Opinion: Politicians need to step up as role models

Our politicians are essentially the frontiers for our nation. They are our chosen representatives and their role focuses around advocating for their community’s voice. 

So why is Australian politics such a blood sport?

Recently I watched Question Time and was taken aback by the poisonous vitriol spurting from our chosen representatives mouths.

Being an elected politician is an opportunity for men and women to showcase leadership and the best of themselves but instead they are dragging each other back to the school playground where bullies prevail with insults and pettiness. 

The parliamentary chamber has become a performance of our worst with our leaders’ voices echoing off the chamber as they battle it out for dominance. 

Compressed into one hour, there was no balance and certainly no clear answers during my viewing. 

I couldn’t help but wonder why we tolerate our politicians as representatives to the rest of the world treating each other with such contempt? 

Politicians should be held to the highest standards, yet we don’t bat an eyelid watching them square off on the floor with remarks dripping with disdain.

It took me to a vivid flashback of my childhood in the school yard where bullies taunted and teased those who dared stand up to them.

In any other workplace, this type of bullying would be condemned. In fact, it is not only tolerated but almost promoted with each side of politics targeting the other. 

Our elected leaders need to be role models who exhibit respect, civility and diplomacy. It’s time for a shake up and we need to encourage politicians to step up and lead by example for emerging generations.

I support conscious objections but there should be rules about the manner of deliverance as there is a line between abusive and offensive.

We need an overhaul in the culture of politics and shift the focus to respect and debate with civility.

Our political leaders not only should be, but need to be, role models and that begins by treating each other with respect.

I’ll use one of the best quotes from the Spider-Man comics: ‘With great power comes great responsibility’.

  • Meg Francis is a reporter for Fairfax Media in north-west Sydney.