Dear Prime Minister Abbott, The power of a democracy is in the trust that is given by the people to those whom they elect. During the election campaign period, those who are seeking that trust make “promises” and announce the policies of the party. They highlight the failings of the opposition while praising the achievements of their own party. All this is done to convince the public to vote one way or another, to win as many vote for your party as possible. This trust was given to you, it was given to you based on the “promises” and the policies that you made during your election campaign. While the Australian people anticipate that there will be some changes, there will be unforeseen circumstances that will cause a review of the “promises” made. However, the Australian public has been increasingly taken advantage of by our elected representation, “promises” are made and broken as if they had no significance at all. This isn’t the worst part of it though, it’s the denial that a promise is being broken, it is the word play to try and make breaking your promises seem less than what they are. But then, if this wasn’t enough more “promises” are made, new ones built on top of the broken “promises”. The thing is and let’s not beat around the bush, everyone is well aware including yourself, there is absolutely zero accountability. Sure, you might lose power at the next election, the house leader might be replaced but eventually the vote swings and power goes to the opposition again, as for the house leader changing, well I am sure that the retirement plan will take the sting out of that. But given the leadership troubles of the last government, I am sure that your government will do as much as possible to avoid the same occurring during your term, something I am sure you are well aware of. While Australians have many colourful names by which they call the Prime Minister and other politicians the official title, given to all sworn members of the Federal Executive Council is “The Honourable”, for instance The Honourable Tony Abbott MP. This implies that you are a person of honour, a person of integrity, a person deserving of great respect, regard, esteem, etc. When I consider that as Prime Minister of Australia for less than one year of your term that you have kept few “promises” and your intention is to break more, I have to question the wisdom of your title as honourable as I find it hard to feel anything remotely honourable about you, your party or the politicians of our country. I find it increasingly difficult to believe that what we live in can honestly be called a democratic society. When politicians and parties are elected based on “promises” that are not kept and the public know that they won’t be kept. When politicians feel that they can say one thing and do the other with no accountability. When our elected representatives are prevented by party lines and politics from representing those who elected them. When all these things are common place and accepted practice of the government, Mr Prime Minister, this is when democracy is dead and the Australian democracy has indeed died. It was more important to you to re-institute knights and dames into the Australian honour system than to allow a conscious vote on same sex marriage. It appears more important to you to ensure your own personal values are upheld than those of your own party, let alone the people of Australia. During your election campaign you spoke a great deal about lower, simpler, fairer taxes. You even said that it is a part of the coalition’s DNA. You also said your government would be “a government of no surprises and no excuses”. You know that during your election campaign that what you were telling the country was that under your government the Australian people would pay less tax, lower, simpler, fairer taxes. That is what you said, I know that you didn’t say that it would happen straight away and you didn’t say that there wouldn’t be a tax hike or a new “temporary” tax to start off with, but you know what you were saying and you know what you were leading the Australian public to believe and you also know, if you were to be honest with yourself and the public, that what you were leading the people to believe was not true or at least the full story. During the election campaign you were aware of the financial state of the country, you were aware of the projections made and the kind of budget that would need to be passed to get the country out of debt. Knowing this you miss-led the public by not acknowledging that there would be a period of difficulty. You can’t say that you didn’t realise the severity of the situation because it is information both parties are fully aware of and if you weren’t aware of it then you and your party failed in your duties as opposition.
The worst thing about this whole situation isn’t just the lies and deceit, it is the arrogance. The average Australian has an income of $72,000 while the average back bencher has an income of $195,000. Combined your wage along with that of your deputy is more than $900,000. The treasurer has an income of over $365,000. This is the same person who recently said "I say to you emphatically, everyone in Australia must do the heavy lifting. The age of entitlement is over, the age of personal responsibility has begun.'' Surely you can see that there is a disparity between the average Australian and the average politician and that disparity makes it quite hard to hear from a person earning over 5 times the average Australian wage that we have been living in an age of entitlement. If we had been living in an age of entitlement no one told me, I seemed to have missed the press release. Come to think of it, most of my friends, co-workers and family seem to have missed it too. To be truthful, I don’t earn the average Australian income, I earn significantly less than that. While this means that the “deficit tax” likely won’t apply to me but it’s not just about the “deficit tax”. The cuts to different services will though, it is going to cost me more for health care which is pretty damn expensive now. I don’t know where all these doctors who bulk bill are but I am already paying $30 a visit, can I assume with the changes to bulk billing and the like that this will increase. I know that people say that politicians get paid too much, there are too many entitlements and benefits paid by taxation and I know that it is all too easy to say. But, be honest, it’s not wrong. When I retire I won’t retire with an ongoing range of benefits from my previous employer, I am not going to be able to have another source of income and still draw a pension. By the time I retire I will be surprised if there is still even a pension. If any one group of people in Australia are living in an age of entitlement it is our elected representatives. Do you honestly believe that the ongoing benefits are reasonable? Do you honestly believe that the wages for politicians are reasonable? Do you really expect the Australian people to buy into the premise that politicians are also going to do “the heavy lifting” along with everyone else? Do you really believe that Australians actually believe what you say and will keep believing it after all your broken promises? Do you really believe that you paying $6500 extra tax is the same as the extra cost to living you have now burdened Australians with? A prime example being paying more for petrol, I don’t have a car driven and paid for to get me to and from work. Seriously, the “entitlements” received in the course of “doing your job” are unbelievable, worse still is there is no cap to expenditure. Want to save money, put a cap on the amount that can be claimed and make some definitive rules on what can be claimed. It’s about time that our elected representatives started to lead by example, started to practice what they preach, started to be people we can look up too, respect and believe. It’s about time that the average Australian felt like we weren’t being fleeced for every cent we have, while our representatives are living a life style that most Australians can only imagine let alone achieve. It’s about time that we felt like those who represent us were actually looking after the nations interests first and not their own. The honourable Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia, democracy has died, the Australia I was brought up to believe in and celebrate doesn’t exist and more than ever before, hope for a better tomorrow has vanished. It might not have been you alone, but you certainly have played your part. Realistically, the only people who can actually make real, substantial change to how our political system works and revive the Australia we sing about is those who are a part of that same system and why would you want that to change, it’s working so well for you. Please be aware I am making this letter available online at www.digitalstockade.com and will publish your reply if received. Regards,
Ben Andrews www.digitalstockade.com