Colin Claridge wonders why our politicians find it so hard to play nice.
Colin Claridge wonders why our politicians find it so hard to play nice. wisawa222

No-one's playing nice in politics today

NOW, we know that despite what we often see, most parliamentarians do have the best of intentions but sadly, neither the government nor the opposition covered themselves in honour this last sitting week.

Team Shorten continues to demonstrate why (not withstanding how close they are to sitting to the right of the Speaker) they don't deserve to be the alternative government. They need to be open about any unhealthy relationships existing between the party and certain sections of the union movement. The constant dodging of the issue by Labor could easily come back to bite, once the criminal trials begin. And quite frankly, last week's deflection tactics by filling up Question Time with time-wasting division motions was an utter disgrace. Particularly when one considers the Speaker's reminder to the crossbench members that they are only entitled to ask one question per session. Which is a real pity, considering some of them ask the best questions.

But just as the question of alleged union influence over Bill Shorten remains Labor's festering Achilles heel, the government doesn't have reason to gloat either. Labor may not have scored a direct hit over the Adler gun issue but it did leave the electorate at large with questions about Liberal Party unity and how much of their soul they are prepared to sell. I was left none the wiser as to whether Senator Leyonhjelm's claims were true, whether Mr Turnbull's explanation was true or if we can even believe the protestations of innocence by the member formerly known as Prime Minister.

The government should take heed. Just be careful what you are prepared to horsetrade and with whom you are prepared to deal.

The legislation to reinstate the ABCC is important. Particularly as we now become aware of the extent of activities in the construction industry. Even Labor should understand that.

But no government is entitled to trade off issues of public safety. Team Turnbull would be best advised to be careful when dealing with some senators on the fringe. Leyonhjelm is a spoiler. A troublemaker and not in any good sense. The bloke has a history of demonstrating the social empathy of a Dalek. To suggest that "guns are fun” may go down well with the minority of NSW voters who got him re-elected but the repercussions of his manifesto getting any leverage is just too scary. Why he isn't passionate about domestic violence and homelessness? Who knows?

So. Here's the challenge for both government and opposition. Labor needs to realise that, while no one denies the historical importance of the ties between the party and the union movement, as a modern political party they do their credibility no benefit by resisting government attempts to clean up corruption. On the other hand, any whiff of making grubby deals with mavericks with a limited sense of social conscience doesn't sit well either.

So, how about it guys? How about demonstrating a little more maturity? Here's a challenge for you. The ALP agrees to pass the ABCC legislation if the LNP agrees to establish a federal anti-corruption commission. Or is that just too radical a concept?

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