When seeking pay increases, politicians are fond of lecturing us on how, “If we pay peanuts we will get monkeys.” Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that paying more will keep the monkeys out. There are many people who would be the right sort to trust in office, who have nothing but disdain for politics. Pay will not change this; it is the institution itself that they shun.
Queensland Labor backbencher Robert Schwarten, is the latest to launch into an irrational diatribe on the issue:
QUEENSLAND politicians are poorly paid and deserve more money, according to a senior Labor MP.
Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten today said fewer people were attracted to a career in public life because the profession had fallen behind in the pay scales.
“When I entered Parliament, backbenchers, such as I am now, were paid more than these high-school principals,” Mr. Schwarten said in a letter to his local newspaper.
“That is no longer the case and we are well below most senior public servants, council officers and certainly below most private sector executives. …
…“This means only the seriously wealthy, semi-retired or very young will increasingly find parliamentary service appealing,” Mr. Schwarten said.
Backbenchers currently earn $133,804 annually but also receive thousands of dollars more in allowances that they can pocket as extra pay if they don’t spend the money on their electorate offices.
Schwarten is basically claiming that it is in our interests to have a professional class of politicians like him. For some reason he seems to believe that on election, Joe Blogs and Mick Sneed immediately become the equals of highly paid professionals from other fields. There is no logical reason for this to be the case.
Other professionals tend to get to where they are by years of study and/or hard work, which in itself is no guarantee of attaining this status. They also have to achieve results with a minimum of screw-ups. There is no comparison between them and someone who has managed to bullshit enough electors in his region to be voted in, or in most cases simply supported a leader who has done this on a larger scale. Politicians tend to have inflated opinions of their own importance and this guy is no exception to the rule.
There are two main types of politician that inhabit the Valhallaian halls of modern nanny state politics:
(1) The power-crazed authoritarian who believes in his own mind that he knows best what’s good for the rest of us, its he wants us, and we had bloody well better accept that, and:
(2) The simple minded altruistic twit especially the one who ‘feels for us’ and only wants the best for all of us and knows what that is. This one is generally led by the nose by (1).
The thought pattern of both were inadvertently penned by Don McLean in “American Pie:”
“And I knew if I had my chance:
That I could make those people dance:
And maybe they’d be happy for a while.”
Given that the professional will do whatever it takes to get into power and stay there, it is reasonable to assume that vote getting policies will have priority over less popular options that might be better for the nation. Perhaps the better option might be the person who at the end of a successful career doing something useful decides to enter this field in the hope of sorting out the mess the professional political class has gotten us into.