Voice of Real Australia: Royal commissions, is our political system broken?

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by deputy editor at The Land, Daniel Pedersen.

No Royal Commission, no morality? It seems so. Photo: Shutterstock

No Royal Commission, no morality? It seems so. Photo: Shutterstock

What is it about our political system that it seems a royal commission is the only way to squeeze the truth from our political and business leaders?

We have had royal commissions into how our old people are treated, child sex abuse at the hands of clergy, how we use our water, how our bankers and insurers behave.

Now there are new calls for a bushfire royal commission and another interrogating the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Because a royal commission is deemed with special powers to demand answers from potentially unwilling witnesses, the institution is apt at divining the truth.

But why the necessity of such an institution?

 Murray Darling Basin Inspector General Mick Keelty.

Murray Darling Basin Inspector General Mick Keelty.

As Interim Inspector General of the Murray Darling Basin Mick Keelty said this week: "the truth shouldn't frighten anybody, why aren't we open to understanding?"

It's a fair question from an accomplished Australian.

In the instance of the Murray Darling Basin, is it that a lassez faire approach to market management has left us in a hole?

From a general standpoint, it seems the very fundamentals of our society are swaying in the wind.

It took only a Facebook post in The Land's page on Tuesday afternoon to glean the feelings of our audience.

We simply asked if Agriculture Minister and Deputy Leader of The National Party Bridget McKenzie should be sacked.

Within nine hours we had 303 comments, by far the majority insisting it was time for her to go. A mere handful said "no".

Bridget McKenzie. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Bridget McKenzie. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

People have had a gutful of their elected representatives behaving as if from a different societal class, doling out money to serve political, and financial fortunes.

That we still have climate deniers as decision-makers is laughable, given the science was first introduced to us in the 1980s.

That our "transition fuel" to a renewable economy - gas - has failed us because the market was left to its own devices and we have no reservation mechanism to use our own resources at a rate exclusive to Australians and Australian businesses is high farce. Every other country, Australia is the exception, corrals its own resources to improve the lives of its citizens.

For too long Australia has been an ongoing experiment in free trade and it is time we paused and considered our values.

What do we as a nation hold dear?

We need a countrywide discussion about our future, with visionaries who care about our national wellbeing.

Daniel Pedersen

deputy editor, The Land

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