Year in Review: Region Media is revisiting some of the best Opinion articles of 2021. Here’s what got you talking, got you angry and got you thinking in 2021. Today, David Murtagh reveals his undying affection for politicians.
Politicians are awesome. No matter how bad you feel about yourself, you can almost always be certain – at least in your own mind – that you’re superior in every single way to the 200-odd who sit in the Big House and rule over us.
We are all smarter than them. More moral than them. More wise than them (wiser, if you insist). More honest than them. And, seeing as we’re being honest, we’re all better looking than them. Well, better looking than most of them.
And one thing’s for sure, we’re all better than Liberal Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja. Because he’s the worst.
This is obvious, judging from the comments accompanying the Region Media article, ‘Seselja ‘not keen’ on restoring the Territory’s right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying’.
His ability to represent the ACT was questioned: “Way to represent your electorate, Zed.”
His compassion as well: “People should be allowed to die with dignity. If that is too hard for Zed to comprehend, maybe he doesn’t have a compassionate bone in his body.”
His ability to think for himself and his faith: “Yes, well I’m not keen at all on the Vatican deciding whether the ACT has the right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying, or anything else for that matter.”
And there was a heap of free character assessment: “He is such a joke.”
In fact, there were many, many character assessments.
Why? Because he’s a politician? Because he disagrees with perhaps (almost certainly) a majority of the electorate, but probably not the 40 per cent or so of people in the ACT who can still find a Liberal candidate on a ballot?
A common complaint about politicians is they always do what they’re told by apparatchiks, and follow the party line.
Of course, if they happen to do something we personally disagree with but the majority agrees with then they must be ‘populist’.
They can’t win. And they’re not meant to. Especially Senator Seselja, a popular target because he happens to be an endangered species in the ACT: a conservative (which it is still legal to be, by the way, even if you’ve never met one).
Whether you agree with Senator Seselja or not – and most in the ACT probably don’t – we should welcome the fact he is prepared to stand up for a principle in which he believes, in this case that euthanasia should not be legalised.
He is, despite claims to the contrary, representing the ACT. We do not create politicians to be automatons parroting the will of the electorate. We send them to parliament to use their own judgement on issues.
To the parliament’s shame, there are few issues where politicians can exercise their moral judgement these days, be it standing up for their electorate against their party, or standing up for what they believe is morally right. In this case, when he did, half the population could barely contain their rage.
Would it be better if the ACT had the power to legislate on these issues for itself? Sure would. We agree. But if you thought such a power would allow a morally abhorrent law to pass, wouldn’t you do what you legally could to stop it?
That’s what he did.
You don’t have to like it (and you probably don’t). But he should be respected for having the courage to take a stand against the majority of voters for something he believes is right. Parliament would be a better place if more people did what they thought was right as opposed to what they know to be popular.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to like Seselja. Because he’s the worst, right?