Our Political Elites

Political life means being one of the elite one percent while pretending to be at one with the people.

Our Political Elites
Photo by Kevin Grieve / Unsplash

Do you think politicians think through the implications of their decisions on real people?

I don't imagine they can because they are simply not subject to the same financial pressures as the rest of us.

That's more an observation rather than a direct criticism.

Politicians get paid what they do and anyone who gets the role has the same benefits.

At its most basic, there is a healthy salary (circa 220K annually), an electorate allowance, free phone, internet, laptop, car and fuel. They also get free first class travel and tax free payments for being away from home. Their super is matched to public servants which is higher than the rest of us.

All up, I'm guessing the backbench package is probably worth around $350,000 per year. That puts them in the top 1% of income earners in Australia.

It might help explain why so many of them are lonely in political life. Just 110,000 people earn that kind of salary in the entire country and so politicians tend to hang out with other politicians.

The other unique benefit to being a polly is that you can only be sacked once every three or six years depending on which chamber you are in.

No other job I can think of comes with such sparse performance review.

Once there, they know the money will flow every month until they are defeated or choose to leave.

Although they'll pretend otherwise, politicians know it makes no difference if fuel is $1 or $2.50 a litre. In actuality, the more expensive it is the better off relatively they are compared with their fellow citizen.

This helps explain why so many cling to the gruelling lifestyle long after they cease to make any meaningful contribution.

It also helps to explain why they are happy to virtue signal at your expense.

Sending the right message will help their re-election much more than protecting you from a problem you probably don't realise is on its way.

Consider for example the near universal commitment to net zero by 2050.

It basically means the end of fossil fuels like oil and gas. Here's a brief video explaining just what that means to your way of life.


Do you really think any politicians has really considered the implications for your life as a result of their commitment?

I doubt they have. Most wouldn't have thought any further than the next election and what it means for their prospects of success.

Incredibly, a lot of politicians don't actually care if they are in government or not.

Opposition still pays well and you have less work to do. That sounds incredible but I know it is true.

That's why I reject the 'pay peanuts get monkeys' argument about improving the quality, skills and credentials of our political class.

Politics is now a business for middle managers to achieve pay and status far in excess of what they would in private enterprise.

The best and brightest have no time for the internecine warfare and duplicity that goes with the job.

Successful people don't willingly open themselves up to the character attacks and negativity attached to public life. Instead, they can live a life of luxurious anonymity without the compromise of pretending to be 'at one with the people'.

That detachment is defensible for those who are privately successful. But, unwittingly, we have now created a political class that knows they are not subject to the same daily woes as the rest of us.

Little wonder so many of them do us all such a disservice.

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