HOW often do you change your mind about any particular thing in a month? In a year? In several years?
Speaking from experience, my answer is: a lot.
There was a time, for instance, when I thought I wasn’t a huge fan of Greek food. Then I fell under the spell of grilled haloumi and since then, my love of Grecian cuisine has only grown deeper – seriously, they add feta to EVERYTHING! What’s not to love?
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Politicians, however, have made the idea of changing your mind into a sin of epic proportions.
Changing your mind – whether it’s because you’ve educated yourself and come to a new conclusion, or you’ve been influenced by others with very compelling arguments – used to be considered a positive thing.
It meant you had an open mind, were not stuck in your ways and could see two sides of the story.
But so many backhanded dealings, secret power plays and outright corruption has muddied the waters politically, to the point where we don’t believe a single word politicians have to say.
I know I don’t trust Tony Abbott – I didn’t before he was our PM, and I certainly don’t now that he’s back-flipped so often, changed his mind so frequently and yes, to borrow that cheesy phrases pollies are so fond of parroting, “broken too many promises”.
For instance, the GP co-payment has been scrapped, and instead doctors will receive $5 less per patient from the government. Gee, I wonder how GPs will recoup that loss?!
Paid parental leave has been tweaked so many times it’s no longer a PPL scheme, but a “holistic families package” that will be revealed next year.
And Action Aid are so fed up with broken promises to do with aid budget cuts that they’re crowdfunding so they can voice their displeasure in terms that Joe Hockey understands – via a giant billboard outside his North Sydney office.
The thing is, human beings can be reasonable. And under different circumstances, I think we would give our elected leaders a little leeway to evolve and pivot on their policies.
But politicians do this to themselves.
They adopt such a hardline stance when the opposition changes their mind that we’ve created an environment where no one is allowed to change their mind, ever, without consequences – especially not when they backflip on a policy that impacts the masses.
It’s no wonder Tony’s approval rating is in the doldrums. Don’t worry though, Tone, we’re a fickle people – we may change our mind about you after Christmas.