of their leaders even come close.

And despite having the mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system, which allows more parties and throws up many more political complexities, all of our Governments have been far more stable. (As an aside, the more I watch world politics, the more I rejoice at MMP).

But while it feels great to whip the Aussies, I am actually feeling sorry and quite worried for our Trans-Tasman cuzzie-bros.

Politics has been on a downhill slide for a while there. I used to quite enjoy staying up late and watching a good Aussie coup or "spill" but that soon wears off.

I know quite a bit about coups and leadership contests and what I can tell you is they invariably suck every bit of life out of a political movement. People are left wounded and everything freezes - all the ideas, all the political energy is suffocated.

Both sides of Australian politics have been locked in this zone for years - no wonder there are no good ideas or leaders coming through. There is just way too much negative energy in politics over there.

I hear a lot of talk about Australia being in "limbo" right now. It is far worse than that. Politically, Australia is in a state of paralysis and it has been for a long time.

The reality is this is nothing for us Kiwis to be happy about. Australia is our closest friend and top trading partner. We need stability there so that New Zealand can get things done.

For instance, can you imagine John Key trying to talk to Malcolm Turnbull anytime soon about getting something done about the detainees? Turnbull would just say: "John, mate - are you serious?"

Australia would be stronger if its politics were stronger. That's a fact. New Zealand would be stronger too. Fact. Australia is our friend. Yes, that is a fact too.

The battle of trans-Tasman political stability is one that should really be a draw (or a narrow win to New Zealand).

Australia, you are better than this.

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